POSTED: Saturday, February 11, 2012 - 3:54pm
UPDATED: Saturday, February 11, 2012 - 4:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A medical breakthrough could help thousands of cancer sufferers, but it's not cheap.
It's called Erivedge, and for the first time patients suffering from cancerous tumors may now have a non-invasive option.
Out of the hundreds of patients he treats, Dr. Darrell Gonzales says majority are dealing with Basal Cell Carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer caused by excessive sun exposure.
"It usually not a life threatening disease, it usually a localized disease, but if you leave it, it can become problematic in the future," he says.
And it can be difficult to treat, especially in delicate areas, like the nose and ears.
That's why Gonzales and other health experts are calling Erivedge a medical breakthrough.
The pill is the latest FDA approved treatment for Basal Cell Carcinoma.
"So tumors that are difficult to treat other than radiation or cutting them out. Now we have this new medication that can potentially help shrink the tumor or in some circumstances even eradicate their skin cancer entirely," Dr. Gonzales explains.
While Gonzales believes Erivedge will prevent many visits, at $7,500 a month, the treatment may not be for everyone.
"It's going to be a costly medication and we'll have to see if it's approved by most insurance providers," he says.
Still, he believes its benefits towards fighting cancer will ultimately outweigh the costs.
The pill should be available in the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, Dr. Gonzales says the drug's manufacturer and insurance providers are in negotiations to try to make it more affordable.