Women With Early Breast Cancer Stages May Not Require Chemotherapy, Study Shows

The treatment for patients with small sized tumors that have not reached the lymph nodes can be determined by a genetic test.

According to a new study, women with early breast cancer may not need chemotherapy.

The researchers found out that the patients diagnosed with smaller sized tumors which had not spread to the lymph nodes showed similar results without chemo as compared to the patients who went through the treatment, according to a study put forth at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.

However, the experts warned that the findings of the research may not be applicable to patients with relatively larger tumors or to those with cancer that has already spread. More studies will clear out the confusions that arose with this research.

A coauthor of the new study, Dr. Adam Brufsky, who is a medicine professor at University of Pittsburgh said, “This is a really big deal.” He also said that, the bottom line is that doctors now have a test to determine which early-stage patients — and that’s most of them — can skip chemotherapy.”

The recent findings can benefit more than 63,000 out of 250,000 women who are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer or are at an early stage of the disease.

The women who go through the genetic tests are given scores which examine the existence of tumor and presence of 21 genes that are associated with the recurrence of the tumor.

The study examined 9,717 women which were at an early stage of the disease, aged between 18 and 75, with tumor that had not reached the lymph nodes – the circumstances in which the physicians were not sure about recommending chemotherapy.

Out of the 9,717 women, 67% got scores indicating a recurrence of the disease – with a score between 11 and 25. After the surgery these women were advised to receive chemotherapy.

Before this study, the doctors knew that the women with a score less than 11, could skip chemotherapy without any side effects. However, women with scores higher than 26 were told to receive chemo.

The study also showed that the women facing an intermediary risk, whether they went through chemotherapy or not, it had not effect in terms of recurrence.

An associate professor at the University of California, Dr. Sara Hurvitz said, “We didn’t know if chemotherapy benefited women in this range. The study showed that if you take the group as a whole, there is no difference in the risk of recurrence when you compare chemotherapy to no chemotherapy.”

Are there any benefits in avoiding chemotherapy?

Receiving chemotherapy has major effects on the patients’ health. Avoiding chemotherapy can be very beneficial in terms of a woman’s quality of health. Chemotherapy can have some very harmful side effects, and can put the life of the patient at risk. Dr. Jennifer Litton, an associate professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center said that chemotherapy can have a very bad effect on woman’s immune system and can cause nausea, hair loss and vomiting.

She also said that chemo can cause permanent tingling and numbness. She said that the recent study can revolutionize breast cancer treatment.  “We now can identify a larger group of women who can avoid chemotherapy and just give anti-estrogen therapy and get the same results,” she added.

Author Bio:  

Kevin, is an Executive Business Manager for emrfinder.com Apart from his current role at EMRFinder, he is also a blog and news report author with great experience in the Electronic medical record software and healthcare industry.

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