Thursday, October 9, 2008
Medical Reports: Breast Cancer Tool
As many of you know, October is breast cancer awareness month. Now there's a test offered right here in South Florida helping many patients avoid Chemotherapy. Seven's Diana Diaz shows us how this new breast cancer tool works.
WSVN -- Penny Arbulu's job is to take care of everyone else's needs at a busy law firm.
Penny Arbulu: "I can take care of that."
So it was a shock when her doctor told her she had breast cancer and it was her who was going to need help.
Penny Arbulu: "It's one of those things that you really want to block out of your mind and say I feel sorry you have it, but I don't want to deal with it, or invite it into your home."
Like most patients, the part she dreaded the most, Chemo.
Penny Arbulu: "It's probably the most frightening thing for any cancer patient because you see how hard it is on your body and the negative effects that you experience from it."
But Doctor Sandra Franco of the Breast Cancer Center at Memorial Regional Hospital told Penny about a test that could help.
Dr. Sandra Franco, Memorial Regional Hospital Breast Cancer Ctr.: "It's a new technique we're using. What we're doing is analyzing the genes on a patient's tumor."
The test is called Oncotype DX. Following surgery, the patient's tumor is sent to a lab where the genes of the tumor are analyzed. If it's a non-aggressive tumor, meaning the patient's chances of the cancer coming back are low, the patient may not need chemo.
Dr. Sandra Franco: "What this test does is gives us an extra tool to try and better define who will benefit
Not everyone is a good candidate for this test. It's only effective if the cancer is caught early and hasn't spread to the lymph nodes.
Penny took the test and got good news. She didn't need chemo. So she returned to work quickly and didn't miss her son's high school graduation.
Penny Arbulu: "We did all the band competitions, we did the band banquets, we did all his senior awards."
Penny is now cancer-free and she wants all women to know they have choices when it comes to beating breast cancer.
Penny did undergo radiation treatment and is now taking the drug Tamoxifen for five years. So far, the Oncotype DX test has spared 30 percent of patients from having chemotherapy.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Memorial Breast Cancer Center
Dr. Sandra Franco