New cancer treatments should inform patients about quality of life beyond side effects

Every doctor or nurse has “the one” — that memorable patient who made a career-shaping impression.

For me it was a 13-year-old boy with leukemia. I’ll call him Joey, although that’s not his real name. When I met him 20 years ago, childhood leukemias, like acute lymphocytic leukemia, were generally considered curable. What Joey had, acute myelogenous leukemia, wasn’t.

Joey had already been through chemotherapy several times, which had left him exhausted and ill. Each one had failed to put his cancer into remission.

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