Your Healthy Family

Feb 18, 2013 9:44 AM by Marissa Torres

New test helps cancer patients side step chemotherapy

A new study means a new hope for breast cancer patients. It's taking a look at a test that determines who does or doesn't need chemotherapy, and so far the results show the process is highly accurate.

Diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, Rachel Klein had a double mastectomy last fall, but no chemotherapy. A genomic test called MammaPrint told her she didn't need it.

"It's a blessing to be able to survive and to be able to live your life."

Now a new study in the International Journal of Cancer shows the MammaPrint test is highly accurate and that 97% of women who were determined to be low risk and therefore who did not get chemo, are living beyond the five year mark.

"Its huge. I think chemotherapy is the part of breast cancer and all cancer treatment that patients fear the most," says Dr. Michaela Tsai, an oncologist.

The study also says half of early stage breast cancer patients can safely avoid chemotherapy. For the MammaPrint test, when a tumor is removed, a sample is taken and sent to a lab.

"It looks at the expression of 70 genes within that tumor that have been associated with a lower or higher risk of breast cancer recurrence."

Patients are then told if they can avoid chemotherapy. Rachel could and did to avoid the fatigue, nausea and hair loss.

 

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