Dee Why Woman Reaping Benefits of New Cancer Drugs

New Cancer Drugs
Photo credit: Creative Commons

A Dee Why local with stage four ovarian cancer has been reaping the benefits of new cancer drugs that could improve her survival rate.

Michelle Cole, the 52-year-old bus driver, has been seeing oncologist Dr Antonia Pearson at the Northern Beaches Hospital, who put her on Bevacizumab and PARP inhibitor on the very first day the Australian government made these treatments available via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). 

Bevacizumab is a “tumour-starving drug” known by the brand name Avastin. The patient is also taking Caelyx, a life-prolonging chemotherapy medication. 

Photo Credit: Northern Beaches Hospital/Google Maps

Dr Pearson said that these new cancer drugs, which have been on the market since late 2020, are helping Ms Cole live a more normal life despite her advanced condition. Since being on the treatment, the Dee Why local, who is married to Kym Weekes, could still continue driving her bus routes for at least two hours or do the things she loves, like watching the games at the Beacon Hill Football Club where she used to play.

Ms Cole learned of her cancer in 2015 received treatment at the Manly Hospital. However, after a period of remission, her cancer came back in 2019 and it has spread to other parts of her body.

According to Dr Pearson, ovarian cancer is one of the trickiest diseases to diagnose since the symptoms are common to most women, such as bloating, abdominal discomforts, and always feeling tired. However, these new therapies are extending the life of the patients, especially if they regularly work with their oncologist. 

Both doctor and patient recommend that women should get tested for tumour markers earlier for better chances of prolonging their life.