Newer drugs are substantially improving the chances of survival for some people with hard-to-treat forms of lung, breast and prostate cancer, doctors reported at the world's largest cancer conference.
Among those who have benefited is Roszell Mack Jr., who at age 87 is still able to work at a Lexington, Kentucky, horse farm, nine years after being diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to his bones and lymph nodes.
"I go in every day, I'm the first one there," said Mack, who helped test Merck's Keytruda, a therapy that helps the immune system identify and fight cancer. "I'm feeling well and I have a good quality of life."
The downside: Many of these drugs cost $100,000 or more a year, although what patients pay out of pocket varies depending on insurance, income and other criteria.
The results were featured Saturday and Sunday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago and some were published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Companies that make the drugs sponsored the studies, and some study leaders have financial ties.