Heartland Oncology & Hematology

House Calls with Dr. Robert Warner

Sunday Mornings at 9:30am on KMA 960 AM

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Sep 28, 2008

Cancer is not a Death Sentance


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My name is Patrick Hawks. I'm interviewing Dr. Robert Warner form Heartland Oncology & Hematology. We've kind of flipped the roles this morning and I'm interviewing him about cancer.
So tell me more about the curability of cancer, because I know a lot of times cancer, kind of unjustly, gets the rep of being a death sentence, but that's not the case anymore, is that correct?

That's right Pat, that's been a big change. It's irksome to cancer doctors that cancer has that reputation because, after all, cancer is the enemy and we want it to loose, and a lot of people with horrifically bad heart disease will think, still, "Well, at least I don't have cancer."
But cancer has come a long ways.
The first cancer that was treatable that was not surgically removable was testicular cancer back in the 60's. We found that with drugs, we could actually cure the cancer, even though we couldn't cut it out and we couldn't radiate it, it could be widely disceminated in the body, and we could cure it with drugs.
Certianly today, the cure rate with testicular cancer is well over 90%, and that even goes for cancers that are widespread. You could even have brain metasticies with testicular cancer.
Many of our cancers are technically curable today that wouldn't have been before, ovarian cancer being a good example. Classically, when I was in training, if you could cut it out it was potentially curable, if you couldn't, it wasn't potentially curable. But, ovarian cancer today, with excellent surgical technique, when they can debulk it, we can potentially cure the cancer; have it never come back by treating people.
But another key in the 21st century has been the ability to turn cancer into a chronic disease and I think that's something that you hear more and more about in the lay press also, where as the bad news is you