Best Life: 2 new drugs to battle breast cancer

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:45 AM CDT
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BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — HER2-positive breast cancer is an aggressive form of cancer, accounting for about 20% of all breast cancer cases. Now, doctors say two separate newly FDA-approved treatments are available to patients with HER2-positive cancer that has spread.

For Mini Jack Russell, Jason, and his mom, Joyce Gruss, happiness is a rowdy game of canine cannonball. Joyce’s energy comes and goes. She’s battling an aggressive form of breast cancer. It’s back for the second time and has spread to her liver.

“What was happening was my liver was so swelled. It was like, you could feel it through the rib cage,” said Gruss.

Doctors diagnosed Joyce with metastatic HER2-positive cancer, meaning she had a high level of growth protein on her breast cancer cells.

“But then there have been a number of drugs that have come along that target this HER2 protein,” David Riseberg, MD, a medical oncologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, explained.

One drug, Tukysa, was approved in April 2020. Another drug, Enhertu, had been approved just three months earlier. Right now, Enhertu is keeping Gruss’ cancer from progressing.

“The more tools in our toolbox, the more things we have to offer our patients,” said Riseberg.

When Gruss started treatment for the recurrence in 2018, Dr. Riseberg wasn’t sure she had much time.

“He was brutally honest. He said, ‘You probably have two or three years to live.’ He told me the other day, ‘I’m so glad I was wrong.’ So, I said, ‘I am too’. You know, you literally do live one day at a time,” she said.

More time with the people and the pup she loves.

Gruss was the first person in her family to have breast cancer, but her 80-year-old mother was recently diagnosed with the same form of the disease. She says she is glad she is here to support her mom through treatment.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.

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