I was excited to learn that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the chemotherapy drug Abraxane® to treat metastatic pancreatic cancer in combination with gemcitabine, another chemotherapy drug. This is the first new treatment to be approved for pancreatic adenocarcinoma, the most common type of pancreatic cancer, in nearly eight years. With a five year survival rate of just six percent, this is an important step for a disease that desperately needs treatment advances to improve patient outcomes.
This development is important to me. I lost my mother in June 2010 to this awful disease I want to do everything I can do to help the fight.
I encourage anyone fighting pancreatic cancer to reach out to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (www.pancan.org). Their Patient and Liaison Services (PALS) program is dedicated to ensuring that patients and their families have the most current information on the disease, as well as treatment options, clinical trials, diet and nutrition, pain and symptom management, and support resources such as a Survivor and Caregiver network.
I am hopeful that the medical community can build on this recent advancement and continue to make progress against the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
(Kaitlin Shala is a West Orange resident).
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