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Biomarkers Help Target Treatment Options for Early Breast Cancer

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer may find the treatment options offered to them differ from those recommended to a friend or acquaintance even if the stage of the disease is the same. This is simply because not all breast cancers are alike and tumor type may vary. Biomarkers found in tumors that may, to a patient seem very similar, could indicate very different treatment requirements. With that in mind, the American Society for Clinical Oncology recently released new guidelines related to early breast cancer biomarkers.

Researchers have uncovered a number of different biomarkers in breast cancer tumors. These biomarkers indicate tumors that may react very differently to specific types of treatment, such as particular chemotherapy drugs. Uncovering the biomarkers and treating the disease appropriately can lead to faster, more effective treatment based on the tumor type. The new guidelines simply recommend biomarker testing in early breast cancer and to act accordingly based on the results.

Breast cancer affects more than 246,000 American women each year. Some 40,000 women die from the disease. Advances in detection, treatment and overall understanding of the disease over the past few decades have dramatically improved survival rates. One of those advancements has been the discovery of the biomarkers. By enabling doctors to more readily target specific types of breast cancer, biomarker testing may lead to more effective treatments and improved outcomes for some patients.

All women are at risk for the development of breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes. While mammograms on a routine basis are only recommended starting in middle age, women will found routine physical examinations and self-exams can help with early detection. Women who are concerned about breast cancer should speak with their healthcare providers about their personal risks. Women who are diagnosed with the disease should speak with their doctors about all treatment options, their risks and potential benefits.



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