frequency (one every five years) for patients with colon cancer in their family.” Early detection is a key factor in survival rates for many cancers. Improved detection and treatment have substantially increased five-year survival rates for women with breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute reports that five-year survival rates increased from 75.2% in 1975 to 90.6% in 2008; death rates fell an average of 1.9% each year from 2004 to 2013. Survival rates for ovarian cancer, which is frequently detected much later than breast cancer, have also improved from 33.7% in 1975 to 46.2% in 2008. The NCI Fact Sheets note that the statistics “are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient.” Dr. Langer says some exciting new treatments have emerged in recent years. For instance, breast cancer that is HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) positive, is often more aggressive and harder to treat with hormone treatments used for other types of breast cancer. A new drug, pertuzumab (Perjeta), was approved by the FDA in 2014. “When we use pertuzumab with standard chemo before surgery … patients can actually feel the cancer shrinking,” says Dr. Langer. “If we do chemo before surgery, we can do ultrasound and other studies to show the treatment is working.” She says immunotherapy cancer treatments may be “the wave of the future.” Dr. Langer says that Keytruda, which “made the mass in President Carter’s brain go away, if you remember that story … boosts the immune system to recognize cancer as a foreign cell rather than (part of) self.” She says these new drugs can have immune-related side effects, but they appear to be effective. Compass Oncology is currently running a clinical trial for patients whose breast cancer is triple negative (lacking HER2, estrogen and progesterone). The trial uses standard chemo and an experimental drug before surgery. Information on this and other clinical trials is available at compassoncology.com.
Cancer care built around you The most frightening part of any cancer diagnosis is not knowing what will happen next. For breast cancer patients the feeling of losing control is overwhelming. Compass Breast Specialists is a multidisciplinary team of surgical, medical and radiation oncologists, nurse navigators, pathologists and supportive care experts all focused on helping you regain control and participate fully in choosing the best course of treatment for your needs. From the beginning of treatment to life beyond cancer, you’ll find a culture of listening, collaboration and respect.
Find your path to hope and healing at CompassOncology.com.® OREGON JEWISH LIFE | OCTOBER 2016 31
Published on Sep 30, 2016
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