Treating Breast Cancer without Chemotherapy

Some women at the early stage of breast cancer have a reduced chance of experiencing recurrence, and this makes chemotherapy unnecessary.

However, for other breast cancer patients, chemotherapy is all they need.

During the early stages of breast cancer (typically stages 1 and 2), cancer hasn’t moved past the breast and the surrounding lymph nodes. The treatment normally begins with surgery after which oncologists may administer radiation or hormone therapy.

For most women at this stage of cancer, chemotherapy may also be used. Chemotherapy drugs are created to destroy fast-growing cells within the body. As a result, both cancerous and healthy cells end up being killed.

Eventually, chemotherapy can cause long-term side effects, such as harming organs, affecting fertility, and increasing the possibility of getting other cancers.

If only breast cancer patients knew the risk of cancer’s occurrence, they could avoid all that. The good news is genomic testing helps with this.

Promise from Genomic Study

A random study of 6,693 patients with breast cancer from nine countries in Europe reveals the promise of genomic testing.

The study’s details were published on the New England Journal of Medicine. The study’s participants had breast cancer in its early stage. To establish the genomic risk of cancer recurring, researchers used MammaPrint – a 70-gene signature test.

The researcher considered clinical risk as well. This risk encompasses factors like tumor size, lymph node involvement, and grade.

Of the entire participants, 1,550 patients had a high clinical risk but a reduced genomic risk. Some of them had chemotherapy while others didn’t.

Those without chemotherapy had a five-year survival rate of 94%. Those who had chemotherapy had a rate of 1.5% higher.

The researchers concluded that nearly 46% of breast cancer women patients with an increased clinical risk of recurrence don’t need chemotherapy.

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