Dr. Len's Cancer Blog

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Dr. Len's Cancer Blog

The American Cancer Society

Crizotinib Approval For Lung Cancer Shows Our Miracles Aren't Getting Less Expensive

by Dr. Len August 30, 2011


Today I would like to share with you some thoughts on the topic of the costs of cancer treatments. It is the result of a moment on Saturday morning while, in the midst of listening to hurricane coverage on television, I was scanning the pages of my morning paper. There in the headlines was the comment that the Food and Drug Administration on Friday-presumably a bit later in the day, since the article was posted online at 8PM-approved a new drug called crizotinib (Xalkori®) for the treatment of lung cancer.


The news didn't get much attention, likely because it was overwhelmed by the hurricane. But at any other time, I suspect it would have been all over the media since this drug in fact represents a breakthrough treatment for some patients with lung cancer (more on that later).


But as I read the rest of the story, I almost choked on my coffee when I saw the cost of the new treatment: $9600 a month for a medicine that consists of two pills a day. Now, to me in my world, that was news. Just off the top of my head, that seemed a pretty steep price for success. More...

Welcome to the World, Rayna Analiese--and Looking Forward to Many Happy Birthdays!

by Dr. Len August 10, 2011

(A letter to my newborn granddaughter)


Good morning, Rayna Analiese. Welcome to the world!


You are a teeny 8 pound 8 ounce bundle of beauty and joy who arrived yesterday afternoon at 1:32 PM CDT--100 years (almost to the very day) after one of your great grandmothers was born. 


Grandpa--who is normally not a big lover of babies--went gaga over you. "So cute! So cute!" is about all he could say as he snuggled you in his tall arms--afraid all the while that he might drop this football-size bundle of love.


You have lots of people who love you, and lots more who are going to love you--not to mention all the people who love you who haven't had a chance to meet you in person yet. You have aunts and uncles and great aunts and uncles and grandmothers and grandfathers and great grandmothers to boot--and don't forget your great-great grandmother who will squeeze you tight. You are going to have to get used to the large family feasts filled with all sorts of nasty food when you come home from time to time to parade your cute little bonnets around the many houses you will have to visit. Mom and Dad are certainly going to have fun on those trips.


But I wouldn't be me if I didn't think for a moment about what your new life means, so forgive me for a moment while I ponder the meaning you bring into our lives, especially for Grandma Sandra and Grandpa Len. More...

About Dr. Len

Dr. Len

J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, MACP - Dr. Lichtenfeld is Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the national office of the American Cancer Society.