According to U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics, 1 in 8 American women will get invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. In fact, it’s the most common form of cancer for women throughout the US. To battle this deadly disease, many women must endure chemotherapy, along with it’s difficult side effects. Now, a brand new study says many women may be able to avoid chemotherapy altogether.
On Sunday, The New England Journal of Medicine published a much anticipated study, in which researchers suggest that up to 70 percent of women who are diagnosed with one of the most prominent forms of breast cancer may not require chemotherapy.
How will doctors determine which women require chemo and which women don’t? It looks like a popular test can now be used to determine the efficacy and necessity of chemotherapy treatment.
This test is the gene expression test, which examines 21 genes which are linked with breast cancer reoccurrence.
According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Joseph A. Sparano, “These data confirm that using a 21-gene expression test to assess the risk of cancer recurrence can spare women unnecessary treatment if the test indicates that chemotherapy is not likely to provide benefit.”
By consulting with the genetic test results, doctors can also develop appropriate treatments for the different types of breast cancer.
The chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society, Dr. Otis Brawley is “delighted” with these findings, saying, “Now with these genomic tests, we are finding that we have multiple types of breast cancer, perhaps several dozen and we are being able to to tailor our therapies to the type of breast cancer every woman has.”