According to a new study, which the New England Journal of Medicine recently published, most women who have been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer may not need chemotherapy at all. A team of experts discovered that patients with tumors that had not yet spread to the lymph nodes did very well without this therapy. However, the team of experts warned that this may not apply to patients who have bigger tumors or with cancer that has started to metastasize or spread. For those women, they need to conduct more studies to find out precisely what needs to be changed.
According to Dr. Adam Brusky, who is a co-author for this study, thanks to this new study, doctors now have a special test to determine which cancer patients can skip chemo. Usually, that number is very large, as most of these people can go without chemotherapy. It seems that out of the 250,000 women in the United States who are expected to receive this diagnosis, 63,000 could benefit from this discovery. In order to analyze the tumors, doctors usually give cancer patients scores. They also look at 21 genes that are associated with recurrence. Until now, doctors did not know whether or not to offer chemo to early-stage cancer patients.
Early-stage breast cancer patients don’t need chemo
For the study, also called the TAILORx trial, the team of researchers followed 9,717 women between 18 and 75, with early-stage breast cancer. About 67% of these women had an intermediate risk of recurrence. While women with low scores were advised against chemo and those with high scores for, the situation wasn’t clear for those with intermediate risk. The new study proved that chemo made no difference at all in women with intermediate risk of recurrence. Initially, doctors were not sure what to do with these category, but now, things are starting to become clearer.
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