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Breast Cancer Treatment: New Treatments and Medications

Breast Cancer Treatment: As a result of advances in screening, early detection, and treatment efficacy, the five-year survival rate of Canadian women diagnosed with breast cancer has increased from 79% in 1986 to 88% today. “There have been few revolutionary new treatments during the last decade, but today we see promising advances in precision medicine. Breast cancer is a complex disease that can take many forms, and these new therapies allow doctors to target their care better.”

Breast Cancer Treatment

Unfortunately, Canada is particularly slow to authorize these treatments. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is accelerating funding authorizations and access to innovative therapies, but again, the process is lagging behind. Any new drug or treatment authorized by Health Canada must then be cleared by a separate funding agency. This can take years, as with the Oncotype DX test. This test, which allows the analysis of the activity of 21 genes, can evaluate the risk of recurrence of breast cancer and the benefit of chemotherapy for the patients. Six years ago, Canadian women had to cross the borders to pass this test. Even today, it is only available in seven provinces. Rethink is now trying to get Manitoba funding. We believe that “the system must catch up. Many women can not afford to wait. “

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Breast Cancer:  palbociclib, a promising drug

Palbociclib improves the survival rate of women with metastatic breast cancer with positive hormone receptors, is currently being approved in Canada. Although authorized by Health Canada in May 2018 (available in the US since February 2015), those who need it will still have to wait before they can benefit. Yet, despite the slow approval process, Canadians are at the forefront of research, enabling people with these treatments to do otherwise.

According to Dr. Karen Gelmon, a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and an oncologist at the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, “there is a lot of research going on in Canada, and we have played a role in most major Recent advances, including palbociclib. Pending,  its funding, this drug is available through support programs or clinical trials. “Dr. Gelmon, who sits on the steering committee of a clinical trial whose results were published recently, reveals that the addition of palbociclib to the treatment regimen of patients with metastatic cancer with positive estrogen receptors doubles the period of positive response to therapy, extending “progression-free survival”. “The results are quite promising, and at least two other drugs in the same class (CDK-4/6 inhibitors) being developed to improve the condition of women with advanced breast cancer.”

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Revisiting an existing drug to better counter the risk of recurrence

The key to success is not always innovation. Sometimes it is the reuse of an existing drug. According to a study by Harvard Medical School and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June 2018, the extended treatment with letrozole (an inhibitor lowering estrogen levels) from 5 to 10 years in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer would reduce the risk of recurrence by 34%. “Despite proper treatment, too many patients relapse, “says Karen Gelmon. Although provinces have not necessarily approved funding for prolonged treatment with letrozole, many patients continue to use it to reduce the risk of long-term recurrence. Most pharmacies deliver this prescription drug.

According to Dr. Gelmon, research is the only way to continue improving breast cancer survival rate in Canada, including its hardest-to-treat forms, such as triple-negative breast cancer, accounting for 15% of cases. “We still have a lot to discover about this disease, able to treat it effectively.” Participating in a clinical trial often remains the best chance for patients. It was that of Esther Vetter, now 80 years old, after the metastasis of her breast cancer in her spine, in 2012.

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Breast Cancer Treatment

When her doctor told her she could wake up one morning, unable to get up, she started radiotherapy. With her husband, she went to look for an apartment: in a wheelchair, their house with floor would have been a problem. “We resigned to the fact that it would only get worse,” Then their daughter told them about an ongoing clinical trial of the effects of enzalutamide (a drug that’s used successfully to curb the development of prostate cancer in men) on women with breast cancer.

Androgen receptor-positive. Esther began treatment in June 2014 at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto. She always follows him. “Enzalutamide inhibits the growth of cancer. I am told that I look fit. I answer that I have a healthy prostate! In June, Esther was able to leave with her family at Cape Cod. During the summer, she discovered that she still had the strength to play golf. Al and she even celebrated their “54th Honeymoon” by spending three days at Algonquin Provincial Park. “I felt good enough to tell myself that I could. We do things that we thought we could not do. Hope is born again. We also hope that this essay is conclusive so that others can benefit. “

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Breast Cancer Treatment: One more weapon in our arsenal

According to Dr. J. DeCoteau, patients should know that if one treatment fails, they may try another: “A woman recently told me that she wanted to use all the tools at her disposal.” A clinical trial cancer is a good one. The Canadian Cancer Society provides information on ongoing research, as well as links to help identify projects that recruit participants across the country. Although still unavailable in Canada, two promising new treatments are being tested elsewhere in the world: radio-frequency ablation (ARF) and immunotherapy.

Breast Cancer Treatment: Radiofrequency ablation (ARF)

According to a March 2010 meta-analysis of 15 studies conducted by the Nanjing Medical School in China, this minimally invasive thermal ablation technique, an alternative to surgery for early breast cancer phases, less risk of complications. However, further research is still needed.


Breast Cancer Treatment: Immunotherapy

In June 2018, researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center presented the results of three clinical trials of triple-negative targeted immunotherapy drugs, one of which, IMMU-132, Term “discovery” by the FDA.

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