Dec 19, 2010 - 3:24 am
I am a two time breast cancer survivor (2003 and 2010) facing a difficult decision. In 2008 I was diagnosed with a rare and particularly aggressive form of rheumatoid arthritis, Palindromic Rheumatism that persists today.
Unlike regular RA, this one does not cause joint damage but the attacks are more frequent and more severe. Without medication I am in extreme pain and nearly invalid. I've tried every medicine we can find but nothing works, so now I'm down to the new biologics. Because the bioogics can cause lymphoma, I am really struggling with this decision.
To summarize, biologics work with "...TNF blockers that target and neutralize tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), a protein that, when overproduced in the body due to chronic inflammatory diseases, can cause inflammation and damage to bones, cartilage and tissue. The drugs in this class include Remicade (infliximab), Enbrel (etancercept), Humira (adalimumab), Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) and Simponi (golimumab)...An analysis of U.S. reports of cancer in children and adolescents treated with TNF-blockers showed an increased risk of cancer, occurring after 30 months of treatment on average. About half of the cancers were lymphomas, a type of cancer involving cells of the immune system. Some of the reported cancers were fatal." This was taken from an FDA website warning and there is no real data for adults--or breast cancer survivors--since the drugs are so new, so we must assume the risk is present for us as well.
My question: has anyone else faced this problem? Does anyone have any information or personal history they can share with me? I could really use some additional information to consider.