Experts: Selective use of chemo for breast cancer patients possible

12/14/2007 | Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The

New studies suggest that thousands of breast cancer patients each year could forego chemotherapy or opt for less aggressive versions of it without lowering their odds of overcoming the disease. One experiment showed that a gene test, Oncotype DX, helped in assessing whether some women, even those whose cancer has reached their lymph nodes, needed to undergo chemotherapy at all. Another study showed that women taking Taxotere -- a gentler drug than Adriamycin, a long-standing treatment for the disease that raises the risk of heart problems and leukemia -- were less likely to die or experience a relapse.

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