Breast cancer patients will have new options for surviving the disease with new continuing research exploring several therapies. Doctors are relatively optimistic about outcomes of new procedures and techniques.
One of the ideas coming out of the scientific community is to use a drug cancer-fighting combination to target certain diseases like breast cancer, leukemia and lymphoma. Results regarding the idea were presented on Saturday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology. By combining several cancer drugs that target cancer cells with a chemotherapy agent and an immunotherapy drug helps lymphocytic leukemia that are not responding to only two drugs. The combination does not produce any more side effects than traditional medical treatments, doctors said.
Asher Chanan-Khan of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is excited about the possibilities of a three-drug combination. He said the new technique could be the “most important changing point in the history” in fighting disease.
Adding a second medication increased survival rates for women with breast cancer, according to reported information. Those 521 women chosen for the study did not have any hope. The women didn’t have the HER2 gene, their cancers spread throughout their bodies and the women’s breast cancers tested positive for a certain type of hormone receptor. The women were also resistant to endocrine therapy. The women were given the drug palbociclib to the endocrine therapy fulvestrant. Survival time increased from an average of 3.8 months to 9.2 months, according to results. The results could be a turning point for many other patients because the type of cancer the patients had were the most common subtype of breast cancer, according to Nicholas C. Turner of the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.
Meanwhile, a new study suggests that a technique called “cavity shaving” could help thousands of women dealing with cancer. The surgery technique is simply removing extra thin tissue around the area during cancer surgery to make sure no cancer is left behind. Taking some extra tissue will reduce the need for a second operation. A new study suggests the technique would affect more than 100,000 women in the United States each year. Doctors said it is hard to tell during a surgery if all the cancer has been removed and some areas look healthy but end up cancerous later.
Most women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States have surgery as a first defense against the disease. Most of those patients do not get the full breast removed but opt to get only the tumor removed. Breast cancer patients have this as one option for survival of the disease.
In other research, doctors have discovered a way to block an enzyme that enable breast cancer to spread to bones. Those in the medical community said the new technique is important to stop a common and deadly advancement of the disease.
The primary cancer tumor releases the enzyme oxidase, which produces holes in bones. That gives tumors a place to spread cancer cells.
The new technique was used successfully in mice, where the spreading is blocked because the enzyme was prevented from being released. The technique is convenient because the drugs used are already on the market to treat osteoporosis and men who have advanced prostate cancer that has spread to bones are taking the medication to prevent fractures and pain. Doctors hope the new technique will prevent secondary breast cancers among patients with non-hormone sensitive disease.
Some of these new measures are still in the early stages of development, but doctors are hopeful they offer a future for breast cancer patients. Breast cancer patients are given a hope never before available along with options for survival against the disease.
By Melody Dareing
Washington Post: Combo therapies effective in forms of leukemia, lymphoma and breast cancer
Science News: Breast Cancer Could Be “Stopped in its Tracks” by a New Technique
ABC: Study Sees Benefit from More Extensive Surgery
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