Many Breast Cancer Patients Can Skip Chemotherapy

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Jill Chadwick

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           Most women with the most common form of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy without hurting their chances of beating the disease, doctors are reporting from a landmark study, which included The University of Kansas Cancer Center, that used genetic testing to gauge each patient’s risk.

The study is the largest ever done of breast cancer treatment, and the results are expected to spare up to 70,000 patients a year in the United States and many more elsewhere the ordeal and expense of these drugs.

“The impact is tremendous,” said Dr. Jaime Wagner, DO, FACOS, Division Chief Breast Surgery, Breast Surgery Oncologist The University of Kansas Cancer Center. “Most women in this situation don’t need treatment beyond surgery and hormone therapy,” she said.

In the video, Dr. Wagner describes the findings of the TAILORx trial, and why the news is so exciting. She says we are in a current era of de-escalation of breast cancer treatment, meaning the trend is how to give patients the best possible care while scaling back some of the treatments that many may find undesirable, such as chemotherapy and radiation. She adds that the rush to surgery, which was often the first choice, is not always the best choice, and other less invasive treatments are often better. Wagner says therapies that are targeted for a specific patient’s breast cancer have the best outcomes. She also says a team approach, like the one offered at an NCI designated canter like The University of Kansas Cancer Center, provides the best outcomes. She says that includes nurse navigators, which she calls a patient’s “first hug” into the program, all the way through survivorship programs, which include a patient’s whole family. She’s especially glad to offer the services of the Women’s Cancer Center at The University of Kansas Cancer Center at the newly-built facility on the Indian Creek Campus at I-435 and Nall. The video also includes interiors and exteriors of the new facility.