Postmenopausal and Living with Breast Cancer? You May Be Able to Skip Chemotherapy
New research expands the number of women with a common type of early stage breast cancer who can skip chemotherapy and safely be treated with hormone-blocking therapies alone – even if their cancer has spread to some of their lymph nodes. However, women whose tumors have spread to their lymph nodes are often at higher risk of worse outcomes, with the majority receiving chemotherapy.
Results from the RxPONDER study, one of the largest clinical trials in hormone receptor-positive, HER2 negative early breast cancer, were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in late 2020.1
Based on these new findings, postmenopausal women whose cancer has spread to between one and three lymph nodes can avoid the side effects associated with chemotherapy if their Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score® result, a genomic test which predicts chemotherapy benefit and risk of cancer recurrence, is between 0 and 25.1
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide, surpassing lung cancer for the first time in 2020. With the growing recognition of the importance of personalized treatment for breast cancer, genomic testing can help tailor treatment decisions to a patient’s individual tumor. Facing a breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming but getting a genomic test to understand the unique biology of a patient’s tumor can help guide personalized treatment decisions.
Our guest, Dr. Deepa Halaharvi, a board-certified breast cancer surgeon at Ohio Health, discussed the practice-changing impact of this recent study for postmenopausal women with node-positive breast cancer and the importance of genomic tests in enabling confident breast cancer treatment decisions.
As a breast cancer survivor herself, Dr. Halaharvi is in the unique position of seeing breast cancer from the perspective of a doctor as well as a patient. She shared her cancer story, including how the Oncotype DX® test informed her treatment, following her diagnosis with stage 1 HR positive, HER2 negative breast cancer at age 42, just 8 months after becoming a practicing breast surgeon. She also talked about how her personal experience has greatly impacted the type of care she offers her patients, helping them to survive and thrive.