Dr. Susan Love on Edwards, Snow Cancer

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 27, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Personal story" segment tonight: As I mentioned at the top of the broadcast, Tony Snow's cancer has spread to his liver. So he is in for another round of tough fighting against that insidious disease, as is Elizabeth Edwards whose breast cancer has spread to her bones.

Joining us now from Los Angeles, Dr. Susan Love, a cancer specialist and author of the book "Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book." OK, since you are an expert, we'll take Ms. Edwards first. Very courageous woman. I think all Americans would acknowledge that. This is not unusual, though, to have breast cancer that goes into remission and then spreads throughout the body. Is that correct?

SUSAN LOVE, M.D., CANCER SPECIALSIT: It's not unusual. Although with breast cancer, we do cure about three-quarters of breast cancer. So it's only about a quarter of the women who are diagnosed who will be faced with this situation.

O'REILLY: Now once it does spread into the bone, is there a specific treatment to arrest it there?

LOVE: There are a number of treatments. Often, it's sensitive to hormones. And so you can use hormonal blockers or hormone pills to block it. Chemotherapy is used. There's also radiation that can be used on the area of the bone that has the cancer to treat it. So we have a lot of tools for bone.

O'REILLY: But it's rough. I mean, all the treatments are rough.

LOVE: Yes. Bone is not as rough as some other places. Liver, lungs, brain. Bone is a little bit more manageable, I think, than most of the other places breast cancer likes to go to.

O'REILLY: so she has a fighting chance?

LOVE: She has a — well, certainly in the near future she has a fighting chance. Once breast cancer's come back again in another organ it really isn't curable. So we can put you into remission for a while, and then it will pop up somewhere else. And then we put you into remission again and it pops up somewhere else. And eventually you do die of breast cancer.

O'REILLY: Now Tony Snow similar situation. Been through colon cancer. It goes into remission after he had the colon removed. And then it comes back. And now it's in the liver. What's the treatment for that?

LOVE: Well, in that situation you have depending. If it's small enough and they can do it, they sometimes will surgically cut out the area of the liver that has the cancer in it. If not, you might do chemotherapy and try to shrink it to make it operable.

Generally speaking, you can take care of it again. You can put something into remission. But it's hard to cure people once the cancer has come back again.

O'REILLY: OK, and that's no matter where it comes back? It's hard to just knock the cancer out forever?

LOVE: That's right. And that's why with all these cancers we do such aggressive treatments when we first diagnose it. Because that's a real chance at the cure. And if we can't get it then, then we're playing catch- up.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, for Tony, though, there are a number of drugs that are specific to the liver that you can target those lesions that he has. Dr. Manny Alvarez was telling me this on the radio. And they're new drugs, correct?

LOVE: There's a lot of new drugs. And specifically in colon cancer we have three or four new drugs that are very promising. That's one that blocks new blood vessels from feeding the cancer. And there's some new kinds of chemotherapy that have been very promising in colon cancer. And there's more on the way.

So when I say we can't cure it, I'm talking about with the current tools we have at this minute today. And that's open for change. So it's hard to know what's going to happen in the future.

O'REILLY: Yes, you want to keep the patient alive as long as possible so that they can benefit from anything that may be a year away or something like that.

LOVE: Exactly.

O'REILLY: In both of these cases, though, I mean you have interesting people here. Because Tony Snow I know him very, very well. He's a fighter. He's courageous. He's not going to give it an inch. Not an inch.

And I assume Mrs. Edwards is the same way from what I hear. Both very strong, focused people, don't feel sorry for themselves. You know they say, "OK, I have it. I'm going to deal with it." That means a lot, that kind of mental attitude. Correct?

LOVE: Absolutely. And there even have been studies showing that the people who are — feel like victims and, "Oh, woe is me" and feel sorry for themselves do the worst. And the fighting spirits, as they call it, which certainly describes both of these people, are the ones that do the best.

So that does help; no question about it. Unfortunately, it can't do everything.

O'REILLY: But you've got to go in with all your weapons and guns blazing.

LOVE: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: And faith and prayer have a lot to do with it, as well. I mean, you know, you have to put yourself almost into somebody else's hands. Just do what you have to do, fight the good fight and, you know, accept whatever happens.

Doctor, we appreciate it very much. And of course, our prayers are with Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards. And I'm sure that most of Americans are with me on that.

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