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FDA considers fate of breast cancer drug

Tuesday - 6/28/2011, 11:43am  ET

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Tracy Galvin, a stage four breast cancer survivor, stands with her family outside the FDA. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON -- Breast cancer survivors and their families rallied alongside traffic Tuesday morning outside the Federal Drug Administration's White Oak campus.

They are testifying before a federal panel today that's helping to decide whether Avastin, a drug used to treat breast cancer, will lose federal approval.

Many people using the medication develop blood clots and hypertension. The FDA has already ruled that Avastin does not extend lives or improve quality of life for breast cancer patients.

Stage four survivor Tracy Galvin has had a positive experience with the drug and is angry the government could prevent her from taking it.

"We know the risks and I think the decision should be left to me and my oncologist," she says. "I'm on Avastin now and thriving."

After the hearings, the FDA will decide whether Avastin still can be approved to treat breast cancer, and that will help determine whether insurance companies will still pay for it.

WTOP's Kristi King contributed to this report. Follow Kristi King and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)