Published On: Wed, Oct 23rd, 2019

Apollo Hospital oncologists help 65-year-old beat the fear of living with breast cancer

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The breast cancer patient has been offered the best quality life and is living like any other normal person 

Bengaluru: Cancer is perhaps the most dreaded term and we generally believe that once the crab manifests in our body, living a quality life becomes a farfetched dream. Interestingly, 65-year-old Sarada (name changed) from Bengaluru, undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospital, Bannerghatta for breast cancer has proved otherwise. She has shown that even if cancer cannot be cured, certain forms of cancer can be kept well-controlled, ensuring good quality life to the patient. All thanks to the expertise and precision of Dr Anil Kamath, senior consultant – surgical oncologist and Dr CN Patil, medical oncologist at Apollo Hospital that has made it possible. For the last two years, Sarada is on a tablet called Palbociclib that has enabled her to beat the fear of living with cancer. She has been surviving last 4 years despite developing metastases with fairly simple treatment. She is living her day-to-day life like any other normal person, doing daily activities of her own and is even attending family functions.

Explaining the miracle story, Dr Anil Kamath says: “Mrs Sarada was presented to us in 2011 with intermediate stage breast cancer. She underwent the three stages of treatment for the same – surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. In 2015 a pet scan was done and metastatic lung nodules were detected. As the patient was not very symptomatic, she was started on an injection which was given once a month and this continued for almost two years. Following that when a subsequent pet scan showed a mild progression of the disease, we prescribed Palbociclib tablets for her.”

“The tablet worked wonders for her and she is a success story validating the fact that certain breast cancers, in this case, hormone-sensitive breast cancers even when metastatic and cannot be completely got rid of, can be controlled well and the patient can enjoy quality life while living with the condition. With just tablets, this kind of breast cancer can be controlled for long periods of time akin to diabetes. However, it must be noted that not all but only certain types of breast cancers are suitable for this kind of treatment,” he adds.

What is Palbociclib and how does it work?

Used to treat a certain type of breast cancer, Palbociclib is a chemotherapy drug that works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. This capsule has to be taken only as per the doctor’s advice and there are certain dos and don’ts while a patient is on its dose. The dosage is based on one’s medical condition, laboratory tests, response to treatment and other medications that the patient may be taking. It is essential for the patient to inform the doctor about the products he or she uses including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products. It is suggested to avoid eating grapefruit or drinking its juice while using the medication unless the doctor permits one to do so. A patient using this drug must not increase the dose by himself or herself for longer than prescribed. The medication must be taken regularly to reap maximum benefits.

Lifestyle plays a vital role in controlling the disease

According to Dr Kamath, maintenance of a healthy lifestyle alongside taking the medicine appropriately plays an important role in keeping cancer in control and leading a quality life while fighting the condition. “Regular exercise, avoiding obesity, voiding smoking and drinking all help in preventing disease progression,” says Dr Kamath. Here are a few lifestyle modification suggestions from the desk of Apollo Hospital’s doctor that may not only help in controlling the disease but may also help in reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Do not smoke and restrict the consumption of alcohol: There is a direct link between both smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol and aggravation of breast cancer progression or increased risk of developing it. It is essentially advisable to give up smoking and limit yourself to less than one drink a day.

Control body weight and obesity: Being overweight and obese aggravates breast cancer and also enhances the risk of developing it. This is mostly true when obesity occurs later in life, specifically post-menopause. Be physically active: Daily exercise and physical activities help in keeping the body weight under control and therby help in preventing the progression of breast cancer. 150 minutes long moderate aerobic activities in the week or 75 minutes of weekly aggressive aerobic activities may be of great help.

Have a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet always helps in restricting disease progression and event curb the risk of developing the condition. A Mediterranean diet including plant-based foods like fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes and nuts, olive oil and fish not only have a reduced chance of developing breast cancer and control the disease effectively.

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