In the last 20 years, significant improvements have been made in the detection and treatment of breast cancer, and most survivors can expect a good quality of life after treatment. Early-stage breast cancer treatment is one of the most successful treatments, and research is constantly underway to discover better ways to treat every stage.
Within the last five years, there have been many new drug treatments available:
- Ibrance – a new targeted therapy drug that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. Ibrance is used to treat certain types of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
- Perjeta – used to treat HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer.
- Xgeva - drug can also be used to help strengthen and reduce the risk of fractures in bones that have been weakened by metastatic breast cancer.
- Kadcyla - typically used to treat HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.
- Halaven - a chemotherapy medicine approved to treat metastatic breast cancer that has already been treated with other chemotherapy medicines.
- mTOR inhibitors - a class of targeted therapy drugs that may increase the benefit of hormone therapy.
- Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors - class of drugs under study for many types of cancer, including breast cancer. PARP is an enzyme involved in DNA repair. At this time, PARP inhibitors are only offered in clinical trials for people with metastatic breast cancer.
Research is also finding new detection techniques like the MammaPrint test, 3D mammography and MRIs to help find cancer early.
Cancer treatment can be a difficult time for patients, and traveling far for treatment can put excess strain on an individual and their family. Over time, cancer treatments have become standardized, and most individuals can now find great care close to home! Cone Health is committed to making patients wholly better and has an entire team of support staff at the Cone Health Cancer Center at Annie Penn dedicated to helping patients through treatment with state of the art equipment and therapies.
Dr. Shannon Penland is a medical oncologist and hematologist at the Cone Health Cancer Center at Annie Penn Hospital and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. She received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993. Dr. Penland completed medical school at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2000, and completed her residency at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2002. She completed a Hematology and Oncology fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006.