Women with breast cancer constantly live with the fear that even after undergoing surgery to remove the tumour, the cancer could return. So, they are usually advised to undergo six months of chemotherapy to reduce the chances. Chemotherapy is very debilitating and causes nausea, fatigue and hair loss, besides infertility in some cases.
Now, here’s some good news for the breast cancer patients – new cancer research at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, UK has found a test that can predict if a tumour will return after it is surgially removed. The test called ICH4, could pick out the low-risk tumours and prevent these women from undergoing chemotherapy. The test works by measuring levels of ER, PR, HER2 and Ki67 proteins in the tumour.
“This is a simple, cost-effective test,” the Daily Mail quoted Mitch Dowsett, from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, as saying. “This new research suggests many additional patients could be classified as at low risk, and therefore avoid chemotherapy and its toxic side effects. This could make a big difference to those patients, and also save the NHS money. It is currently being assessed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for widespread use through the NHS.
What remains to be seen now is if the test will be available for use soon enough.