Actress Olivia Newton-John, best known for her role in Grease (1978), died Monday morning (8), at the age of 73. The news was reported on the artist’s social networking sites, in a note signed by her husband, John Easterling.
The cause was not revealed, but according to a source from TMZ, “After a 30-year journey with cancer, she lost her battle with metastatic breast cancer.”
Oliva was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, but the disease went into remission. However, the cancer has returned two more times: in 2013 and 2017.
In metastatic cancers, the disease spreads to other organs in the body, accumulating mutations that cells cannot control, remove, or kill.
Leandro Machado Colli, Professor at FMRP-USP (University of São Paulo at Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine), explains.
The specialist adds that this invasion arrives in the vessels and makes the cells spread to other places, that is, the disease is no longer only localized. “When it comes to a tumor with metastasis, it means we have a more aggressive profile than before, a more resistant cell, and a greater need for systemic treatments, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy,” he says. collie.
Based on imaging examinations and pathological examinations, cancers have several classifications, ranging from level I to level IV – a more advanced stage, when the disease has already spread to other organs, that is, there is a malignancy.
“The higher the stage, the more difficult the treatment in general. In stage IV, we have a lower survival perspective, but there are patients who have an excellent response. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find metastatic patients who live for decades, depending on the tumor The original,” says Cooley.
Hela Boques Muti, an oncologist at the Sao Camilo Hospitals Network in São Paulo and the Tumor Center (Medical Oncology Center), adds that some metastatic tumors are curable, such as testicular cancer. Others, such as bowel cancer and melanomas, depending on the condition, may be curable with newer treatments.
“When the disease is metastatic, we need to identify the primary cancer to see if it has a high chance of being cured or not. But, in general, metastatic disease, we’re talking about controlling the disease,” Motti continues.
What are the treatments for patients with metastases?
There are currently several treatments available to reduce the effects of metastases in the body. Among the main treatments, chemotherapy is the most well-known treatment. In this procedure, drugs are used (usually in a patient’s vein), which cause the rapidly growing cancer cells to die.
Hormone therapy targets tumors that develop due to the action of hormones, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. In these cases, treatment with medications, usually taken by mouth, blocks the action of these hormones in the organs, preventing the cancer from growing and spreading.
In targeted therapies, the drugs act directly on a specific mutation present in the tumor, preventing its growth. It is a way of preventing the whole body, or a large part of it, from being affected by medication.
There is also immunotherapy. In this treatment, the drug stimulates the body’s defense system so that it recognizes and destroys cancer cells. In some cases, especially if the metastases are unique, ie located in only one area, local treatments, such as surgery or radiotherapy, may also be recommended.
It is important to know that choosing the best treatment depends on each case, which includes the type of tumor, the progression of the disease, and the health of the patient, among other factors. The goal of treating metastatic cancer is to prevent the disease from progressing and, if possible, to slow it down.
* With information from reports published on 4/17/21 and 5/22/10
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