Women with early-stage breast cancer often face a dilemma: Undergo chemotherapy, with its side-effects and costs, or skip it. Now these women and their doctors have a better way of deciding what to do.
It's a test known as Oncotype Dx, which looks at 21 genes in a tumor sample and rates how active these genes are. Doctors then use this information to rate the tumor. The lower the number, the less aggressive and invasive the cancer. Women with low numbers can then safely skip chemotherapy and just take hormone-based drugs like Tamoxifen, and still have a 98 percent survival rate five years after their treatment.
Although Oncotype Dx has been available for a few years, today's study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers the strongest evidence yet that this test is effective. The study looked at 10,253 women diagnosed with tumors that ranged in size from 1 to 1.5 centimeters, and whose cancer hadn't spread to the lymph nodes yet.
Doctors will run Oncotype Dx on breast tissue that was already taken during a biopsy. The test is usually covered by insurance, too, which makes it a good option for women whose breast cancer was caught early--giving you yet another reason to do those monthly breast self-exams.
via EurekAlert! and Time.com
Your life just got exponentially better and more stylish now you've signed up for our newsletter. Fabulousness awaits!