NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many of the over 150,000 American women with advanced-stage breast cancer are living longer thanks in part to new treatments being tested to try and beat the disease.
While there’s still no cure if it metastasizes, the new treatments are increasing survival significantly and with much better quality of life.
29-year-old Morgan Mitchell and her fiance hit the gym five days a week. She has four marathons under her belt, works at least 60 hours a week, and travels for her job. She does all of it while battling stage-four breast cancer.
Morgan discovered a lump in her breast on the same day Bob proposed to her last November. Doctors told her it was breast cancer, and it had already spread to her liver. That’s when oncologist Dr. Paula Klein at Mount Sinai Hospital suggested she enroll in a new clinical trial for metastatic breast cancer patients.
The experimental treatment combines four different targeted drugs to try to stop cancer cells from growing and spreading.
“This is the new way to treat cancer,” Dr. Klein said. “Going after the unique biology of every cancer is the answer.”
Mount Sinai is the first and only hospital offering this particular trial which allows patients to avoid chemotherapy and radiation. It’s allowed Morgan to main a reasonable quality of life.
“I’m tired, but happy that I can wake up and still have my hair and still go to work,” she said.
After eight months of treatment, some tumors are shrinking. For now the couple says they’re focusing on their future and planning their wedding.
“Needless to say, those wedding toasts there’s not going to be a dry eye in the house,” Morgan said. “Bob and I are very fortunate to be going through this together.”
Morgan has what’s called triple-positive breast cancer, which means her cancer has several weak spots which can be attacked with drugs aimed at those targets. The drugs are specifically designed for those targets, as opposed to the broader and more toxic approach of chemotherapy.