|CHEMO NOT THAT HELPFUL|
Recent studies reveal that many women with breast cancer can choose gentler versions of chemotherapy, sometimes skipping it altogether, without harming their chances of overcoming the illness.
One study found that a gene test called Oncotype DX can determine whether or not a patient will benefit from chemotherapy. The test measures the activity of 21 genes to predict women's risk of recurrence.
Currently, chemotherapy is recommended for women with breast cancer that has spread to lymph nodes, which amounts to about 45,000 women each year in the United States. However, the chemo does not help most of those treated. The study found that as many as 18,000 women each year could safely skip chemo, and the new test is expected to immediately spur doctors to back off on chemotherapy and use it more selectively.
A second study of more than 1,000 women tested two chemotherapy drugs -- Adriamycin, a chemo mainstay that raises your risk of heart problems and leukemia, and Taxotere, which increases the risk of infections and can cause bleeding.
Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells. They also kill healthy cells-hence the common side effects of nausea, hair loss, weakness, fatigue, etc. At the least it's time that patients diagnosed with cancer were given the full scope of toxicity issues, especially when it comes to drugs like Adriamycin.
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