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Immunotherapy Drug Has Significant Benefits for Advanced Head and Neck Cancer Patients

Posted on October 11, 2016 by Disability Help Group

Advanced stage head and neck cancer patients have few options for treatment as their cancer progresses. However, a recent international phase III trial of an immunotherapy drug may help extend life for these patients.

Nivolumab is an immunotherapy drug that helps patients with head and neck cancer extend their life during the end stages of cancer.

Three hundred sixty one patients with relapsed or spreading head or neck cancers participated in the trial. Of those, 240 patients took nivolumab, and the other 121 underwent one of three different courses of chemotherapy. The researchers tracked the patients’ survival over 12 months.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that 36 percent of nivolumab patients survived one year into treatment, compared to only 17 percent of the chemotherapy patients. Patients prescribed nivolumab had a median survival rate of 7.5 months while the patients who only underwent chemotherapy had a median survival rate of 5.1 months.

The researchers also found two other interesting characteristics of nivolumab that help promote its effectiveness. The drug has fewer side effects than other treatment options, and it showed an even greater benefit to patients whose tumors tested positive for the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Late Stage Cancers Might Qualify You for Social Security Disability Benefits

The prognosis of your cancer progression is a significant part of your ability to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Late-stage cancers that impair your ability to work and earn an income should allow you to collect these benefits.

If you have questions about your eligibility or need help with an application or appeal, call the Disability Help Group at 800-800-2009 to speak with a disability advocate.