Most Women with Early Breast Cancer Do Not Benefit From Chemotherapy

Many Breast Cancer Patients May Not Need Chemotherapy

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Thousands of patients diagnosed with breast cancer could avoid chemotherapy, that's according to the findings of a new study released this past weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Conference in Chicago.

"Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States and worldwide", note the study authors.

"70% of women with the most common form of early stage breast cancer could be treated safely with just surgery and hormone therapy."

The analysis was financed by the National Cancer Institute, a few Some research leaders consult with breast cancer drugmakers or to the business which produces the gene evaluation. "[Secondary treatment with] chemotherapy reduces the risk of recurrence..."

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He added: "Further studies are being planned in the UK through the Cancer Research UK-funded Precision-Panc initiative to work out which preoperative combination regimen would work the best at an individual pancreatic cancer patient level".

The breast cancer research concentrated on instances where chemo's worth Increasingly is in uncertainty: girls using early-stage disease that hasn't spread to lymph nodes, is hormone-positive (meaning that its expansion is due to estrogen or progesterone) and isn't the kind that the drug Herceptin targets.

The study gave 10,273 patients a genetic test, which uses a tumor sample to measure the presence of certain genes associated with higher likelihood of recurrence.

"Until now, we've been able to recommend treatment for women with these cancers at high and low risk of recurrence, but women at intermediate risk have been uncertain about the appropriate strategy to take", said Jeffrey Abrams, M.D., associate director of NCI's Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program.

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In the USA, those who score low on the test - 0-10 - are already told to skip chemotherapy after their tumours are removed and they receive hormone therapy. At five years, the overall survival rate was 98.0 percent for those who received hormone therapy alone and 98.1 percent for those who received both therapies, and at nine years the respective overall survival rates were 93.9 percent and 93.8 percent. In addition, women 50 and younger who scored between zero and 15 could be spared chemotherapy.

Can people trust the outcomes? Similar tests including one called MammaPrint also are widely used. "I sort of viewed chemo as extra insurance", she said.

"There are side effects to it, joint aches and hot flashes, but certainly significantly less than chemotherapy", CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus, a cancer specialist, said on "CBS This Morning" Monday.

"It does tend to cause significant side effects such as fatigue and hair loss issues that really do trouble women", said Moore. Others want chemo for even the smallest chance of benefit.

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