By Renee Tessman
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (KARE) - A new study analyzing a test that determines who does or doesn't need chemotherapy shows the process is highly accurate.
When you hear cancer treatment, you think of chemo, but doctors say some breast cancer patients can go without it.
Diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, Rachel Klein, of New Hope, had a double mastectomy last fall, but no chemotherapy. A genomic test called MammaPrint told her she didn't need it.
"It's a blessing to be able to survive and to be able to live your life," Klein said.
The study published in the International Journal of Cancer has shown that 97 percent of women, who were determined to be low risk through the MammaPrint test and therefore didn't need chemo, have lived beyond the five-year mark.
Dr. Michaela Tsai is a medical oncologist with Minnesota Oncology.
"It's huge. I think chemotherapy is the part of breast cancer and all cancer treatment that patients fear the most," she said.
The study also said half of early stage breast cancer patients can safely avoid chemotherapy.
For the MammaPrint test, when a tumor is removed, a sample is taken and sent to a lab.
"It looks at the expression of 70 genes within that tumor that have been associated with a lower or higher risk of breast cancer recurrence," Tsai said.
Patients are then told if they can avoid chemotherapy.
Klein was aable to avoid the fatigue, nausea and hair loss. To her, the new study is reassuring.
"I feel that I made the right decision," she said.
While the MammaPrint test has been around about eight years, Tsai said this new study confirms it is very accurate. MammaPrint is covered by insurance companies, Tsai said.