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Some breast cancer patients may not need chemo

Posted at 6:41 PM, Sep 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-28 20:41:49-04

Some women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer may not need chemotherapy. Remarkable news, considering 1 in 7 women in Colorado will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives.

“These results are encouraging,” said Dr. Jose Mayordomo, Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Hospital.

Dr. Mayordomo agrees with the National Cancer Institute study, which found chemotherapy given to some women with early stage breast cancer does little, if any good.

“Chemotherapy is toxic in 100% of patients. So when we know that there is a group of women in which the benefit is zero, we certainly want to spare toxicity,” he said.

Women participating in the study who took the test and then skipped chemotherapy had less than a 1% chance of cancer recurring in their liver or lungs even 5 years later. 

“The sooner we diagnose breast cancer the least aggressive treatment is,” said Dr. Mayordomo.

Using a gene-activity test, called the Oncotype DX, doctors can decide to treat patients using other less-toxic methods like surgery, radiation and hormone therapy.

“Much easier on patients and that's what we want,” he said.

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