People diagnosed with early breast cancer sometimes forego chemotherapy if chances appear low that tumors will spread to other parts of the body. A genetic testing option could help patients in Arizona and their health care providers make the decision about chemotherapy. However, genetic results do not always produce the same results as traditional methods for predicting the metastatic potential of tumors.
A recent European study that involved 6,693 patients sought to identify the outcomes for patients who based their decisions on genetic testing. For the portion of patients who did not get chemotherapy after genetic testing indicated a low risk of cancer spread but traditional tests showed a high risk, 94.8 percent did not have metastatic cancer after five years. Among those who chose to get chemotherapy even when genetic testing showed a low risk, 96.7 percent avoided the spread of cancer after five years.
Although the difference in results was small, one physician said that the slim advantage experienced by the group who got chemotherapy should not be discounted. Other oncologists agreed and added that individual patients might find the small advantage worth the toxicity and expense of chemotherapy.
A person and a physician should consider many factors before making cancer treatment decisions. When a patient believes that they have been harmed due to an improper diagnosis, a medical malpractice lawsuit might be an option. An attorney could examine the records to see if the physician failed to meet the accepted standards of care. The lawyer could obtain expert testimony through an independent physician.