In October, 2014 as registered nurses promote awareness and encourage donations during National Breast Cancer month, they can feel good about targeted therapies, developed in the last two years that are being used to block the growth and spread of breast cancer in patients. These therapies are proving to be less harmful and more effective than chemotherapy alone, and entail treatments with names that RNs will recognize, like Herceptin, KADCYLA and medications administered as part of immunotherapy.
Here are 3 reasons why RNs and other healthcare professionals in all 50 U.S. States should continue raising awareness about breast cancer and using that momentum to eventually stop the disease.
- Reason #1: To Continue Building on Our Understanding of the Biology of Breast Cancer: In its article “50 Years in Breast Cancer: Dramatic Progress in Treatment Based On an Improved Understanding of Biology”, The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) acknowledges that **the last 10 years of breast cancer research have been dramatic and groundbreaking. Patients are benefiting from new approaches that improve clinical outcomes for non-metastatic cases. Risk assessment and prevention are able to identify BRCA12 and BRCA23 genes; these commercially available tests have decreased breast cancer risk by **approximately 50 percent and the risk of ovarian cancer by approximately 80% percent! The MRI has also emerged as a more effective screening tool than mammography or ultrasound for high-risk groups.
- Reason #2: To Be a Part of New and Promising Targeted Therapies: For patients with metastatic breast cancer, or cancer that returns within six months of treatment, Trastuzumab emtansine was created, run through successful clinical trials, and approved by the FDA for marketing in February 2013. Healthcare professionals can find out more about KADCYLA, its side effects, and how to administer the drug by visiting the site, replete with instant message support from an RN! This promising medication is not the only one to pass its clinical trials. Immunotherapies in Phases I, II and III trials are enrolling patients every day; if you are an oncology nurse and think you have a patient who is interested and qualifies, check the immunotherapy clinical trial finder available at the Cancer Research Organization.
- Reason #3: To Find Foundations that Help You, Help Breast Cancer Patients:For some under-insured patients the financial burden of battling breast cancer can be as overwhelming as the disease itself. RNs can refer patients to The Genentech® Access to Care Foundation (GATCF). They manufacture medicines for serious health problems and believe everyone who needs them should have access. GATCF has donated over $3 billion in free medicines and can help qualified patients receive financial assistance for treatment. The Patient Advocate Foundation – National Under-insured Resource Directory may also be able to help.
Healthcare Professionals Unite During Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
As the Susan Komen Foundation holds its annual Race for the Cure campaigns across the United States, let us join together in solidarity. Let us also remember that it is the advances in our understanding of breast cancer that continue to drive therapeutic progress! If you choose to donate directly to the Cancer Research Institute, 86% goes to helping scientists develop immunotherapies that fight breast cancer. You can also find invaluable links and resources in this archive of Breast Cancer Awareness Month blogs.
**Facts cited in this article came from the following online sites and publications: Recent Advances in Breast Cancer Treatment, the Cancer Research Organization and ASCO’s article on the last 50 years in breast cancer research.