New breast cancer drug has promise for early stage patients - New York News

New breast cancer drug has promise for early stage patients

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and survivors, along with medical experts, are still hoping for a cure. While that may take some time, some doctors are excited about a new drug used for the treatment of early stage breast cancer before surgery called Perjeta.

Perjeta has been around for some time and used on breast cancer survivors in advanced stages. Researchers recently discovered the drug could be just as effective on patients who are hearing for the first time that they have breast cancer.

"What we'd really like to do is prevent breast cancer from happening in the first place and there really are effective medications for that," Dr. Melody Cobleigh from Rush University explains.

And this is one of them. The makers of Prejeta were just granted quick approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The intravenous drug can now be used on newly diagnosed cancer patients.

Dr. Cobleigh says this news should give breast cancer patients hope.

"This strategy leaves the tumor intact and the patient receives the medicine before their surgery then we look to see if the tumor is gone away after a certain amount of treatments," Dr. Coleigh says.

Each year 240,000 women and men are diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,000 die each year. The key to being a survivor is early detection, better treatment and knowing the facts. It's not enough to tell your doctor that your mother or maternal grandmother had breast cancer in both breasts or ovarian cancer before they were 50. It's time to shake the family tree.

"When we take a family history on a patient who is newly diagnosed with breast cancer we want to look at three generations of men and women in the family and if we see a pattern of breast cancer below the age of 50 of cancer in both breasts," she adds.

Dr. Cobleigh says the risk increases slightly if you have multiple alcoholic drinks daily. There are some myths you should know about -- your diet, deodorant, or milk won't give you breast cancer.

But, some people are more at risk than others.

"Being older. The older you are the more likely you are to get breast cancer," Dr. Cobleigh says of those at risk. "Starting your periods early. Ending your periods late. Delaying your first child bearing experience. Having a relative with breast cancer…these are all things that slightly increase your risk of breast cancer. Then when we look at survival of breast cancer that depends on a number of factors including diagnosing it early, getting your screening of mammograms and appropriate treatment."

The drug is available, but the oncologist at Rush says while there are some good drugs out there to treat breast cancer, only a few women are aware them.

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