Tests could spare chemotherapy

Thousands of breast cancer patients may not need chemotherapy after a new test to determine whether it is necessary was approved by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. Research was carried out by a Hywel Dda health board surgeon.

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Test to determine whether chemotherapy is necessary for breast cancer patients

Thousands of breast cancer patients could avoid gruelling chemotherapy thanks to research carried out by a Welsh surgeon.

Simon Holt, a breast surgeon at Hywel Dda Local Health Board, led a study into a new test to help determine whether a breast cancer patient needs to have the treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved the 'Oncotype DX' test, which is used in people with certain types of genes and who are assessed as being at intermediate risk of their cancer spreading.

The test measures the presence of biological characteristics in the tumour which may show how likely it is to grow and whether it is likely to spread. Combined with other clinical information, the test will help determine which patients are most suitable for chemotherapy.

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