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Chemo may be unnecessary for some breast cancer patients

A promising study indicates that many Kentucky women diagnosed with breast cancer may not need to undergo chemotherapy in order to prevent a cancer recurrence in the future. For around 70 percent of women who are diagnosed with one common form of breast cancer in an early stage, hormone therapy can be sufficient to fully treat their cancer. The study, presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, emphasizes the use of a 21-gene expression test.

This common genetic test is used to determine the type of breast cancer a woman has and the likelihood of its recurrence. It evaluates 21 genes that are linked to the risk of breast cancer. In some cases of specific types of breast cancer, no additional benefit was shown for many women in receiving chemotherapy. Even more, chemo can have significant side effects that linger long after the treatment, so avoiding these painful and difficult effects can be an important benefit. Around 50 percent of all women diagnosed worldwide have breast cancers that are susceptible to hormone treatment that blocks estrogen. For these women who do not show genetic susceptibility to recurrence, chemo may be unnecessary.

While chemotherapy can have serious, long-term and life-changing side effects, treatment with chemo remains recommended for many women. This is especially true when their cancer was not diagnosed in an early stage or was misdiagnosed as the delay in treatment often means that the cancer has had a chance to spread from its initial location in the breast.

Cancer treatment is one type of medical practice in which avoiding misdiagnosis and doctor error can be critical to achieving a positive outcome. People who have suffered a worsened health condition due to a mistaken diagnosis or other medical mistake may consult with a medical malpractice attorney for guidance and representation in pursuing a claim for compensation.

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