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Asked if I Smoked.....

Fay A.

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Figured I would answer here: Yes. I am a former smoker. I have a 9 pack year history. The docs at UCLA came up with that number because I did not smoke all the time, nor did I smoke heavily. And I didn't really 'track' the number of times I started and stoped. I guess you would call me a "social" smoker (former smoker, that is). But at some point between the time I stopped smoking while living in England and the time I quit in California I became an addict, even if I needed the fix only 3 times a day. Please note that up until I "quit" all other breaks in smoking were just 'stops'.

The question was asked of me in the context of wondering if Tarceva would be effective for those who have a history of smoking. My belief is that Tarceva (and other EGFRI) will be effective if your cancer produces a specific protein. I've known way too many former smokers who have had good results with Iressa, and way too many never smokers who did not respond (all of these folks -both those who had responses and those who did not-had either Adenocarcinoma, or BAC, or Adeno with BAC Features). The key is whether or not the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Inhibitor finds a specific molecule on your cancer cell to which it can attach itself. It's a bit like my family and elections. Half of us are Republicans and the other half are Democrats. We cancel each other out. Not a very scientific explanation, but it's my understanding of how it works.

Has anyone checked to see if Harvard has come up with a test to see if one's cancer carries the proteins targeted by Tarceva? Is it the same protein that Iressa targets? Just wondering "aloud".

I still can't believe it.

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Thanks for your answer. It's my understanding in order to test as to whether it will work, they have to have a biopsy. Thus, the hit or miss approach to treatment. I am encouraged to hear that you smoked and it still worked. I am hopeful that Charlie's cancer will respond, also. Thanks again and take care.

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