New Treatment for Advanced Breast Cancer: Ribociclib

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Doctors are calling it a first line of defense for advanced breast cancer. (KFSN)

Two-hundred, fifty-three thousand women will be diagnosed this year with invasive breast cancer, and for women battling advanced forms of the disease, there's now a new treatment. Doctors are calling it a first line of defense for advanced breast cancer.

With a hot pink ride, decked out with lighted wheels, nothing is going to get in the way of mother Sally McGiffin and her daughter Shannon McGiffin. Not even cancer.

"When we first got diagnosis we sat and cried maybe half an hour to an hour, and then she looked at me and said this disease is not going to beat me," Sally told Ivanhoe.

That attitude and a newly-approved FDA drug called Ribociclib, has kept Shannon McGiffin's stage four metastic breast cancer under control.

"It's a miracle. It really is a miracle for me to be able to have survived this long." Shannon said.

Oncologist Heather Han, MD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida says when combined with hormonal therapy, Ribociclib stops signals that cancer cells use to grow and divide.

"I'm obviously very excited that this drug finally actually quickly got approved, and I'm able to be there to help patients to do better," Dr. Han explained.

Doctor Han says the Ribociclib combination can be used as the first line of defense. The risk of progression or death has been reduced by 44 percent.

Dr. Han continued, "So it's been in clinical trial for several years, but FDA was able to approve it quickly when it showed dramatic improvement of the patients."

The side effects for her have been high blood sugar levels and fatigue.

"I do spend a lot of my time sleeping," Shannon admitted.

For Shannon, it's not a cure, but it has given her precious time with those who matter most.

Candidates for this drug usually can be patients with newly diagnosed advanced breast cancer, hormone receptor positive and HER2 negative. Patients' EKGs must be monitored in the first few weeks of taking the drug to make sure it doesn't cause any cardiac issues.

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