median survival time thirty six months
her2+ breast cancer in the 90's had a poor prognosis, especially those with stage iv a the onset
Median survival time: Thirty six months. That’s what the book said.
The book was written / compiled / put together by star surgical oncologist Dr. David McCready.
He was Laura’s oncologist. Our friend, a nurse in the university health network said that any nurse with breast cancer would make sure that Dr. McCready was their surgeon.
His book was published only a few years before Laura’s diagnosis.
Happily for us, by that time, it was out of date.
Trastuzumab, or Herceptin as it’s know as, is a monoclonal antibody that binds to specific receptors on cancer cells. It was discovered in the 1990’s. Clinical trials of up to 900 people were conducted in 1996. By 1998 it received breakthrough FDA approval in the United States. By 2005 five trials of over ten thousand breast cancer patients were conducted.
Six years later, Laura was ill
By that time? It had become the gold standard for Her2+ breast cancer treatment - even in metastatic - stage 4 patients.
Without it? The median survival time was thirty six months.
In a few short years, Dr McCready’s book had become redundant.
I write this now on the anniversary of discovering that Laura had ‘a complete response’ to chemo therapy.
This is due, in a large way to this drug that was developed over the relatively short time frame of 15 years.
In the late nineties, Her2+ was like a death sentence.
It’s good news.
Still more evidence that life is getting better.