Buddy Check 9: Oncotype DX Tests For Recurrence And The Need For Chemo

6:13 PM, Jul 9, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) --  If breast cancer is detected what are your chances for a distant recurrence of the disease? Will you need chemo? Well, there's a test to answer that. It's called Oncotype DX. Our Buddy JC Hayward had it at the time of her surgery.

In March, JC was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common form of breast cancer. In April, she had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor.Now, to prevent a recurrence, JC is undergoing radiation and will take the hormone therapy drug Tamoxifen, but no chemo.

Her treatment plan was determined in part by a diagnostic test ordered by her surgeon called Oncotype DX.

JC's radiation oncologist, Dr. Victoria Croog, told us the test answers the question "is this the type of tumor that needs some additional treatment beyond therapy in order to keep it from coming back, or is this tumor one that would not respond to chemotherapy at all and just benefit from hormone therapy?"

The Oncotype DX test takes place on the pathology specimen taken at the time of JC's surgery. It looks at a group of genes within that sample to see how active they are. The results of the test are scored between 0 and 100. JC's score was 13.

Dr. Croog explained, "...below 17, you're considered in a risk category where chemotherapy would have no impact and you have a well-behaved, less aggressive cancer...mid-30s and above, that's considered high risk range and we feel chemo would have a significant impact on your outcome."

Oncotype DX is not for every woman diagnosed with Early Stage invasive ductal carcinoma. It's primarily intended for those who are Estrogen Receptor Positive; Lymph Node Negative and post menopausal.

"There's not a one size fits all. It's very personalized and will become more so as the field progresses," said Croog.

For a list of questions to ask your doctor about the Oncotype DX test, click here http://www.mybreastcancertreatment.org. And to keep yourself and your Buddy in check, text BUDDYCHECK9 to 25543 for a monthly Early Detection alert thanks to our sponsor: Washington Radiology Associates.

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