Some of you may remember last year the FDA began consideration to not recommend Avastin as a treatment for late stage breast cancer. There was speculation at the time that this was the first “death panel” decision from ACA’s advisory panel. Originally it was believed to prolong life for anywhere from 6 months to several years but then some conflicting results started coming in and the numbers were revised downward for 30% to 60% of patients. I’ve heard the costs per month given as anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000, which is pretty confusing in itself. Doctors appear to be split in their opinions of its effectiveness and whether some of the side effects are worth it.
The reason I bring this up is because our own Plumline friend 12BarBlues has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer with bone mets and is beginning a clinical trial as soon as tomorrow for Avastin. She gave me permission to mention her situation as she thought it might encourage some of us to be more vigilant. I won’t share her private thoughts and concerns but I thought some of you may want to send a prayer or wish her way and she seemed interested in sharing what she finds out regarding Avastin, so I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything new. As a cancer survivor, it’s my understanding 12Bar was only able to acquire major medical coverage, and so her situation is less than ideal financially regarding her treatment, but she’s a survivor and hopefully she’ll prove to be one of the success stories of the trial.
This is one of the most recent articles I could find on Avastin, the controversy, and what doctors are saying.
FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg has yet to finalize the decision, but some insurers have already decided to stop paying for the $8,000-a-month drug. Others, including the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced they will continue to cover the drug regardless of the FDA’s decision.
Avastin’s use for lung, kidney and brain cancers hasn’t been challenged.
Dawood, of Dubai Hospital in United Arab Emirates, and her colleagues sent the survey to about 3,000 cancer doctors. Only 564 responded, however, limiting how representative the new findings are.
More than four out of 10 doctors said they would continue to use the drug under certain circumstances even if the FDA rejected it, and eight percent said, “of course I will use it.”
A fifth of the respondents said they would not use the drug at all, and nine percent said they would be reluctant to use it.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: avastin, breast cancer | 49 Comments »