Drug Combo May Slow Down Advanced Breast Cancer- But First: Reduce Your Risks
Based on studies from two large clinical trials reported on Wednesday, researchers found that a combination of drugs proved effective for women with advanced stages of breast cancer.
From The LA Times:
These are two terrific, new options. They are laying out a map on the way forward for breast cancer," said Dr. José Baselga, a professor of medication at Harvard Medical School who was involved in both trials. "The way forward is by doing smart combination therapies.
The Times describes the drugs as operating in a similar manner to HIV treatments. The combination of drugs reduces the virsus' resistance to them.
However, scientists stressed that the results did not show an increase in survival rate, only longer survival before the tumor advanced in size. While the results may not be indicative of a cure, it could mean an overall longer survival time, reported The Times.
However, the cost for a drug combination may be incredibly expensive, said Eric Winer of Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who commented to USA Today even though he wasn't involved in the new study. Treating advanced cancer with Herceptin (one of the drugs) typically costs $30,000, according to drugmaker Genentech said USA Today.
Also released on Wednesday: a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that advised women how to reduce environmental causes of breast cancer.
According to CNN, environmental exposures most linked to cancer include:
- Ionizing radiation (from mammograms, X-rays and CT-scans)
- Estrogen-progestin hormone therapy
- Birth control pills
- Weight gain, especially after menopause
The study also suggested that limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, and staying physically active could help reduce the risk of breast cancer even though environmental risks are difficult to determine at times.
Furthermore, the committee conducting the tests found that little research is done about the chemicals found in cosmetics, dietary supplements and other products before being released to the public. It was unable to advise whether certain products containing these chemicals should also be avoided.
CNN also reported that according to the American Cancer Society, nearly 40,000 women are expected to die this year from breast cancer, the second highest number of cancer deaths after lung cancer.
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