Utah Breast Cancer Support Group

Non-denominational breast cancer support group in Utah for young women in their 20's, 30's and 40's. Friends by Chance. Sisters by Choice.

Young Survivor Sisters is a free, non-denominational breast cancer support group for women living in Utah who are in their 20's, 30's and 40's. We've been supporting each other like sisters since 2003 and welcome your participation. Together We Survive! To join the conversation, please join our Facebook Page

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New breast cancer test lets doctors customize care for patients

KSL news story about breast cancer

New breast cancer test lets doctors customize care for patients

New breast cancer test lets doctors customize care for patients
August 27th, 2009 @ 10:30pm
By Jed Boal
SALT LAKE CITY -- When a doctor tells a woman she has breast cancer, the news can be overwhelming. But oncologists now have a new test that lets breast cancer patients make more personalized decisions about their treatment.

Chandy Bronson is a breast cancer survivor.

"We pulled through it, but it was really difficult," she said.

Today Bronson is healthy, happy and in remission. Last October, when she found out the lump in her breast was cancerous, she was devastated and had to break the news to her four boys.


Chandy Bronson meets with her doctor
"That was the hardest part about this whole situation, telling your little kids that you have cancer. Of course they all thought, is mom going to die?" Bronson said.

There were many tough questions, but her oncologist, Dr. William Nibley, used a new test called Oncotype DX to answer questions about treatment.

The test uncovers the genetic makeup of a patient's tumor to determine the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence and whether the patient will respond to chemotherapy.

"We can actually look at each individual's tumor, specifically, based on the genetics of the tumor. We can tell them more specifically how their tumor is going to behave and what treatments will be appropriate for them," Nibley said.

That's valuable information, especially since 96 percent of stage one breast cancer patients do not benefit from chemotherapy, yet a majority pursue the costly and toxic treatment anyway. For a small group of patients there's a great benefit from chemo; the majority can avoid needless treatment.

"We're able to personalize this recommendation," Nibley said. "So, the people who get chemotherapy, it's much more effective for them."

When doctors can customize treatment for breast cancer patients, they can save more lives.

"We're able to take the therapies that we have and really apply them to the people who need them the most," Nibley said.

Bronson was cancer-free after surgery, but the test told her the tumor was more aggressive than they originally thought, that he needed treatment and she would respond to chemo.

"Because of this test, it made making that decision much easier to do chemo radiation. I wasn't guessing," Bronson said.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women living in Salt Lake County. Statewide, more than 1,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. In the past, the prognosis for breast cancer was dependent on the size and stage of the tumor.

When Bronson started to lose her hair during chemotherapy, 23 boys and men--friends and family--shaved their heads with her. That support was crucial, but so was the Oncotype DX test.

"It's a personal test that shows: Yes, you're going to need additional treatment, or no, you're not going to need additional treatment. Knowledge is power, and this was a big piece of information for me," Bronson said.

For the cancer doctors, Nibley says they can be more effective with treatment. They can also tell many patients who dread chemo they won't need it.

Intermountain Healthcare now will submit a study on how this test changed the therapy for a large group of patients. It will be presented at a San Antonio Breast Cancer convention, the biggest worldwide meeting of its kind.

E-mail: jboal@ksl.com

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Books Available

Ginny and I (Erin) have collected a bunch of really great breast cancer related books and would love to share them with anyone interested in reading...Just leave a comment here on the blog and we'll arrange getting you the book!

Here's the list:

Finding the “CAN” in Cancer
By Nancy Emerson, Pam Leight, Susan Boonan and Terri Schinazi

Fighting for our future- How Young Women Find Strength, Hope, and Courage While Taking Control of Breast Cancer-
Forward by Ann Curry of the Today Show
By Beth Murphy

Voices of Breast Cancer- The Haling Companion: Stories for Courage, Comfort & Strength
Edited by the Healing Project

Just a Lump in the Road- Reflections of Young Breast Cancer Survivors
By Debbie Leifert, Gina Castronova, Dr. Tamara Brennan, Jackie Ehrilich, Cindy Goldberg, & Donna Palmisciano

Breast Cancer Survivor Fitness Plan
By Carolyn M. Kaelin, M.D., M.P.H.

Facing the Mirror With Cancer- A Guide to using Make-up to Make a Difference
By Lori Ovitz and Joanne Kabak

Breast Cancer Husband-- How to Help your Wife and (Yourself) Through Diagnosis, Treatment, & Beyond
By Marc Silver

First You Cry- The Classic Inspiring Story of One Woman’s Triumph Over Breast Cancer
By Betty Rollin

The Middle Place- A Memoir of Kelly’s battle with breast cancer
By Kelly Corrigan

Crazy, Sexy, Cancer Tips-
By Kris Carr--Forward by Sheryl Crow

Tools & Tips From the Trenches- Heartfelt Advice for Survivors Families & Friends
By Mary Olsen Kelly

Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Soul
By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, & Mary Olsen Kelly

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