My recent Letter to the Editor of the New York Times in response to the Op-Ed piece decrying the cost of cancer treatments:

Your recent editorial about the high cost of cancer drugs missed a number of very significant points which must be considered. Yes, newly developed cancer drugs are expensive, but when treatments like Provenge, that do extend life, come along we need to welcome them.

Advanced Prostate Cancer kills over 32,000 men each year and this number is growing each year. We need to find ways to extend men’s lives, treatments like Provenge are an important step in the process. Denying life extension now to our grandfathers, fathers and sons will not only see them die prematurely, but will also halt the development of other new drugs and treatments that will ultimately bring even longer survival. Provenge’s mechanisms and responses may have relevance to the treatment development for a range of diseases; if we block these drugs and we may block our ability to achieve our ultimate goal, curing cancer.

Joel T Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.