This Medical video looks into ways to eliminate unnecessary chemotherapy treatment.
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Jennifer Matthews: Doris Webber's breast cancer surgery was tough. Then came chemotherapy, with its nausea, fatigue and hair loss. Doris Webber: It's just a horrible thing to have to go through. Jennifer Matthews: Long term risks of chemotherapy include the possibility of leukemia and heart damage. Researchers hope a new technique called gene expression profiling will eliminate the need for chemo for some women. This chip measures the activity of each gene in a cancerous tumor. It allows doctors to see how the genes will respond to hormonal therapy. Dr. Matthew Ellis: That would allow us to perhaps use other treatments such as chemotherapy in a more targeted manner, reserving them for those patients who have hormone therapy resistant disease. Jennifer Matthews: The technique may not help Doris, but by profiling the genes from her tumor and those of other women, researchers are able to refine the technique. Doris Webber: I hope that this will help others. Jennifer Matthews: Researchers say there's still more testing to be done. Dr. Matthew Ellis: But I would submit to you that in five years time we will be using these kinds of information to individualize patient care. Jennifer Matthews: Some comfort to Doris, who hopes it will keep other women from having to go through what she has. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.