Some Young Women Don’t Benefit from Chemotherapy

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Getting the best breast cancer treatment can feel like a balancing act: you want to do as much as you can to get rid of the cancer and lower the risk of it coming back. But you'd like to avoid uncomfortable side effects that might lower your quality of life.

Since breast cancer in younger women tends to be more aggressive and harder to treat, making chemotherapy part of the treatment plan might seem like a good thing to do. Still, a study found that chemotherapy offers no real benefits for younger women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.

Younger women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer did benefit from chemotherapy.

The researchers looked at the results of several previous studies to reach their conclusions.

The key to having the best possible outcome for younger women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer is to reduce the amount estrogen and progesterone in the body. This can be done by:

  • medicines or radiation treatments that shut down the ovaries where the hormones primarily are produced
  • surgical removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy)
  • medicines that block the production of hormones OR block the effect of hormones on breast tissue

If you're a younger woman diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, talk to your doctor about this study. Depending on your unique situation, chemotherapy may still be an important part of your treatment plan. Together, you and your doctor can develop the treatment plan that's best for YOU.

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