(06/19/13) - A drug combination is bringing hope to women with the most serious
cases of cervical cancer. While there is no cure, researchers are excited about
the new therapy that could improve and even lengthen the lives of some patients.
For Lisa McDevitt, there's nothing better than hitting the road in her limited edition "Warriors in Pink" Mustang. "I actually had a woman follow me home, and she wanted to know how much, and I was like, 'it's not for sale."
The car is Lisa's reward for successfully battling and beating cervical cancer twice. Her doctor, at the time, said she wouldn't survive round two, "she said you will be dead within six years. I really was just ready to die."
That's when Doctor Larry Kilgore asked her to join a clinical trial. It is for patients with advanced or recurrent cervical cancer. Researchers are testing a new therapy that combines the biologic drug Avastin with chemo.
"So, the chemotherapy kills the cancer cells, and the biologic agent stops blood vessel growth, so tumors can't grow. It's a real, real advance," Kilgore, of the University of Tennessee, says.
Results from the phase-three trial showed patients who received Avastin and chemo lived an average of 17 months compared to about 13 months for those treated with chemo alone.
It has been two years since Lisa's last chemo treatment, Kilgore says, "yes, she is disease-free. We will have to follow her to see, but so far, so good."
While Avastin is FDA approved for the treatment of some cancers, including colorectal and lung cancer, it's not currently approved for cervical cancer. You can still get the treatment, but your insurance company may not cover it, and this treatment can cost thousands of dollars per month.
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