Eliminating Chemotherapy

A study released on Sunday, June 3rd is great news for patients diagnosed with breast cancer. According to the research, many of these women may not actually require chemotherapy where normally it would have been prescribed.

The study would effectively eliminate the treatment for women based on gene testing, though researchers were quick to caution that the treatment would still be necessary for women aged 50 or younger. The findings were published by The New England Journal of Medicine and were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.

Chemotherapy can be a risky treatment option. Immediate side effects often include hair loss and nausea, and long-term effects may include heart and nerve damage, plus increased risk of leukemia later in life. The study would change the course of treatment, alleviating anxiety and patient fears where appropriate.

The majority of patients who would no longer be directed immediately towards chemotherapy would have to meet certain conditions first. Their tumors would be early-stage (one to five centimeters), have not yet spread to the lymph nodes, test negative for HER2, and have a lower score (between 11 and 25) on test that measures genes associated with cancer recurrence.

This news could have a huge impact for 70% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, per Dr. Sparano, the lead research of this study. To learn more about this study and potential impact on patient care, click HERE.

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