ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- Breast cancer research awareness month kicked off with a groundbreaking pre-surgery drug announcement.
The FDA approved the drug Perjeta for patients in the early stages of breast cancer.
The FDA and doctors agree that treating tumors in the early stages can prevent the cancer from coming back and Perjeta being especially successful.
RMH oncologist Anish Meerasahib said Perjeta has been used in combination with other drugs, but not used as a pre-surgery treatment.
He said this drug helps prevent the tumor from growing and can also be expected to shrink a tumor.
Because of that, the chances of a mastectomy, the removal of the whole breast, is significantly decreased.
Now only a lump would need to be removed.
"A lumpectomy is a valid option for patients that have an excellent response to these treatments. So you don't have to go through a big surgery, small surgery, and excellent outcome and much increased chance of cure, and much reduced chance of this cancer coming back," said Meerasahib
Meerasahib said that Perjeta is used to target a particular protein that makes specific cancer cells grow and patients with these types of tumors respond well to this treatment.
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