Breast Cancer Breakthrough Means Less Chemo

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Women with early stage breast cancer can avoid chemotherapy treatment in many cases, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Peter Yu, MD, Physician-in-Chief of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, said the findings of the clinical trial, which included Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute patients because of the organization’s membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, were long-awaited. Dr. Yu confirmed that fewer women will need chemotherapy after surgery and radiation.

“It is a big deal for patients,” Hartford HealthCare Central Region Breast Program Surgical Director Camelia Lawrence said in an interview with WFSB Channel 3 news. “We often get patients who come in and who would prefer to not get chemotherapy.”

The clinical trial of 6,700 patients provided half of them with hormone therapy and half of them with hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Approximately 83 percent of patients with just hormone therapy did not have a recurrence of cancer, compared to 84 percent in the other group, which is statistically insignificant.

Dr. Lawrence said these statistics give oncologists confidence in offering patients options that don’t include chemotherapy.

Download your comprehensive breast cancer guide here.


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