Letters from you, our readers.
CONCERNED FOR THE FUTURE OF U.S. MEDICAL CARE
I am the widow of a man who had non-Hodgkin lymphoma that turned into progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy following experimental treatment with Rituxan (rituximab ) and Revlimid (lenalidomide). He was disabled, had a very low income and was insured by Medicare parts A, B and D. The subsidies he received for help with costs of insurance and treatments were what made it possible to treat his cancer and give us seven years together after his initial stage 4 diagnosis.
I am so concerned for the future of medical care for people without access to medical insurance or money to cover the costs of treatments.
The idea that our government is headed by people who don’t seem to care about those in need is abhorrent and terrifying. Thank you for mentioning the debates taking place in our nation’s capital and across the land. We need to advocate for all people’s access to insurance, so they’ll have health care and the potential of long lives.
AN OPTION FOR PRESERVING HAIR
There’s been much reported lately about cooling caps to save one’s hair when undergoing chemotherapy, but something also needs to be mentioned about a simple, inexpensive, no-side-effect alternative called Biotin. In 2013, I lost half my hair on FOLFOX chemotherapy for advanced colon cancer. In 2014, I lost nearly all of it to (the chemotherapy regimen) FOLFIRI. When I started losing clumps of hair last fall on the targeted drug Stivarga (regorafenib), I did frantic research and asked my oncologist about taking Biotin. She said it was fine. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s website recommends 2,500 micrograms a day.
Within days, my hair stopped falling out altogether. That was Nov. 13, and though I am still taking Stivarga, I haven’t lost any more hair in almost four months! This may not work for everyone, but surely it will work for some, as it did for me?
MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA
Note from Editor-in-Chief Debu Tripathy, M.D.: Biotin (vitamin B7) can help in conditions that don’t cause full hair loss (older age, menopause, nutritional deficiencies, pregnancy), and also with nail strength, as it supports the activity of the protein keratin. Treatments such as FOLFOX and Stivarga do not cause as much hair loss as some others, such as the chemotherapy Adriamycin (doxorubicin). Therefore, Biotin may be useful for people taking agents such as FOLFIRI, but less so for those taking chemotherapies linked with larger-scale hair loss. Read more about alopecia.
ENJOYED MYELOMA ARTICLE
Your recent article on multiple myeloma was great (“Have a Cocktail: Using Multiple Drugs to Treat Myeloma,” Fall 2016). I have read too much on the disease, as I am a patient, and this was one of the best. Thank you.
I also shared the magazine with a student nurse who is working on an oncology unit. Great job.
Alicia Junghans, RN
APPRECIATED PALLIATIVE CARE PIECE
Thank you for your dedication to patient education and support! I enjoy reading CURE® and have recommended it to my patients for many years. I was particularly delighted to see your article on palliative care. I appreciate your efforts to help educate patients and families on the benefits of palliative care and its distinction from hospice care.
Sarah Thirlwell, M.Sc., M.Sc.(A), RN, CHPN, AOCNS
SUPPORTIVE CARE MEDICINE DIRECTOR
MOFFITT CANCER CENTER