Early detection of breast cancer, before it has spread to distant parts of the body, is key.
The mission of the Oncology Center of Excellence at Connexion Healthcare is to improve patient outcomes by communicating relevant, evidenced-based scientific information. It follows that Connexion is helping to spread the message about early detection of breast cancer.
Early stage (stage 0 or 1) breast cancer is now largely curable, with 5-year survival rates approaching 100%. Survival rates in patients with stage 2 and 3 disease are also encouraging — at 93% and 72%, respectively. Advanced breast cancer generally refers to stage 4 or metastatic disease, when cancer cells have spread from their site of origin in the breast to distant body sites such as the bones, liver, brain, and lungs. Although, historically, overall survival in patients with breast cancer of all stages has been improving markedly for more than 2 decades, survival in patients with advanced breast cancer has remained at around 25%. Nevertheless, there is reason to hope for improvement on the horizon.
Today’s treatment of breast cancer is multimodal and may include surgery, radiation therapy, a broad range of chemotherapies, and several different hormonal therapies. Choice of therapy is largely guided by various factors, including
- Stage of the disease
- Grade of the tumor
- Histologic type of the tumor
- Whether the cancer cells express various hormone receptors
- Whether the patient is pre- or postmenopausal (about 1% of breast cancers occur in men, who are generally treated similarly to postmenopausal women)
- The patient’s overall health status
- The patient’s preference
Of note, 3 newer targeted drugs designed to block a specific growth pathway in breast cancer cells, the cell cycle kinase (CDK 4/6) inhibitors, have recently been approved for the treatment of patients with advanced breast cancer in combination with hormonal therapy. Although it is too soon to know the effect on overall survival, these drugs significantly slow the rate of progression of metastatic breast cancer cells.
It is very encouraging to note that a large number of novel treatment approaches are being actively investigated today: in the United States and other countries, more than 500 clinical trials are either ongoing or will soon begin to enroll patients with metastatic breast cancer. Treatment approaches include new drugs, cutting-edge technologies such as immunotherapies and cancer vaccines, and novel combinations or novel dosing schedules of currently available or new drugs, among others. Guidelines from national cancer experts recommend that patients with cancer, including breast cancer of all stages, participate in clinical trials to receive optimal care.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been observed worldwide each October since 1985. For additional information about breast cancer, go to:
- American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org
- Breastcancer.org: http://www.breastcancer.org
- National Cancer Institute: https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast
About the Connexion Healthcare Oncology Center of Excellence
Connexion Healthcare is a full-service global provider of strategic medical and scientific communications with decades of experience providing exceptional service to the pharmaceutical industry. We provide services through 2 Centers of Excellence—Oncology and Rare Disease—and possess core expertise in these therapeutic areas and their marketplaces.
Connexion Healthcare’s Oncology Center of Excellence offers executive talent with decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Our medical directors have conducted oncology research at leading institutions and major pharmaceutical companies. Our account leads have years of project execution expertise, and our medical editors are versed in the language of oncology. Our design leads are tops in their fields and ensure that your objectives are met effectively and even surpassed in an industry-eloquent and compliant manner. Our team works with you to conceive a strategy and execute communications through your product’s lifespan – from drug discovery through market launch and beyond. With particular expertise in phase 2 through postlaunch, we will engage with you wherever you are in development and whenever you need us.
For further information regarding the Oncology Center of Excellence at Connexion Healthcare and how we can develop oncology communications to differentiate therapies by their unique attributes, contact:
R. Steven Lang