Mike Richards’ chances of surviving metastatic colon cancer would have been slim 10 years ago.
But, as a study recently revealed, his potential for five-year survival has been dramatically increased in the last decade due to surgical advances in liver resection and the discovery of novel chemotherapy and biological agents.
An affable 72-year-old, he’s spent much of his life in the public eye as a Texas senator, a radio station owner and a radio talk-show host. Fit and active, he didn’t think of himself as a prime candidate for colon cancer until abdominal pains pushed him into a doctor’s office in 2005.
Surgery seemed to be sufficient until a relapse in 2007, when it was discovered the cancer had spread to his liver. Fortunately, he was a candidate for liver surgery, followed by chemotherapy, and today he is cancer-free.
New sources of funding, putting value on research
Richards joins a growing group of nearly 12 million cancer survivors who have benefited from multiple advances in cancer treatments due to dedicated research that begins in the laboratory and through clinical trials translates to patients.
While cancer research faces big challenges in funding, new sources have opened up and concerted efforts are being made to move effective and safe discoveries to the patient more quickly.
With the increasing number of survivors, M. D. Anderson’s research doesn’t stop with discovering new treatments, but also extends to finding interventions to help survivors manage symptom burden and retain quality of life.