(01/17/14) - New therapy is offering hope for the most serious cases of breast cancer. Triple negative breast cancer accounts for about 15 percent of all new breast cancer cases in the United States, but it leads to 25 percent of all breast cancer deaths.
Eight years ago, Brenda Beguin was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.
Three years ago, she says, it came back, "my doctor actually told my daughter and I, 'you know, instead of doing chemotherapy, you probably should just, um, you know, do the most that you can with the life that you have.'"
Brenda didn't listen. She enrolled in a clinical trial testing new therapies for triple negative cancer.
"Right now, the only treatment we have for triple negative breast cancer is chemotherapy," says Dr. Julie Gralow of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
Gralow says new studies are focusing on PARP inhibitors to prevent cancer cells from becoming resistant to chemo, "it affects the ability of the tumor cell to heal itself after getting chemotherapy."
One other study found triple negative patients with advanced cancer who took the drugs with chemo survived about five months longer than those who received chemo only, with very few side effects.
Today, Brenda only takes the PARP drug, "I feel it has saved my life."
The next step for this research is a larger clinical trial that will test the drug on more patients. During the clinical trial, patients get the drug for free.
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