Breast Cancer Action Applauds New Direction in Breast Cancer Treatment Options

For Immediate Release

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Contact: Mary DeLucco
Breast Cancer Action
415.243.9301 xt 16

Katrina Kahl
Breast Cancer Action
415.243.9301 xt 19

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San Francisco—Breast Cancer Action (BCA) said today that a new study that suggests that the chemotherapy drug Taxol is not effective in treating the most common form of breast cancer is further evidence of the need to reevaluate the way breast cancer drugs are prescribed.

“Too many women have been exposed to a very aggressive drug with serious long-term side effects only to now be told there may have been no benefit,” BCA Executive Director Barbara A. Brenner says. “We always prescribe new treatments quickly and then study the long-term benefits and risks. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

In the new study, which appears in today’s New England Journal of Medicine, researchers looked at information on approximately 3,000 women whose cancer had spread to nearby lymph nodes. The new research found that Taxol did not help those women who had the most common form of breast cancer—those diagnosed with HER-2 negative, estrogen-receptor-positive disease.

Taxol was most effective for women who had HER-2 positive breast cancer. At most, 25 percent of women with breast cancer have HER-2 positive disease.

BCA has expressed reservations for many years about the common practice of routinely prescribing chemotherapy as a treatment for all women with breast cancer.

An editorial accompanying today’s study points out that the findings indicate that “the days of ‘one size fits all’ therapy for patients with breast cancer are coming to an end.”

Brenner, a woman living with breast cancer, knows that day can’t come soon enough. “With the amount of money we have invested in breast cancer research, we should have known this information long ago,” Brenner says. “It’s past time for a new approach.”

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This entry was posted in Press Releases.

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