FDA approves late-stage breast cancer treatment

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- The FDA has approved a first-of-a-kind breast cancer medication and now patients with a specific type of late-stage cancer may have even more hope.

The drug is called Kadcyla. It is a treatment therapy for women with HER2-positive breast cancer.

Buffy Hanson is the owner a Denison cupcake shop who plans to celebrate many more birthdays with her customers. She is fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer called HER2/neu.

"On January the 24th. It was four days after my 37th birthday with stage three breast cancer," Hanson said.

Hanson just finished her first chemotherapy session.

"Chemo just makes you feel like you're burning from the inside out. Me personally that was my feeling," Hanson said.

She says the fight is not easy.

"I was in bed for five days after that, and I have three kids so moms aren't allowed to be sick. Moms aren't allowed to have cancer. So you still have to try to get up and get them dressed, and do laundry, and cook dinner and all of those things," Hanson said.

Some doctors say the new drug Kadcyla could help patients like Hanson. They say the medicine targets tumor cells while sparing the healthy ones and preventing hair loss, nausea and vomiting

"That means I'm not in bed for a week after chemo," Hanson said.

Luann Daniel, founder of a breast cancer support group called Women Rock, says the new drug sounds like a step in the right direction.

"It sounds very promising," Daniel said.

However, she sees its price as a downfall.

"Ultimately I would like to see the cost come down so it's not prohibitive to so many women," Daniel said.

The maker of the newly approved drug says it will cost $9,800 dollars per month, compared to $4,500 per month for other treatments.

Hanson says she will ask her doctor if the new medication will work for her, but she says no matter the answer she will continue to fight every day.

"Understand that somebody you know is going to be affected and you have to help raise money because you don't want your grandkids to have it, you don't want your best friend to have it, you don't want your wife to have it," Hanson said.

The FDA says they approved the drug based on studies showing it delayed the progression of breast cancer by several months.The new medication should be available to patients within two weeks.

You can join Hanson and the News 12 team for the women rock 5K on April 6th in Bonham to raise money to help Texoma women in their battles against breast cancer.

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