NPR

For Some Breast Cancer Patients, The Chemo Decision Just Got Easier

Thousands of breast cancer patients could now safely avoid chemotherapy thanks to a major study of women with moderate risk of recurrence.
Women with a common form of breast cancer may be able to safely forgo chemotherapy, depending on the results of a genetic test. Source: Lester Lefkowitz

For many breast cancer patients, one of the most difficult treatment decisions is whether or not to go through chemotherapy.

Now, the choice is getting easier for some patients. A study published Sunday finds that many women with early-stage invasive breast cancer could safely forgo chemotherapy, if they score in the midrange or lower for risk that their cancer will recur, as measured by a commonly used genomic test

The study, , finds that patients who fall in the intermediate risk zone do as well with hormone therapy alone as with chemo plus hormone therapy after surgery. "[The findings] are both important and significant,, a medical oncologist and physician in chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who was not involved with this research. "Basically, it's going to spare a lot of unnecessary chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer."

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