New test may lead to fewer mastectomies, doctors weigh in

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - There is a new test that can tell what risk level women have of developing invasive breast cancer. Some doctors say this will help eliminate over-treatment, and maybe even lead to fewer mastectomies.

The study relates to those diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ - the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer. If you have DCIS, scientists say you can now find out early if it will become invasive or not.

"I think this is a step forward to tailoring treatment for an individual patient," said Dr. Aparna Kumar, with Texas Oncology, Tyler.

Researchers detected certain characteristics in breast tissue that put women at a higher risk. Dr. Kumar says this now provides physicians a genetic signature to predict a patient's treatment.

"This is actually going to help avoid certain treatments for a certain group of patients," explained Dr. Aparna Kumar. "So there will be a group of patients that probably don't need radiation - don't need hormonal therapy...there may be a larger section of women who are treated by lumpectomy only after you really go through the study and understand that the combination of these biomarkers are going to help call patients low risk versus high risk."

But, some doctors, like Dr. Arielle Lee, say the study does have limitations based on the women it followed.

"What's important to know is they were treated with lumpectomy alone," said Lee. "That's important because that is not standard of care now."

In her opinion, it is hard to apply this information today.

"I think it would be interesting if another study was done...We just have to update it," she said.

Dr. Kumar says we still have a ways to go, but this is a breakthrough, promising a lot of potential and allowing patients to be more selective about their treatment.

"I'm excited for the patients that it gives them a choice," said Kumar.

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