New research suggests alternative treatment for breast cancer - WNEM TV 5

New research suggests alternative treatment for breast cancer

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

A groundbreaking cancer study is giving new hope and options to thousands of breast cancer patients.

It shows a majority of patients can avoid painful chemotherapy and still beat the disease.

“As a medical oncologist, we’ve been waiting for a very long time for these results,” said Dr. Sue Tobin, with Covenant Healthcare.

Researchers announced tens of thousands of breast cancer patients who would receive chemotherapy under current standards don’t actually need it.

“So generally, chemotherapy is offered to patients if the doctor feels that it would offer them benefit, but in addition, patients are usually offered hormone therapy,” Tobin said.

Tobin said hormonally therapy uses a type of hormone blocker to stop the body from making estrogen, which can lower the risk of recurrence.

“If patients have hormone positive breast cancer, then the recommendations are to have the hormonal blockade type therapy for at least five years,” Tobin said.

For those who fit the requirements, like breast cancer survivor Tammy Kelly, it can be far more beneficial to her lifestyle.

“Luckily, I didn’t need chemotherapy. I followed a lot of the new guidelines that were just released in the last week about chemo not necessarily being something that you have to have,” Kelly said.

The procedure still comes with side effects like nausea and aching pains. Although, it’s not as harsh as those caused by chemotherapy.

“I still see all of my medical team probably every six months and I do take a Juvent therapy pull, a hormone inhibitor pill. I’ll be taking that for 10 years,” Kelly said.

Tobin said the new research is already benefiting patients she works with at Covenant.

“For the women who chose not to have chemotherapy, I think they can feel a lot more relaxed now about the decision that they made with their medical oncologist,” Tobin said.

Researchers also said this new data shows some women 50 and younger might still benefit from chemotherapy, even if the gene test results suggest otherwise.

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