First of all, they have found help for one third of breast cancer patients, the patients who do not respond to hormone blockers. At one time, those women had to turn to a less-than- reliable chemotherapy. But now medical advances have improved the ability of physicians to manage chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment. Medical advances have now changed the nature of chemotherapy. In fact, a researcher at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has good news for one third of the women with breast cancer.
Donald Berry, a biostatistician at M.D. Anderson, has compiled data from researchers in Houston. That data has shown that non-hormonal cancers respond well to present-day chemotherapy. The latest chemotherapy regimen studied, the one on which Berry based his conclusions on three different drugs, all of which are used to manage chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment.
One of those drugs was Taxol. During Dr. Berry's study the patients received an infusion of this drug mix every other week for 16 weeks. That regimen reduced their risk of cancer recurrence by 50 %. Their risk of death from breast cancer also declined by 50%.
That new regimen delivered a higher dose than earlier chemotherapy, and it called for more frequent chemo treatments. Those simple changes proved to be significant changes. Those simple changes improved the ability of physicians to manage chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment. Debbie Saslow, director of breast and gynecological cancer for the American Cancer Society has shared with reporters from the Associated Press her optimism regarding the potential of the new chemo regimen. She expects the latest statistics to show "just how big an effect the new chemotherapy is having."
Dr. Berry's study was but one of several studies conducted at M.D. Anderson. A Houston resident, and a breast cancer survivor has benefited from another study. That too was an attempt to improve the ability of the medical community to manage chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment. That second study looked at the benefits of yoga.
The study asked 30 women to take twice-weekly yoga classes. The study found that when women learned to breathe deeply and slowly they obtained relief from the side effects of chemotherapy. The therapy became less stressful. Yoga helped the women to manage the chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment.
Dr. Lorenzo Cohen of M.D. Anderson said this to Todd Ackerman, a reporter for the Houston Chronicle: "This shows yoga can ameliorate the treatment related side effects that accumulate in cancer patients over time."