One of the toughest decisions a woman with breast cancer will face is whether or not to undergo chemotherapy. Good news though -- a brand-new study that has just come out says that patients who are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer with smaller-sized tumors that has not spread to the lymph nodes may be able to skip the chemo.
Experts have cautioned, however, that the findings may not apply to those who have larger tumors or those with cancer that has started to spread, or metastasize. More studies are still needed to look at those groups of women.
There are several factors that determine whether or not a patient will, in fact, be able to forgo the chemo, most significant being if they score in the mid-range or lower for risk that their cancer will recur, as measured by a common genomic test.
Dr. Reema Batra is a board-certified oncologist with Sharp HealthCare and she breaks down the ins and outs of what this new chemo break through means.
This is really exciting. So far we've had a one-size-fits-all kind of theory but now we can actually move towards more precision medicine.
For a while, doctors have suspected that not all patients needed to undergo chemotherapy treatments, but they were lacking the evidence to back up their claims. Now, thanks to this new study, doctors can safely say that their hunch was correct all along.
Along with this new breakthrough is a renewed emphasis on early cancer detection. Women who get their mammograms on time have a much better chance of being diagnosed in the earlier stages and therefore a less likelihood of needing chemo.
There are several ways you can lower your risk of breast cancer: Get an annual breast screening, for most women this begins at age 40; be physically active and exercise; reduce lifetime weight by making healthy food choices; avoid smoking; limit alcohol intake; and practice meditation, do yoga or find other ways to reduce stress.
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