Avoid Chemo During Breast Cancer Treatment


MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Years ago, women who were diagnosed with breast cancer knew they would almost certainly face radiation or chemotherapy, or a combination of both.  Now, doctors say up to 70 percent of patients may not need to undergo chemotherapy as part of their treatment depending on their tumor score.

For Nora Delgado it’s family first, then her yoga practice.

Delgado said, “We go there not for our body, we go for our mind, it really transforms you from within.”

But when Delgado was diagnosed with breast cancer, it turned her world upside down.

Alejandra Perez, MD, Medical Oncologist at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine said, “In America, we diagnose 250,000 women with breast cancer every year.”

(Read Full Interview)

Now there’s some good news for the thousands of women battling this disease thanks to the TAILORx trial. Dr. Perez says the study enrolled 10,000 women with early stage breast cancer.

“They’re hormone receptor positive and her2-negative, and they have no lymph node involvement,” said Dr. Perez.

The patients’ tumors were tested with the oncotype DX test to determine the chance of recurrence.

“Based on that recurrence score you are assigned into a low risk category, an intermediate group, or high risk,” Dr. Perez explained.

The patients that scored in the middle were split into two groups.

Dr. Perez continued, “One got hormonal therapy with chemotherapy and the other just got hormonal therapy.”

What they found was remarkable.

“If you look at overall survival it was 98 percent for both groups. That means 70 percent of women, we can avoid chemotherapy.” Said Dr. Perez.

Delgado’s score revealed she didn’t need chemo.

“I was very, very lucky, I won the lottery on that day,” Delgado said.

She chose to have a double mastectomy and is now on hormone therapy for five years.

She said, “I’m really grateful, happy, content.”

Finding peace in her life once again.

Dr. Perez says this doesn’t apply to all breast cancer patients. She says pre-menopausal women who scored in the middle may benefit from chemotherapy. So always discuss treatment options with your doctor. To learn more about the oncotype dx test and the results of the TAILORx  study please visit: https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/press-releases/2018/tailorx-breast-cancer-chemotherapy and https://news.umiamihealth.org/en/most-early-stage-breast-cancers-no-longer-need-chemo/?print=pdf

Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4519

BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, but men can get it as well. Breast cancer refers to uncontrolled growth of breast cells. This occurs because of a mutation in the cells that don’t stop dividing. With all those extra cells, they can collect and form a tumor, which can either be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are not dangerous to the health, but malignant tumors are different. Malignant tumors could cause cancer if not treated. Over time, cells from the tumor start to spread into tissue making their way to the lymph nodes under the arm. If the cancer gets there, then it can spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms include a breast lump or thickening that feels different, change in the skin over the breast or a newly inverted nipple.

(Source: https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/what_is_bc https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352470)

DIAGNOSING: If a lump is found in the breast then doctors would administer a series of tests. A breast exam is used to check for lumps or other symptoms of breast cancer. The most common test for diagnosing breast cancer is a mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breast. Other tests include biopsy, MRI or ultrasound. If something is found in the initial tests, then doctors proceed to give blood tests, a bone scan, a CT scan or a PET scan in order to stage the cancer.

(Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352475 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/37136.php

NEW RESEARCH: Most patients undergo surgery after being diagnosed. From there, the options are radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted cell therapy. While these options help, the side effects include hair loss, risk of infection, vomiting, fatigue, and swollen breast tissue. But in a recent study conducted by the University of Miami, it was discovered that hormone therapy is just as effective. It is usually given before or after the surgery and for about five years after to help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back or treat the cancer that has returned. It can reach cancer cells in any part of the body. The treatment is given to patients who are receptor positive, and about two out of three breast cancers are receptor positive. There are many types of hormone therapies such as tamoxifen and toremifene, which block estrogen receptors, and aromatase inhibitors and ovarian suppression, which lower the estrogen. Side effects include mild nausea, bone pain, hot flashes and injection site pain.

(Source: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/treatment/hormone-therapy-for-breast-cancer.html https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352475


Diana Gonzalez, PR Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Ctr



If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com


Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Alejandra Perez, MD, specialty in medical oncology, breast cancer prevention and treatment, Medical Director of the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute

Read the entire Q&A