Breakthrough in breast cancer research

Breakthrough in breast cancer research

A breakthrough in breast cancer treatment reveals that there's no benefit from chemotherapy for 70 percent of women with the most common type of breast cancer.

For the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer in its early stages, chemotherapy is given for survival and to reduce recurrence of the breast cancer, but a study found that depending on the women's age and risk of getting cancer again, doing chemo doesn't have any benefit.

Seven years ago at age 38, Kelley Light heard the words that would change any woman's life, 'you have breast cancer.'

"It changes your life, you appreciate every day that you're given," she said.

A mastectomy was the first step, but Kelley also needed chemo.

"It's hard on your stomach, you lose your hair. I lost a lot of weight, you're weak, you're not yourself," said Kelley.

Now, a new study will spare many women from chemotherapy.

"This new study really gives us good reliable data based on nearly 7,000 patients, that if you have an intermediate risk score, you don't benefit from chemotherapy," said Dr. John Rimmer, Breast Cancer Surgeon.

Dr. Rimmer says the study shows that women in stage 1 or 2 of hormone receptor breast cancer and who are lymph node breast cancer negative, won't benefit from chemo if they're test results show their recurrence chances are low.

"It means that people who are estrogen positive and early stage, often don't have to" said Dr. Maryland Raymond, Medical Director at Good Samaritan's Medical Center Breast Cancer Center.

Dr. Raymond says the study proves that chemo will hurt more than help women with low risk scores who are over 50.

"The future of oncology is going to be very targeted therapy instead of just general poison for all," added Dr. Raymond.

Prior to the study, Doctors knew that women in early stages of estrogen positive breast cancer with low risk scores did not need chemotherapy, but there was a gray area for women over 50. This latest study scientifically proves that women over 50 with the most common type of breast cancer will not benefit from chemotherapy if they do not have cancer in the lymph nodes and score low for recurrence.

Scripps Only Content 2018