Biotech executive facing end-stage cancer and the seduction of experimental drugs

Michael Becker and his dog. Image credit: Michael Becker

For years, Michael Becker was one of the drug executives navigating swarms of cancer doctors at the annual meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncology.

This year he came back, but it was very different. This time he spoke to an audience of drug executives as a patient living on borrowed time. Becker has been on a personal crusade to raise awareness about the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which caused the cancer that will likely kill him–possibly soon.

He finagled his way into a clinical trial of an experimental drug, but the side effects were excruciating as one of his lungs filled with fluid and required a tube to drain it. After that, he had to be convinced to try chemotherapy, which, in fact, did make his tumors, which had spread to his lungs, shrink. He’s living proof, he says, that even an expert can be seduced by the promise of an experimental drug, even when there is a better alternative.

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Chemotherapy shrank his tumors at first, but eventually it stopped and Becker decided he couldn’t take its mounting side effects.

He knows that his next scans may show his tumors growing again but says he still doesn’t think he wants to try another treatment.

We’d like to thank Mike for letting us, and now you, into his life.

Read full, original post: A Biotech Executive Faces End-Stage Cancer As A Patient

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