This medical video looks into how shortening the intervals between chemotherapy treatment can actually increase survival rates.
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Jennifer Matthews: It's been a year and a half since Sari Sunshine was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sari Sunshine: I felt some pain in my right breast, and I knew it wasn't a normal pain, that it needed to be looked out. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors found a 6-centimeter tumor that was quickly removed. Chemotherapy followed, but not in its usual form. Typically, chemotherapy is given every three weeks. Like this woman, sari was treated every two weeks. It's called dose-dense chemotherapy. It not only cuts treatment from 6 to 4 months, it boosts survival rates by 31 percent. Dr. Marc L. Citron: By shortening the interval between chemotherapy, you may be able to increase tumor cell kill and hence increase the chance of cure. Jennifer Matthews: Until now, killing tumor cells has meant killing healthy white cells, too. A drug called Neupogen, taken with chemotherapy, solves the problem, giving white cells a boost. Dr. Marc L. Citron: Not only can you shorten the whole period of chemotherapy treatment, which may save the patient approximately 2 months of chemotherapy, but also you're lowering the risk of infection and hospitalization. Jennifer Matthews: The infection risk is actually lower for dose-dense therapy. Sari Sunshine: I have my life back, and hopefully it's just a thing of the past. My prognosis is good. Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.