Breast Cancer Patients Could Avoid Side Effects of Chemotherapy


Women who suffer from breast cancer could be saved from the side effects of chemotherapy since new drugs are being tested which have far less negative effects on human health. There is a constant debate among doctors around the world whether chemotherapy really helps their patients taking into account that only after thirty days of treating patients with chemo there is a high percentage who do not survive. It is difficult to tell whether these patients died because of the therapy itself or because of the disease. However, research shows that patients treated with chemotherapy face higher risk of death due to this strong treatment.

Now, some women suffering from breast cancer could be saved from being treated with chemo since a new test for screening 70 genetic variants is being carried out.

Those who will not need medication are women with breast cancer at early stage who were at low risk according to the test.

The problem doctors face with treating patients with chemotherapy is that not only does the medication destroy the cancer cells, but it also destroys the healthy ones. This is the main reason why there are many patients dying because of this treatment. Those who experience positive effects from this treatment do not go through it without any side effects. Most of the women face hair loss and headaches, but also there are some who have chest pains, bleeds and nausea.

The crucial thing about this test is that it can precisely select who are those women who could not benefit from chemotherapy and could be treated a lot better with other drugs.

Dr Laura van ‘t Veer, Head of Diagnostic Oncology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute is the inventor of this famous test. She reported that the test can detect the gene expression of a cancerous cell and this is how oncologists can characterize cancers and treat their patients.

The most important effect from this test would be that it could spare patients from unnecessary over-treatment with chemo, according to Tamara Sandoul, Senior Policy Officer at Breast Cancer Now.

The best prevention is self examination. Find out whether you have these symptoms:

Signs and symptoms:

  • Rash on the skin of the breast or around your nipple
  • Your nipple alters its position
  • You notice your shape and size of your breast changes
  • A small thickening that when you touch it, it feels different from the rest of your breast
  • Dimples appear on your breast skin
  • Nipple discharges liquid without being squeezed
  • You experience pain in the breast or armpit
  • You notice armpit swelling

It is important to notice that although most of the changes might seem scary at first, they are normal and may be benign conditions. However, do not procrastinate to visit your GP as soon as you notice any of these changes.