Treatment time reduced for breast cancer

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The treatment can be given in about five minutes

THE Medical Oncology Service at the hospitals in the Marina Baixa and Sant Joan are the first in the province of Valencia to subcutaneously administer Trastuzumab to patients diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer, in both initial and advanced stages.

Previously, the treatment had been administered intravenously, which requires the patient to be connected to a drip between 30 and 90 minutes; however, the new method only takes about five minutes. Trastuzumab is a humanised monoclonal antibody that blocks the receptor of tumour cells thereby preventing its growth.

It is effective in around 20 to 30 per cent of primary breast cancer tumours. When Trastuzumab binds to HER2 it inhibits the proliferation of the cells. Doctor Nieves Diaz, Head of Oncology at the two centres, said: “The drug is administered subcutaneously, which requires less time than intravenous therapy. It is given by injection into the thigh and takes just five minutes, which provides greater comfort and safety for the patient, and also does not have such strong side-effects that can make them feel ill.

This breakthrough in treatment administration helps improve the quality of life of patients by reducing their length of stay in hospital, while streamlining the use of the day hospital and health centre resources,” Doctor Diaz remarked.

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