Ovarian Cancer is a serious illness and unfortunately a death sentence for too many woman who are diagnosed with it. According to the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, the survival rate is based on how early the diagnosis was made, but the overall 10 year survival rate is 39%. Those whose cancer was detected in the earlier stages have a greater chance of recovery, but it’s never guaranteed even if caught early.
On December 19, 2016, a new drug, Rubraca, was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of patients in the advanced stages of ovarian cancer who have been treated with two or more chemotherapies and whose cancer has mutated. These women who have been fighting an uphill battle with chemotherapy and have had little results, now have an additional treatment option to keep them going. Patients with the mutated gene deleterious BRCA should look into this treatment option with their doctor. Certain BRCA genes including germline (inherited) and somatic (acquired) can be treated with Rubraca.
Rubraca does come with risks and side effects, but it also brings some hope to those suffering from advanced stages of ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, since ovarian cancer is so difficult to detect, the majority of women that are diagnosed are already in the advanced stages.
What makes this drug so important is the fact that ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of death in women. According to the American Cancer Society, 2017’s estimates that 22,440 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year and 14,080 women will die from it. Great strides have been made in ovarian cancer over the years, and I am hopeful that more medicines will be created to treat this terrible illness. The FDA’s approval of Rubraca gives many women who are going through chemotherapy and not responding to that treatment another treatment option.
Late stage cancer treatments give women with late stage cancer hope, but it is my hope that researchers will find ways for early detection so fewer women have to deal with the diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer.