Chemotherapy can be avoided with common breast cancer


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Chemotherapy may be avoided in about 70% of early-stage breast cancer patients, thus limiting chemotherapy to the 30% for whom it can be predicted to be beneficial, a study released on Sunday (3 June) shows.

"The impact is tremendous", said the study's leader, Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in NY.

Catherine Floyd, Cancer Survivor, says, "I had nausea". Doctors do say chemotherapy is still effective and necessary in treating certain patients.

"We are de-escalating toxic therapy".

"... Because this new approach to immunotherapy is dependent on mutations, not on cancer type, it is, in a sense, a blueprint we can use for the treatment of many types of cancer", said Dr. Steven Rosenberg, the chief of the surgery branch at the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research.

"Chemotherapy is no Shangri-La", Brawley said. By continuing the personalized assessment of an individual's cancer recurrence risk, oncologists can more effectively determine specifically-tailored treatments based on that patient's genomic results.

The good news for around 70,000 women each year comes from the largest study done of breast cancer treatment. But the researchers who conducted this new controlled experiment found that chemotherapy provided no additional benefit over hormone treatments alone. "I want to live - period.' I can't say how I would have responded to this study, but when it's your life, you'd rather deal with the awful effects of chemo for a relatively short amount of time than die". It involved more than 10,000 women with breast cancer that had not spread to nearby lymph nodes and whose tumours respond to hormone therapy and test negative for the HER2 gene. Very low scores, up to 10, it's a very low chance that these patients get hormone therapy, and chemotherapy doesn't help them.

A 21-gene test called Oncotype Dx that has been around since 2004 has helped guide some decisions, post-surgery. Data on premenopausal women and those younger than 50 who scored at the higher end of the intermediate-risk range, 16 to 25, was analyzed separately.

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Jennifer Mall, 47, of Downers Grove, Ill., was a patient of Albain's who agreed to participate in the study.

The mother of two from Florida is enjoying having her old life back and working through a bucket list that she drew up in one of her darker days. So they don't have to receive chemotherapy.

"I anxious that there were cancer cells left over in my body that were spreading everywhere because I didn't have the systemic treatment", Mall recalled.

"It took another week or two for it to completely go away".

According to a research article "Epidemiology of breast cancer in Indian women" by Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, in India, breast cancer has been ranked number one cancer among Indian females. Since its establishment in 1996, over 15,000 people have participated in more than 350 cancer trials.

"A lot of work needs to be done, but the potential exists for a paradigm shift in cancer therapy - a unique drug for every cancer patient", he said.

Those women should carefully discuss their options with their oncologist, said Brawley, because they would likely be candidates for the more aggressive, dual therapies.

As of January 2018, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women now being treated and women who have finished treatment. "Breast cancer used to be that deadly disease that women were afraid of and they wanted everything done so they can actually survive".