New Drug Approved by FDA for Medullary Thyroid Cancer Treatment

An FDA News Release announced on April 6 that the first medication to treat a rare form of thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, has been approved. Vandetanib will be given to adult patients with late-stage (metastatic) medullary thyroid cancer who are designated as being ineligible for surgery and who are at a point where the disease is growing or causing symptoms. The thyroid gland, which is located in the neck, is affected by thyroid cancer. Medullary thyroid cancer affects certain kinds of cells within the thyroid gland and can manifest suddenly, or, as a part of a genetic condition.

Vandetanib works by targeting medullary thyroid cancer’s capacity of growing and expanding. The safety and effectiveness of the new medication was determined in a single, randomized international study of 331 patients. Similar to most pharmaceutical products, Vandetanib does have side effects, the most serious being that it can cause an irregular heartbeat which could lead to death. For this reason, only healthcare professionals and pharmacies certified through the vandetanib REMS program, a limited distribution program, will be permitted to prescribe and distribute the medication.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2010, approximately 44,600 new thyroid cancer cases were diagnosed in the United States and about 1,690 individuals died from the disease.

Medical professionals should be aware that when a patient complains of enlargement of the thyroid gland, swelling of the neck, a lump on the thyroid, coughing, trouble swallowing, or changes in their voice, or hoarseness, these are potential warning signs of thyroid cancer that may require further evaluation. If a patient’s thyroid cancer was diagnosed at a late stage, and their symptoms and warnings signs ignored, they may have a delay in the diagnosis of the cancer, and, their long-term prognosis and options for treatment can be detrimentally affected.

Cancer misdiagnosis in New Jersey and throughout the United States is a serious issue. Early detection of cancer plays an essential role in an individual’s ability to successfully combat the disease. At Blume Forte, our New Jersey failure to diagnose cancer lawyers have the legal experience and medical resources needed to develop a strong and effective case on behalf of patients who suffer because of the failure to timely diagnose cancer in its earliest stages. For a no-cost consultation, call 973-845-4421.

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