Medical Minute 10-8: Predicting the Future of Breast Cancer

By: Melissa Medalie Email
By: Melissa Medalie Email

When Carol Berlin was diagnosed with breast cancer in her left breast, her doctor gave her advice.

"He said, 'Well my opinion would be to have a double mastectomy,' and I was like, 'A double mastectomy?' I was a little stunned," said
Carol Berlin.

She's glad she listened. During the surgery, doctors also found cancer in her right breast. Her next worry: Will it come back? Doctor Paul Baron says two new tests help answer that question and tell patients if chemo will help.

"A few years back, virtually every patient who had a cancer that was a centimeter or bigger was getting chemotherapy, but you only really helped 3 percent of those patients," said Paul Baron, M.D., Surgical Oncologist Roper St. Francis Hospital in Charleston, S.C.

Mammaprint looks at 70 different genes to predict how aggressive it is.

"It's very accurate in predicting those patients that have a high recurrence risk and those that have a low recurrence risk," said
Paul Baron, M.D.

Another test -- oncotype d-x -- looks at 21 genes. It gives patients a risk percentage and tells them if chemo will improve their odds.

It helped Carol make a crucial decision: Chemo or no chemo?

"The one thing that I was afraid of was chemotherapy, of just not seeing, living my life," she said.

Her recurrence risk was 12%. Chemo would not help much, if at all.
Carol Berlin

"Everything really just turned out great."

Carol's in remission now and grateful she got here using treatment designed just for her.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Roper St. Francis Healthcare Physician Referral Line Charleston, SC(800) 863-2273

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