Latest results from clinical trials with trastuzumab deruxtecan (brand name: Enhertu) have shown significant benefits for two groups of patients with advanced breast cancer: those with high levels of HER2 (HER2 positive), and also those with low levels of HER2 (HER2-low, a subset of HER2 negative breast cancers).
This drug has two components: trastuzumab allows it to home in on HER2 receptors on breast cancer cells, and then the deruxtecan component gets to work killing the cells.
Pharmac recently announced $190 million of new funding for medicines. However, only one breast cancer drug made it onto their investment list. Kadcyla (aka trastuzumab emtansine) is currently available in New Zealand only for those with advanced breast cancer.
For many women recently diagnosed with breast cancer, the treatment process can be overwhelming and stressful. In certain situations, doctors may offer treatment with chemotherapy, targeted therapy or hormonal therapy before surgery to the breast and lymph nodes (neoadjuvant).
The fear of breast cancer coming back is one of the most common issues faced by people diagnosed with breast cancer.
Recently a panel of experts from Breast Cancer Trials (Australia and NZ) discussed the latest in research and clinical trials, living with the fear of recurrence and how to manage that fear, as well as what help is available.
Please vote for BCAC so that we can send out more support packs. BCAC is excited to announce that we are one of 11 worthy organisations selected for the NZ Post Delivering for Good programme. This means that we will receive a year’s worth of free courier services with NZ Post, so that we can continue to send a free Step by Step pack out to every woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer. But the journey doesn’t end there.
BCAC is deeply disappointed by a report on cancer medicines released by the Cancer Control Agency, Te Aho o Te Kahu. We’re stunned to see that Te Aho o Te Kahu has identified only one breast cancer drug as needed but not funded in New Zealand. This is completely out of step with Australia and other countries and disregards international guidelines on breast cancer treatment. There are eighteen breast cancer medicines funded in Australia and not in New Zealand.
Dragon boating is a great way to increase fitness and have fun with other breast cancer survivors. BCAC member groups, Busting with Life (based in Auckland) and Waikato Treasure Chests (based in Hamilton), are both on the look-out for new team members. Contact details and latest news from these two teams can be found here:
BCAC sends huge congratulations to former Committee Member Irene Kereama-Royal who has been awarded a scholarship by Hei Āhuru Mōwai (Māori Cancer Leadership Aotearoa) and the Cancer Society. Irene’s PhD research looks into the reasons for mistrust among whānau Māori with participating in genetics research and identifying the potential of genomics health to lift Māori health inequities in cancers.
Knowing our genetic risk of diseases such as BRCA-related breast cancer can be lifesaving, but New Zealand insurance companies can use this knowledge to discriminate against us.
BCAC has joined Against Genetic Discrimination Aotearoa (AGenDA), a group of doctors, researchers, lawyers, Māori, Pasifika, medical charities and patient groups to fight this discrimination.