New chemo may be end of mastectomies

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - SUE DUN­LEVY Na­tional Health Reporter

MASTECTOMIES could be re­placed by chemo­ther­apy and hor­mone treat­ment un­der a rev­o­lu­tion in breast can­cer treat­ment be­ing tri­alled in Aus­tralia.

More than 120 women are be­ing given chemo­ther­apy, aro­matase in­hibitors and hor­mone ther­apy to shrink their tu­mours be­fore surgery.

If suc­cess­ful, it means women would need a less in­va­sive lumpec­tomy to treat their can­cer, rather than a mas­tec­tomy fol­lowed by breast re­con­struc­tion.

The new treat­ment is be­ing tested by Breast Can­cer Tri­als, a group of Aus­tralian doc­tors and re­searchers com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing breast can­cer treat­ment.

Un­der other changes they done decades ago. Since then, new drugs such as tamox­ifen, which block the ef­fects of oe­stro­gen in breast tis­sue, and aro­matase in­hibitors have been added treat­ments.

Doc­tors want to know if the costly five-week ra­dio­ther­apy is still nec­es­sary.

Breast can­cer can spread through the body if it moves into the lymph nodes, but surgery to re­move the nodes causes stiff­ness, swelling and pain in the arm.

This is why doc­tors will test whether small amounts of can­cer will spread if lymph nodes are not re­moved, now there are new chem­i­cal ways to con­trol can­cer.

In yet an­other trial, ex­pen­sive new treat­ment pal­bo­ci­clib, cur­rently used in lat­estage can­cer cases, is be­ing tested in early-stage breast can­cers to see if it de­lays the re­turn of the dis­ease.

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