Reflect on How Far We've Come With Fighting Breast Cancer

As another breast cancer awareness month is upon us, it seems like a good time to reflect on how far we’ve come in recent years to help women and their families who battle this terrible disease every day.

First – there’s great news. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer, especially in the early stages, become survivors.  Much of this success rate is due to the remarkable research that is taking place around the globe. Just this week, researchers presented new findings on the effectiveness of Perjeta (pertuzumab, Roche), which is used in combination with other drugs to treat some types of breast cancer. The updated report on the CLEOPATRA trial shows that adding Perjeta to Herceptin and chemotherapy significantly extends survival in patients with Her2-overexpressing (Her2+) metastatic breast cancer.

We are also taking a more collaborative approach in treating breast cancer. For instance, at ThedaCare, from the moment we suspect a cancer diagnosis, we put together a care team. We pull together specialized breast radiologists and surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, behavioral health experts, dietitians among others and assign an individual nurse to be with you through every step of your cancer journey. We must all do the right things at the right time to help you make the best decisions about treating your cancer to achieve the best possible outcomes. Working together is key.

But there’s more to we can do. We plan to collaborate with other cancer centers near and far to offer more clinical trials that are so important to bringing promising treatments forward. Giving patients earlier access to experimental treatments can improve outcomes, help reduce suffering and improve quality of life in so many ways.

So this year, as we reflect on the progress made in breast cancer treatments, let’s give thanks for the promise of a better tomorrow.

By Matthias Weiss, MD, ThedaCare Medical Oncology