The American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) made major headlines recently because of the new guidelines for treatment for certain kinds of breast cancer.
I spoke with Dr. Uchenna Njiaju an Oncologist with UCHealth Memorial who tells me “This is huge news for anyone involved in breast cancer care, patients who have breast cancer and the people who treat them. Just to put it in perspective we have over 260,000 new cases of breast cancer we’re expecting to diagnose in 2018 and basically half of patients who are diagnosed would fall in the category of who we might use this genetic test for.”
Big news like this hasn’t come often in the world of breast cancer, and when it does it’s significant. Dr. Njiaju tells me she first saw the news from ASCO on social media and knew instantly it was a game changer.
“I have ASCO on my social media feed, when it broke and I saw my colleagues on twitter talking and I said ‘oh my goodness this is big’. I would argue this is maybe only second to the Z11 trial that we have heard about in the past ten years as far as breast cancer is concerned.”
While the new recommendations won’t spare all women diagnosed with breast cancer from chemotherapy and it’s challenges, it will help a good number of women with newly diagnosed cases of certain kinds of breast cancer be spared chemo says Dr. Njiaju.
“Anybody who is falling in a category where their breast cancer is HER2-negative and they are estrogen and progesterone positive, and their lymph nodes are negative should have a discussion with their oncologist to see if these new recommendations apply. Of those 260,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed this year, about 70 percent of those may fall in that category where this clinical trial would apply.”