No shocker here: Most breast cancer chemo not needed

I’ve often thought that one day, we’ll look back at how women with breast cancer were treated and shake our heads in disbelief.

Well, that day has finally come around… again!

What’s being called a “landmark,” “game-changing” study, just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has made headlines all over the world for confirming that most cases of breast cancer do not need to be treated with chemotherapy.

If you or someone you love has ever been through that ordeal, you know that it’s one of the most grueling experiences any woman can face.

While it’s great to see so many TV docs explaining this “practice-changing” news, the truth of the matter is… it’s not really “new.”

For some time now, we’ve been telling you right here in the eAlert that most women don’t need chemo to treat breast cancer!

Hopefully from this day forward, no more women will be scared into signing on the dotted line for a dangerous and unnecessary “medicine” to treat breast cancer.

But if history teaches us anything, it’s that women are still in danger of having highly toxic drugs pumped into their bodies for no good reason at all.

Here’s what you need to know about these extremely important findings.

No more excuses

Over two years ago, our readers learned about a study of over 6,000 women at more than 100 medical center all over the world. Those findings were identical to what we’re now hearing — that tens of thousands of women are being frightened into undergoing unnecessary chemo. And by taking a genetic test (one that’s easily available), they could be spared from that agony and any potential future cancers caused by that treatment.

Back then, Dr. Jose Baselga, president of the American Association for Cancer Research, said that the study was “telling us in a very clear way we can spare many women chemotherapy.”

But I guess it wasn’t clear enough, because here we are… two years later… being told this news again as if it’s a brand-new finding.

Just think of how many women have spent weeks hooked up to machines for heavy-duty drugs that cause nausea, exhaustion, and hair loss… all since that first study was published!

It’s simply infuriating!

The latest research found that women with the most common type of breast cancer received no benefit whatsoever from suffering through grueling rounds of chemo. Skipping this toxic treatment didn’t make it more likely that a woman would see her cancer return, and it didn’t mean that she was more likely to die.

Lead author Dr. Joseph Sparano, with the Montefiore Medical Center, said that using a simple genetic test in clinical practice would “spare 70 percent” of breast-cancer patients from the ordeal of chemo.

The test he’s talking about is called Oncotype DX, a method of predicting the odds of a cancer recurring and indicating whether chemo will be of any benefit. It’s one of several similar tests easily available to doctors.

Another one we’ve told you about is called MammaPrint.

And unbelievably, these tests been available for over a decade now! So… why aren’t they given to all women before they’re hooked up to a chemo drip?

One reason could be the cost — around $3,000. And while most insurance (including Medicare) should cover it, the bean counters can get stingy.

Another could be the mainstream’s knee-jerk approach to ordering chemo. I’m sure that many old-school docs are still taking the “better-safe-than-sorry” approach.

Or a lot of doctors may simply be unaware of its availability.

Whatever the reason, it has to stop now. No more excuses. Not one more woman should ever be asked to undergo a sickening treatment that won’t help her.

If your doctor pooh-poohs these findings… or your insurance won’t cover this test… don’t give up. Get a second or even third opinion. Ask your insurer to reconsider — and if necessary, pay out of pocket.

These findings are way too important to let them slip through the cracks again.

“Chemo not needed for most early breast cancer: TAILORx” Roxanne Nelson, June 3, 2018, Medscape, medscape.com