Study: Many with early stages of breast cancer don't need chemotherapy
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A study just released from the American Society of Clinical Oncology found about 70 percent of women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer may not need chemotherapy.
Researchers in the study reviewed the results of a very reliable genetic test. It assesses recurrence risk.
They found that the group in the middle, not low, not high, didn't likely benefit from chemotherapy. Hormone therapy could be just as effective.
This was based on a scoring system which can now be assigned to breast cancer tumors.
“We used to give it based on the size of the tumor and then we realized it's not just how big it is or lymph node involvement but rather how aggressive it is, and this is looking at that aggressiveness, so they took 21 genes, translated that into a number, a score number, and the lower numbers didn't need chemo, the higher numbers did, and so there was this intermediate group that we didn't really know about. So, 65 to 75 percent of all breast cancer patients feed on estrogen, that's the female hormone, so if we block that hormone it's just as effective in those women with lower numbers on that score as having any chemotherapy,” said Dr. James Maher of the TriHealth Cancer Institute.
Chemotherapy are drugs that can kill cancer, but cause a lot of side effects.
Hormone therapy has fewer side effects, and if it is just as effective, it would generally be less harsh on the body.
So, the critical thing is finding this cancer early, it means you have more choices.
One of those choices now may be not needing chemotherapy.