Healthy Living

New cervical cancer treatment combines Avastin, chemo

Thursday, June 13, 2013

While there's no cure for cervical cancer, researchers are excited about a new therapy that could improve and even extend the lives of women who have recurring cases. It involves a combination approach and gives patients a new option.

For Lisa McDevitt, there's nothing better than hitting the road in her limited edition Warriors in Pink Mustang.

"I actually had a woman follow me home, and she wanted to know how much, and I was like, 'It's not for sale,'" said McDevitt.

It's McDevitt's reward for successfully battling and beating cervical cancer twice. Her doctor at the time said she wouldn't survive round two.

"She said, 'You will be dead within six years.' I really was just ready to die," said McDevitt.

That's when Dr. Larry Kilgore, a professor of gynecologic oncology, asked her to join a clinical trial. It's for patients with advanced or recurrent cervical cancer. Researchers are testing a new therapy that combines the biologic drug Avastin with chemo.

"The chemotherapy kills the cancer cells and the biologic agent stops blood vessel growth, so tumors can't grow. It's a real, real advance," said Kilgore.

Results from the phase III trial showed patients who received Avastin and chemo lived an average of 17 months compared to about 13 months for those treated with chemo alone. As for McDevitt, it's been two years since her last chemo.

"She is disease-free. We will have to follow her to see, but so far, so good," said Kilgore.

While Avastin is FDA-approved for the treatment of some cancers, including colorectal and lung cancer, it's not currently approved for cervical cancer. You can still get the treatment, but your insurance company may not cover it, and this treatment can cost thousands of dollars per month.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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health, cancer, healthy living, denise dador
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