Breast cancer treatment news

About one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.  According to an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 54,010 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer in 2010 alone.

The treatment for breast cancer is often several rounds of chemotherapy as well as surgery.  A new study shows the order of these treatments doesn’t matter, both are effective.

Details of the study
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reviewed medical records of 3,000+ women and found that chemotherapy followed by surgery or surgery followed by chemotherapy are both effective methods.  The order of the treatments doesn’t matter.

“Of the patients surveyed, 78 percent had surgery before chemotherapy and 22 percent received chemotherapy first,” the study stated.

“Five and 10-year survival rates were excellent for both groups: 97 percent and 94 percent respectively for those who had surgery before chemotherapy, 93 percent and 90 percent for patients who received chemotherapy first.”

If age is factored into those results the survival rate is equal.

What it means for women battling breast cancer
“Even women who present with clinical Stage 2 or 3 breast cancer may have good results with breast conserving therapy after chemotherapy and not need a mastectomy,” said Elizabeth Ann Mittendorf, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology and lead author of the study.

“The molecular characteristics of the tumor and other factors have an impact on treatment success, but not the order in which chemotherapy and surgery are given.”

The next step
Researchers would like to continue to investigate the order of therapies.  As technology changes, new advances and treatments are always happening. A new 3-D imaging machine is now helping doctors diagnose cancer, proving that the options to patients are constantly improving.

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