New Breast Cancer Drug Combo May Give Patients Precious Time

breast cancer ribbonI'm not sure any diagnosis frightens a woman more than breast cancer. So I was over-the-moon about the new news on a breakthrough treatment for women with advanced stages of the disease.

Researchers found that taking two drugs -- anastrozole and fulvestrant -- that are normally given alone can significantly extend the lives of patients. Women who took the drug combo lived six months longer than those who did not.

I know it may not sound like a whole lot of time, but for the thousands of women afflicted, that means more precious moments with their husbands, kids, siblings, friends, everyone that they love.


In the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, about 700 women were either assigned anastrozole by itself or both drugs. All the women had hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, which is the kind that requires estrogen to grow and makes up more than 50 percent of all breast cancer cases.

With the combination, there was a 20 percent improvement in "progression-free survival" (meaning, the tumors didn't grow as rapidly) and a 19 percent improvement in overall survival. That equaled a half year more of life. Another significant discovery: the survival rate was extended without the use of chemotherapy. Of course that is far from a cure and we still desperately hope for one. But until then, more time will do.

Are you excited about this new breast cancer treatment? How many years do you think we are away from a cure?

Image via SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget/Flickr

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