New drugs for melanoma and breast cancer have local doctors enthusiastic

Amarillo, TX - New treatments for breast cancer have local doctors enthusiastic that recurring cancers will be greatly decreased.

The Federal Drug Administration announced they will allow women battling the early stages of breast cancer to try new drugs at an earlier stage.

The goal is to decrease the amount of mastectomies done on women fighting aggressive early stage cancers.

Doctor Srini Reddy says the new treatments would be able to target two things at once.

"By doing chemotherapy up front before surgery you can reduce the number of mastectomies you can have breast preservation, number two you will also reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer in the future so those are the two advantages of trying newer drugs up front," said Dr. Reddy.

Trials for using these medications earlier are being done across Texas, but are not being performed in Amarillo just yet.

Doctor Reddy says once more research is done, they're hoping to start doing more clinical trials here to continue the fight against breast cancer in our area, and that he is very hopeful about the breakthroughs happening when it comes to these treatments.

New breakthroughs in skin cancer treatment also have some optimistic that they could lead to a cure.

Melanoma is considered one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S. and until recently doctors say there was not much they could do to help patients.

Some trials are now showing two experimental skin cancer drugs can be more helpful than chemotherapy and even have fewer side effects.

Doctor Phillip Periman, a local melanoma oncologist says he has seen drastic improvements in patients since starting the experimental medications.

"Its really resulted in the cancer going away and staying away, now we don't know how long because it is a relatively new drug, we just have experimental therapy reports. It's only been on the market a year and a half but some of the experimental patients are still in remission, that is their cancer has gone away completely for four years more," said Dr. Periman.

There is another option for melanoma, immunotherapy, which Periman says could possibly someday lead to a cure of melanoma.

Dr. Periman says we are not doing clinical trials for that, but hopefully sometime in the near future.