In this health video find out how to improve breast cancer care.
Read the full transcript »
Jennifer Matthews: Most women with advanced breast cancer have to endure the harsh effects of chemotherapy. But Audrey Dickinson's treatment hasn't disrupted her game at all. Audrey Dickinson: People can't believe it. They come by to see me, and they expect that I'm going to be just feeling miserable, and life has just been going on as usual. Jennifer Matthews: Audrey took part in a clinical trial to test a new therapy for breast cancer. Instead of chemo, doctors gave her a combination of two drugs -- Herceptin and Bevacizumab. Dr. Rebecca Moroose: Our hope is that by using very effective, very logical combinations of treatment that do not have the side effects of chemotherapy, that a patient will live and do well and have a better quality of life. Jennifer Matthews: The drugs work together to individually target the different proteins that cause tumors to spread. Dr. Rebecca Moroose: We're looking at the molecular signature, at the biological profile, of each individual's cancer cell. Jennifer Matthews: In a small study, 5 out of 9 patients responded to the drugs, and one patient had a complete response leading researchers to believe the combo may be as effective as chemo. The biggest benefit, patients do not experience serious side effects like hair loss, nausea, and fatigue. Dr. Rebecca Moroose: A patient who doesn't have to deal with the toxicity cannot only have effective treatment but also live a much richer life. Jennifer Matthews: Audrey knows that firsthand. Audrey Dickinson: I have had the chance to live my life as usual and to fight cancer rather than letting the cancer become my life. Jennifer Matthews: And with a support system like this, Audrey has a lot to live for. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.