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Research

Breast Cancer Victims Can Opt for a Non-Chemo Treatment- Study Finds

For years, it has been believed that the only cure for cancer is chemotherapy. Many people opt for chemotherapy if they are diagnosed with cancer. However, the recent studies of New England Journal of Medicine have revealed that women having breast cancer can choose to skip chemotherapy treatment and can still get their cancer cured. The study was performed on about 10,273 women who had hormone-receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) – negative, axillary node-negative breast cancer. The study shows how cancer can be cured without opting for chemotherapy.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer happens when the breast cells go out of control. The formed tumor is known as malignant and it is called invading of cells if it starts spreading to the nearby tissues of the body. And if the cells start spreading to the other parts of the body, then this is known as metastasizing. More often than not, it’s the women who become the victims of Breast Cancer. However, men can become a victim of such cancer too.

It should also be noted that not all kind of cancers is threatening to life. If the lumps of the breast are benign then they are not cancerous. Such tumors can only be abnormal growth of breasts, but such tumors don’t cause any harm otherwise.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Some of the symptoms of Breast Cancer are as follows:

  • The breast starts thickening or the part of the breast is swelled.
  • A lump is formed either in the breast or in the armpit.
  • There’s irritation in the breast skin.
  • Chances are that the nipple of the breast would discharge blood.
  • Changes in the size or shape of the breast are expected.
  • It is possible to feel pain in the area of the breast.

What does the study say about Breast Cancer Treatment?

According to this New England Journal of Medicine study, it has been discovered that women who experience early-stage breast cancer aren’t required to have chemotherapy treatment.

Kathy Albain, who has co-authored this study, said that with this discovery, 70% of the patients diagnosed with the usual form of breast cancers, can avoid chemotherapy. A test was done on a set of 21 genes in cancer cells to know how likely cancer can get recurred between the scale of 0 and 100. The more the score, the more chances cancer has to get recurred.

Some of the older studies show that the women with low score rates such as 10 or below don’t actually need any sort of chemotherapy. However, the women with scores that are neither low nor high, have lesser chances of needing chemotherapy. The women of this range can easily avoid or skip chemotherapy.

After the surgery, some of the women were prescribed chemotherapy and hormone therapy, and some were prescribed hormone therapy only. The results were strikingly similar between both groups, whether their cancer returned or not.

The study showed that:

  • After the time span of five years, the rate of survival was nearly 93.1% for people who were treated by chemotherapy and 92.8% was for those who didn’t opt for chemo.
  • After nine years, the rate of the patients who made it to a disease-free survival was 84.3% for people who opted chemotherapy as their treatment and 83.3% was for those who didn’t go for it.

The overall survival rate was also quite similar. The 98.1% survival rate was for those who opted for chemotherapy and 98.0% was for those who didn’t, this was the aftermath of five years. Simultaneously, after nine years of treatment, the overall survival rate was 93.8% for people who were treated with chemo and 93.9% for people who weren’t treated with chemo, respectively.

 

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Areeba Hussain

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. She is an author of six research papers and currently working as a research associate in a Research Lab.

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