The New England Journal of Medicine has released a new study suggesting some women with breast cancer might be able to skip chemotherapy safely.
Farhan Imran, medical oncologist at Rochester General Hospital says in some patients, when cancer is removed surgically it’s then sent to a lab and checked for 21 different genes that may have mutated.
Depending on how aggressive those genes are a score is given, falling into a low, intermediate or high risk category.
Low risk does not really benefit from chemo, and high risk does. But the question was the intermediate scores. It always seemed to be a grey area until now.
Over the course of nine years, some intermediate risk patients were given treatment while some were not, and overall survival and risk of reoccurrence of cancer was the same with or without chemotherapy.
Imran says it’s great that there is now a whole new group of people that won’t have to go through this treatment, and all the side effects that come with it.
"It has a major impact, and women are already juggling with their work and with their kids and homes and jobs, they'd have to go through four to six months of very intense chemotherapy."
Imran says this test is not applicable for all types of breast cancer. Imran and patients at RGH were included in the study.