Outcomes improving for women with metastatic breast cancer

Conference at St Vincent’s will discuss advances in how disease is being treated

Women with the HER2-positive strain of the disease had the best prognosis because of the “colossal impact”of Herceptin and chemotherapy: Photograph: F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd/PA Wire

Women with the HER2-positive strain of the disease had the best prognosis because of the “colossal impact”of Herceptin and chemotherapy: Photograph: F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd/PA Wire

 

Women with metastatic, or secondary, breast cancer face a better outlook than they would have in the past, according to a leading cancer specialist.

Prof John Crown said 3,000-4,000 women are living with metastatic breast cancer in Ireland. They represent about 20-30 per cent of women who are diagnosed with the disease.

About 600 women with primary breast cancer go on to develop metastatic breast cancer every year.

“Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer” is the theme of a symposium to be held in the old lecture theatre on the ground floor of St Vincent’s University Hospital on Saturday, May 13th, at 9am.It is being organised by the Cancer Clinical Research Trust.

Prof Crown said metastatic breast cancer was not curable but more women were living with it. Women with the HER2-positive strain of the disease had the best prognosis, he said, because of the “colossal impact”of the drug Herceptin and chemotherapy.

Furthermore, a new drug, Pertuzumab, had also improved the chances of women with HER2-positive cancer, Prof Crown said.

“What it is telling us is that the number of patients with HER2-positive disease who develop secondaries is much less than it used to be because the treatment of primary HER2-positive disease is so much better.”

The keynote speaker at the Dare-2-Cure symposium is Dr Linda Vahdat, medical oncologist from Weill Medical School, Cornell University Medical Centre, New York.

  • Attendance is free. Members of the public can register by emailing eimear.sills@ccrt.ie