“With results of this groundbreaking study, we now can safely avoid chemotherapy in about 70% of patients who are diagnosed with the most common form of breast cancer,” said Kathy Albain, Huizenga Family Endowed Chair in Oncology Research at Loyola University and one of the study’s authors. “For countless women and their doctors, the days of uncertainty are over.”
This is excellent news. Chemotherapy should only be wielded where it will do good. So this makes me glad. They were still mid-trial when I did my chemotherapy in 2013. I’m actually part of a trial (can’t remember for sure if its this one or another slightly differently titled one) and I wished, wished, wished with all my heart that the results of this trial were already written up.
Because there’s nothing like trying to decide if you should have chemotherapy or not when you’re in full crisis hysterical mode thinking you’re going to die. And for people like me (micrometastasis in one lymph node, Oncotype score a middling 16) it seemed like an utter crap shoot.
On one hand: subject yourself to chemotherapy on the slight, off chance you might kills some cells that had migrated
On the other hand: subject yourself to chemotherapy, shorten your life, possibly get blood clots and heart disease, and it may not matter one little bit because there are NO little migrating cancer cells at all.
So that made me mad that I had to make that choice with like no scientific data or help. Now, a lot of women will not have to throw the dice.
“Overall, results from the TAILORx study strongly suggest that three groups of women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative, node-negative breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy:
- women with a Recurrence Score between 0 and 10
- women older than 50 with a Recurrence Score between 11 and 25
- women 50 and younger with a Recurrence Score between 11 and 15″
If you’re keeping score at home, you might have noticed that this trial’s results wouldn’t have helped me make a decision, actually.
I was 41. I had a score of 16. I’m just on the edge of the last criteria.
If I had to do the whole thing again (and I pray I never will) I think I might have NOT opted for the chemotherapy. And that makes me a little sad.
But yay for progress. At least I didn’t have to decide on a Halstead Radical Mastectomy. Small blessings.