Over 8,000 breast cancer researchers and clinicians attended the San Antonio Breast Cancer
Symposium meeting in December 2015. Here are some of the key highlights that I though would be important to our breast cancer patients.
1. Lumpectomy and Radiation Therapy Is Better Than Mastectomy
In a 10 year study of 37,000 women in the Netherlands, the relative risk of death was 20% lower in women who underwent lumpectomy and radiation therapy versus mastectomy alone. The 10 year overall survival was 76.8% with lumpectomy and radiation therapy versus only 59.7% with mastectomy alone. Importantly, the overall survival benefits held even for women who had lymph node positive disease.
- With Lumpectomy and Radiation Therapy, It’s a Good Idea to Stop Smoking
Over 40,000 women were studied by the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group. The results were clear cut-those women who underwent lumpectomy and radiation therapy but continued to smoke were at increased risk for lung cancer and heart disease.
The study was somewhat dated as the median time to entry into the study was 1983. And breast radiation therapy has improved dramatically over 30 years. But I believe these results still ring true.
3. Skipping Chemotherapy Altogether in Postmenopausal Women with Breast Cancer
Post-menopausal women with the so-called luminal A subtype breast cancer can consider skipping chemotherapy altogether and still expect a good prognosis even when node positive (ER/PR positive, HER-2 negative). Analysis of the “old” Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group 77B Trial finally confirmed what many clinicians already thought: Patients with low risk breast cancer do not need chemotherapy.
4. Heart Medications Protect against Herceptin Damage
In the MANICORE study, women taking both the beta-blocker bisoprolol (Concor) and the ACE inhibitor perindopril(Converyl, Aceon) preserved heart function. The study may be a life saver for many of those breast cancer patients who take Herceptin for months. Herceptin is known to cause heart damage.
5. Preventing Breast Cancer Recurrence In Women with DCIS: Anastrozole May Be Just As Good As Tamoxifen
The IBIS DCIS Trial and the NRG/Oncology/ NSABP-35 trial showed that the drugs are equally effective. Anastrozole is my choice because of its fewer side effects.
Be sure that you consider these 5 facts when you are making decisions about the treatment plan that is best for you. The goal should be do treat your breast cancer without causing further health issues.
If you have any questions about your breast cancer treatment, please feel free to call me, Dr. Edward Hughes, at 855-DAYTON1