Friday, May 30, 2014

Predicting breast cancer recurrence five to fifteen years out

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago, I heard about the Oncotype Dx test, for which I was not eligible (for some stupid reason I can't remember) that would help decide whether chemotherapy was necessary. It has now been available for ten years and has been shown that it can help predict late recurrence of breast cancer - which is defined as five to fifteen years out from the initial diagnosis.

I think this is real progress in reining in cancer. [I wasn't going to use the word battle or war or anything like that. I had to think and settled on reining in.] This ties in with extending the use of tamoxifen for ten years to obtain better results.

"As recognized by ASCO's guideline update, recent studies have shown that extending tamoxifen treatment for 10 years is associated  with better outcomes, however, we still need better tools to identify who those patients are," said Norman Wolmark, M.D., chairman of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP). "This study confirms that Oncotype DX can help better define who is at greatest risk for late recurrences and the potential to benefit from extended tamoxifen, as well as those who are at lower risk and will likely have less absolute benefit from extended tamoxifen and, thus, could be spared prolonged exposure and risk of long-term side effects." 

Now of course, I am still do not have the criteria to belong to that group that was in the study but it is nice to know that there is progress in knowing about who is more likely to have recurrence. This in turns allow them to be better followed to catch any recurrence early.

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