Study: Many women with early-stage breast cancer can skip chemotherapy

Many women with early-stage breast cancer can skip chemotherapy without reducing their chances of survival, a new study has found. The results rely on a genetic test that gauges risk by looking at a gene involved in recurrence of the disease. Up to 70,000 patients a year could safely avoid chemotherapy, the study indicates. These patients, whose cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes and is fueled by hormones, would still have to undergo surgery and hormone treatment. “The impact is tremendous,” said study leader Dr. Joseph Sparano. The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and other foundations, as well as with earnings from the breast cancer postage stamp.

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