The New York Times today grabbed my attention with the headline “For Women With Early Breast Cancer, Herceptin Treatment Can Be Much Shorter.”
You may recall my concern when my oncologist decided against the standard year-long Herceptin treatment because he suspected Herceptin had caused my pneumonitis. As he reminded me at the time, I’d already had four Herceptin treatments because it was included in my chemo cocktail with two other drugs. And my diagnosis of HER2 positive was not definitive, having been only “maybe” or “negative” in some tests and having occurred not in the primary tumor but in a satellite nodule.
Anyway, I’m feeling somewhat reassured about not getting the one-year treatment. Half the treatment time is half the exposure to side effects (heart failure, pneumonitis, etc.) Not to mention half the $76,000 cost.
The story is interesting in other ways, too. It notes the study was paid for by the British government, perhaps because pharmaceutical companies are loathe to support studies that could result in a decrease in sales rather than an increase.
Worthy of note: The study included 4,089 women who were followed for a median of 5 years. Numbers like that definitely get my attention.