Lifestyle

Thousands more women are choosing a pro-survival breast cancer drug

THOUSANDS more women could receive pro-survival breast cancer medicine from the NHS to buy them valuable extra time.

A study found the drug Enhertu added months to the life of a new group of incurable patients, equivalent to around 17,000 women in the UK.

Thousands more women with incurable breast cancer could benefit from a drug already available from the NHS

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Thousands more women with incurable breast cancer could benefit from a drug already available from the NHSCredit: Alamy

It can halve the chance of the cancer spreading and reduce the risk of death by a third in the first 18 months compared to standard chemotherapy.

dr Susan Galbraith of drugmaker AstraZeneca said: “This is a pivotal moment in the treatment of breast cancer.

“The time until the cancer comes back is the time when you can get on with other things – you give people their lives back.

“We are also confident that we can use this drug in the early stages of breast cancer to increase the cure rate. Early trials are underway.”

dr Kotryna Temcinaite, from the Breast Cancer Now charity, added: “It is extremely exciting that this drug can benefit even more breast cancer patients, giving them the hope of extra quality time with their loved ones.”

The drug is currently only available to about 400 women with very specific types of cancer.

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But there could be thousands more as soon as next year after regulators review.

Scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York have shown that the drug works in women with stage 4 breast cancer with low levels of a protein called HER2.

Around 35,000 women in the UK are living with incurable late-stage breast cancer that has spread throughout their bodies.

Half of those cases have low levels of HER2 protein and could benefit from the drug, scientists said.

The study, presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology conference, saw the drug increase median survival from 18 months to two years.

And it kept tumors stable or shrank for 10 months, compared to five months with chemotherapy.

Professor Charles Swanton, chief medical officer of Cancer Research UK, described the breakthrough as “exciting”.

dr Temcinaite added: “With so many people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK, we urgently need to find new ways to treat this devastating disease.

“This treatment must now be immediately evaluated for NHS use so that women can benefit from it as soon as possible.”

https://www.the-sun.com/health/5501412/thousands-more-women-breast-cancer-drug-nhs/ Thousands more women are choosing a pro-survival breast cancer drug

Sarah Y. Kim

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