The future of breast cancer treatment just got brighter, thanks to recently published study results that support data-driven care decisions and the use of precision medicine (aka personalized medicine).
The findings of this important study suggest that genetic testing can help guide treatment decisions so that some women with breast cancer might avoid the difficult journey of chemotherapy.
One of the best resources I’ve found that explains the results most thoroughly is a radio show on WAMU’s 1A, with NPR. In it, host Joshua Johnson, Kaiser Health News (KHN) senior correspondent Liz Szabo, and two cancer experts—one an author of the study—discuss study specifics, current trends in breast cancer treatment, and what the results may mean for future care.
I was moved by the calls and other communications from listeners who described their own experiences with breast cancer. Two that stood out for me: one woman said she was so overwhelmed by the flood of information that she decided she might not be “smart enough” to have cancer; and a man described how he and his wife had both been treated for breast cancer at the same time—with mastectomies a week apart.
As I listened, my heart was filled with the women I love who have either had breast cancer or are dealing with it now. Certainly, others whom I love may be diagnosed in the future, and one of them could be me.
Being informed and empowered in healthcare decisions is so important. As is the support that we offer to one another.
If you have a spare 35-40 minutes (it says it’s 47 minutes and change, but it didn’t seem that long), I encourage you to listen to this excellent program. It also clarifies the study cohort, and why there is a very specific population of women with breast cancer for whom the findings may apply: