- Question from Mary: I have metastatic breast cancer that presented itself in the lungs and liver. I do not qualify for Herceptin. I am currently receiving Taxol and Carboplatin, and I am wondering if they are working on any other antibody-type drugs. I feel that if I can make this a chronic illness and hang on, that I'm on the cusp of a cure. Do you agree?
Eric Winer, M.D.
As we were talking about, there are many new treatments, both antibodies and other types of treatments, that are in various stages of development, and many of which are in clinical trials. For the moment, it probably makes sense for you to continue your present treatment as long as it's working and as long as you're tolerating it reasonably well.
- Musa Mayer One way that people find out about new treatments and ongoing research is that they help one another discover what's available. One thing you might think of is joining a mailing list called BCMETS, a large international discussion list on which women and their partners discuss treatment and offer support. You can find out about this at www.bcmets.org.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. Each month at Breastcancer.org, we have research news that features important new treatment advances. We also report on all of the major breast cancer conferences throughout the year. You can sign up for the Breastcancer.org free email updates on the homepage. There are also many forums within the Breastcancer.org discussion boards where women with advanced breast cancer share this important information, as well as encouragement.
Eric Winer, M.D.
I would agree that the name of the game for you at the moment is hanging in there and being hopeful that some of the new therapies that are being developed will be helpful for you. As a general rule, my own preference, in terms of using chemotherapy, is to use one drug at a time. Combinations like Carboplatin and Taxol are certainly fine regimens, but one of the problems we run into when they work is that we don't know whether it's the Taxol, Carboplatin, or both. Since these drugs all have side effects, it can mean that we're giving a drug that isn't effective but is still causing a number of side effects.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Metastatic Breast Cancer featured Musa Mayer, Eric P. Winer, M.D., and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about treatment and quality of life issues related to advanced (metastatic) breast cancer.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in September 2003.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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