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Traditionally, a breast cancer diagnosis was followed by chemotherapy because doctors couldn't predict which cancers would recur. Now, a genetic profiling test can determine whether chemotherapy will be of any benefit. It determines if women face a low, medium or high risk of recurrence. This will greatly reduce the number of women undergoing chemotherapy unnecessarily. In the study, the 10 year survival rate of high risk subjects who had chemotherapy and tamoxifen was 88% compared to 60% in those who had tamoxifen only. In the low risk group - there was no difference between recurrence in the groups with chemo compared to the group without. The test could potentially allow nearly half of breast cancer suffers to forgo chemotherapy safely. The test costs $3,460 but it is minimal compared to the chemotherapy costs of more than $37,000.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Chicago Sun Times
About: Genetic profile test determines if breast cancer victims need chemotherapy
Date: 12 December 2004
Source: Chicago Sun Times
Author: Marilynn Marchione
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