In a significant push for Goa's fight against breast cancer, the Pertuzumab-Trastuzumab combination injection has been included in the 'free treatment' for Goan patients and the first injection was administered to a patient at the Goa Medical College and Hospital at Bambolim on Sunday.
Incidentally, World Cancer Day is observed on February 4 across the globe.
The injection, which costs Rs 4.20 lakh is a monoclonal antibody for HER2+ breast cancer patients.
It is administered subcutaneously and enhances the efficacy of treatment in newly diagnosed patients in the pre-surgery stage and is convenient as it is quickly administered compared to the previously intravenously administered drugs.
Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, meanwhile said, that the new dedicated cancer hospital proposed at the GMC complex will be built in collaboration with Tata Memorial Hospital and will be ready in 16 months.
He said, the hospital's design has been modified following recommendations made by the Tata Memorial Hospital.
Rane claimed that the Pertuzumab-Trastuzumab injection is a 'wonder drug' and its availability for free in Goa is a unique initiative in the country.
He said, it can treat breast cancer in its early stages and marks a big change in how we fight breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 15 to 20 per-cent of breast tumors have higher levels of the protein known as HER2 and these cancers are called HER2-positive breast cancers.
However, the 'triple-negative' breast tumors don’t have too much HER2 and are HER2 negative. Drugs that target HER2 are not helpful in treating these cancers, ACS states, adding however that the triple-positive breast tumors are HER2-positive and are treated with drugs targeting it.
In Goa, breast cancer is the most common of cancers across the entire populace of the State with as many as 300 new cases being detected every year on an average.
Meanwhile, taking to micro-blogging site 'X', Rane tweeted: "I'm happy to announce that on World Cancer Day, @DHS_Goa has unveiled the Pertuzumab-Trastuzumab combination, a state-of-the-art monoclonal antibody for HER2+ breast cancer patients at GMC. This wonder drug is now available free of cost for patients, marking a unique initiative in India and creating an opportunity for curing the disease and curbing patients at an earlier stage, ultimately saving lives."
In the longish post, Rane said he is committed to promote initiatives which foster a healthy life and well being across Goa and tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandviya.