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Rays of hope for cancer sufferers

PUBLISHED: 12:56 23 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 March 2010

BREAST cancer victims across East Anglia are joining in a trial of a new chemotherapy treatment which it is hoped will add years to patients' lives.

Ipswich Hospital and Addenbrooke's Hospital are both taking part in the nationwide study involving more than 3,000 women.

BREAST cancer victims across East Anglia are joining in a trial of a new chemotherapy treatment which it is hoped will add years to patients' lives.

Ipswich Hospital and Addenbrooke's Hospital are both taking part in the nationwide study involving more than 3,000 women.

It is hoped the new chemotherapy regime will improve survival rates.

Called the TACT trial it was launched by the Cancer Research Campaign and involves nearly 100 hospitals.

Doctors are Taxotere, a drug which already extends the lives of women with advanced breast cancer, with other chemotherapy agents to see if it can improve the survival of women whose condition is less advanced.

At Ipswich Hospital, suitable patients have been given the six-month course of treatment since March, although indications as to how successful the chemotherapy has been is not expected for several years.

Dr John Le Vay, clinical director of oncology at Ipswich Hospital, said: "It means we can offer people the very latest treatment and the best treatment they can get anywhere. This particular drug is very expensive but if it proves to be better the evidence will be there that it should be available freely.

"When people have localised breast cancer they have local treatment, a mixture of surgery and radiation treatment, and the majority will be cured but sometimes it can come back in the body.

"If we give them chemotherapy we reduce the number of people who it will come back in and that means there is less people dying from breast cancer than there were 10 years ago."

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