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Plea for advanced breast cancer patients

Friday September 19th, 2014

More needs to be done to help patients facing advanced breast cancer, experts say today.

Experts called for more research and clinical trials into a range of problems that make treatment hard for women - and men - afflicted by the disease.

New guidelines on treatment say it is "urgent" to find the best treatments for cancer that has spread to the liver, skin or the space around the lungs.

They also identify the care of patients with HER2 positive advanced cancer who face a relapse following treatment.

The new guidelines are published jointly in two journals The Breast and the Annals of Oncology.

The experts also identify men with advanced disease who are receiving aromatase inhibitors as needing to be part of research programmes.

Professor Fatima Cardoso, of the Champalimaud Cancer Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, said that patients with advanced disease were often invited to undertake early trials of new treatments - but then forgotten at later stages of testing.

She said: “Our plea is for strong commitment from everyone involved – academia, the pharmaceutical industry, funders and advocacy groups – to develop well-designed, high quality, multidisciplinary trials for advanced breast cancer.

"This is of critical importance as many questions are still unanswered relating to managements strategies, better drugs and drug use, and individualising treatments so that they are specific to a particular patient and their tumour.”

She added: "Yes, once you have enough data, move to the early setting, but remain and keep investing some effort in understanding how best to treat the advanced breast cancer patient. They are one third of all breast cancer patients and they deserve that.”

F. Cardoso et al. ESO-ESMO 2nd international consensus guidelines for advance breast cancer (ABC2) The Breast; doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2014.08.009, Annals of Oncology;doi:10.1093/annonc/mdu385; 19 September 2014

Tags: Cancer | Europe | Women’s Health & Gynaecology | World Health

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