Best Life: Preventing ovarian cancer recurrence risk

Best Life: Preventing ovarian cancer recurrence

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More than 20,000 women in the U.S. will hear the words “you have ovarian cancer” this year. For women who beat the cancer the first time, more than 70% will have a recurrence. No clinical trials have shown a new medication is revealing promising results for delaying recurrence.

Fifty-five-year-old Gilda Michel loves being active. But after losing a lot of weight, she notices something didn’t seem quite right.

“My stomach was not getting any smaller and was also hurting a lot,” said Michel.

She got a CT scan and...

“They said I had tumors on my ovaries,” she said.

It was stage three ovarian cancer. She had surgery, 21 sessions of chemotherapy and 25 rounds of tradition to get rid of the cancer.

“A few years ago, was that you gave a patient intravenous chemotherapy, usually typically six cycles, and then you sit and wait,” said Michel.

But now patients can be proactive against recurrence by getting maintenance therapy with PARP inhibitors right after finishing their first round of chemo.

“PARP inhibitors are a new class of medications in which they’re antibody-mediated to block a specific function in the repair mechanism of cells,” said Dr. Emery Salom.

PARP inhibitors stop cancer cells from being repaired which ultimately causes the cancer cells to die. Studies have shown that patients on PARP inhibitors have had recurrence delayed.

“The response rate in a subset of women is significant to delay the time to recurrence for more than a year,” said Salom.

For Gilda, whose cancer is now gone and has been on the PARP inhibitors for six months, that’s great news.

“It makes me happy that there’s something there that can help you,” she said.

And gives her more time to do what she loves.

The patients that did the best on PARP inhibitors were the ones who had the BRCA one or two mutations. PARP inhibitors should not be given to patients who have had side effects from chemotherapy in which their blood counts are low or those who have had previous PARP inhibitors for another disease.

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