Clearing Up Chemo: Having Breast Cancer No Longer Just Means Chemotherapy
Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer can be frightening, but a new study has led to some very hopeful and exciting news. Chemotherapy is not necessary for many women who are experiencing breast cancer.
Gustav Magrinat, MD, a medical oncologist who specializes in treating breast cancer at the Cone Health Cancer Center at Wesley Long Hospital, shares how providers everywhere are excited about the positive impact this information will have on many people: “This will prevent enormous amounts of unnecessary chemo, unnecessary suffering from chemo, unnecessary costs from chemo, side-effects from chemo – yes, this is great news.”
In the past, chemotherapy treatment has been the standard for most cases of breast cancer. “If you had a breast cancer that was half an inch, you got chemo – the end,” says Magrinat.
Recently, new tests have been developed that help health care providers create more specific treatment plans. One of the newer ones, the 21-gene test, determines what type of cells are in a tumor. Knowing what cells that are in a tumor helps providers understand whether or not chemotherapy is necessary. The impact this information had on the number of people who needed chemotherapy was huge.
“We found that if we added this information,” Magrinat continues, “two-thirds of patients who otherwise would get chemo no longer need chemo.”
This latest study builds on the information that the 21-gene test provided, and shows that even more women with breast cancer do not need chemotherapy for a successful recovery. Cone Health’s Cancer Clinical Trials were able to contribute to this exciting new information, with 15 local patients participating in the study.
There are still instances when chemotherapy can benefit women with breast cancer. It’s important to discuss the best treatment for you with your doctor, especially if you are a woman under 50. Magrinat encourages you to regularly screen for breast cancer and to speak with your provider about any breast cancer concerns.
“Please make sure you get your mammograms, please make sure you do your self-exam, and if you find anything unusual, bring it up with your physician,” says Magrinat. “We’ll take care of you.”
Gustav C. Magrinat, MD is an Oncologist who specializes in breast cancer at the Cone Health Cancer Center at Wesley Long