Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Florida woman beats terminal breast cancer with new therapy

A new study finds some early stage breast cancer survivors will benefit just as well from endocrine therapy without the need for chemotherapy to prevent recurrence Florida woman beats terminal breast cancer with new therapy
Samantha Long | 08 June, 2018, 17:41

"The impact is tremendous" remarks study leader Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in NY. Most women in this situation don't need treatment beyond surgery and hormone therapy, he said.

The research was sponsored by the NCI (National Cancer Institute), some organizations and health foundation and proceeds from the breast cancer postage stamp of the US. The latest results were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. "Some study leaders consult for breast cancer drugmakers or for the company that makes the gene test".

For women under 50 with a score of 0 to 15, chemo can be skipped. The recurrence rate was 3 percent after nine years for the women in the low-risk group who had received only hormone therapy.

84 percent were alive without signs of cancer, so adding chemo made no difference.

Women with cancer receive scores based on genetic tests that determine the likelihood of relapse.

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Over the years, the Cancer Institute has used its $59.8 million in proceeds for studies trying to improve early detection and to determine which cancers are most unsafe and need heaviest treatment and which are less so. Such patients have been in "the gray zone, and we haven't known what to tell them", Kurian said.

It's hard to find a person who hasn't been affected by cancer in some way, and for those of us who have had the sickness or lost someone to the sickness, it seems that cancer research and treatment moves at a slower-than-molasses pace. "Ten-thousand women, one of the first studies we've ever had where we're able to personalize or tailor the medication or plan for the patient", says Dr. David Groteluschen a Green Bay Oncology physician with HSHS St. Vincent Cancer Centers. "The study will help other women chose what treatment they want", says Kropp. The money was used to pay for the gene test, which costs more than $4,000 per person. "That's not necessarily true, so what I would say from this study is we've clearly defined the groups that need chemo and don't need chemo, for the most part". Dr. Rosenberg explained that results like this in patients with solid epithelial tumours are important because ACT has not been as successful with these kinds of cancers as with other types that have more mutations.

Janet Kramer-Mai, director of cancer support services at Erlanger, said patients who've watched friends or family members successfully undergo cancer treatment with chemo might be hesitant to accept the findings. She said she was unable to be treated with conventional therapy. "I think there's going to be some anxiety for those who have had experience". Rosenberg is a pioneer in harnessing the immune system to fight cancer.

"All cancers have mutations, and that's what we're attacking with this immunotherapy", he said.

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