Early Breast Cancer? Consider Non-toxic Therapies

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“New findings from the groundbreaking TAILORx trial, show no benefit from chemotherapy for 70 percent of women with the most common type of breast cancer…”

The phrase “less is more” runs through many of the blogs posted on PeopleBeatingCancer.com. All newly diagnosed breast cancer patients face the challenge of more or less treatment. The challenge is that convetional oncology often pushes chemotherapy as insurance against future relapse. So historically early stage breast cancer patients may have undergone chemotherapy in hopes of reducing their risk of breast cancer relapse.

The article linked and excerpted below is another example of this type of practice specically for breast cancer patients. The bottom line is “…the study found that for women with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative, axillary lymph node-negative breast cancer, treatment with chemotherapy and hormone therapy after surgery is not more beneficial than treatment with hormone therapy alone…”

Depending on your diagnosis and stage, you can forgo chemotherapy and know that you are not increasing your risk of relapse.

As a long-term cancer survivor myself, I consider life after diagnosis and active therapy to be just as important as the active therapy itself.  There are a host of evidenced-based, non-toxic therapies such as nutrition, nutritional supplements and lifestyle therapies that have been shown to reduce the risk of a breast cancer relapse.

Have you been diagnosed with early stage hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative, axillary lymph node-negative breast cancer? Please scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

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Most women with early breast cancer do not benefit from chemotherapy, TAILORx trial finds

“New findings from the groundbreaking Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment (Rx), or TAILORx trial, show no benefit from chemotherapy for 70 percent of women with the most common type of breast cancer. The study found that for women with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative, axillary lymph node-negative breast cancer, treatment with chemotherapy and hormone therapy after surgery is not more beneficial than treatment with hormone therapy alone. The new data, released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago, will help inform treatment decisions for many women with early-stage breast cancer…

“The new results from TAILORx give clinicians high-quality data to inform personalized treatment recommendations for women,” said lead author Joseph A. Sparano, M.D…

TAILORx, a phase 3 clinical trial, opened in 2006 and was designed to provide an evidence-based answer to the question of whether hormone therapy alone is not inferior to hormone therapy plus chemotherapy. The trial used a molecular test (Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score) that assesses the expression of 21 genes associated with breast cancer recurrence to assign women with early-stage, HR-positive, HER2-negative, axillary lymph node-negative breast cancer to the most appropriate and effective post-operative treatment. The trial enrolled 10,273 women with this type of breast cancer at 1,182 sites in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and Peru…

Women in the trial who had a score in the intermediate range (11-25) were randomly assigned to receive hormone therapy alone or hormone therapy with adjuvant chemotherapy. The goal was to assess whether women who received hormone therapy alone had outcomes that were as good as those among women who received chemotherapy in addition to hormone therapy…

The researchers found that the primary endpoint of the trial, invasive disease-free survival — the proportion of women who had not died or developed a recurrence or a second primary cancer — was very similar in both groups. Five years after treatment, the rate of invasive disease-free survival was 92.8 percent for those who had hormone therapy alone and 93.1 percent for those who also had chemotherapy. At nine years, the rate was 83.3 percent for those with hormone therapy alone and 84.3 percent for the group that had both therapies. None of these differences were considered statistically significant.

The rates of overall survival were also very similar in the two groups. At five years, the overall survival rate was 98.0 percent for those who received hormone therapy alone and 98.1 percent for those who received both therapies, and at nine years the respective overall survival rates were 93.9 percent and 93.8 percent…

According to the authors, the new findings suggest that chemotherapy may be avoided in about 70 percent of women with HR-positive, HER2-negative, node-negative breast cancer:

  • older than 50 and with a recurrence score of 11-25 (45 percent)
  • any age with a recurrence score of 0-10 (16 percent)
  • 50 years old or younger with a recurrence score of 11-15 (8 percent)

The findings suggest that chemotherapy may be considered for the remaining 30 percent of women with HR-positive, HER2-negative, node-negative breast cancer:

  • any age with a recurrence score of 26-100 (17 percent)
  • 50 years old or younger with a recurrence score of 16-25 (14 percent)

The new results demonstrate that chemotherapy is not beneficial for most women in the intermediate-risk group. This data adds to findings from a TAILORx analysis published in 2015 that provided prospective evidence that the gene expression test could identify women with a low risk of recurrence who could be spared chemotherapy…

There is one caveat to the new findings. When the researchers analyzed premenopausal women and those younger than 50 years old at the higher end of the intermediate-risk range (16-25) separately, the results showed there may be a small benefit from chemotherapy, and thus these women should consider chemotherapy with their doctor. However, it is unclear if this benefit is due to the effect of chemotherapy or to endocrine suppression caused by chemotherapy-induced menopause…

More Women With Breast Cancer May Soon Be Skipping Chemo. Here’s Why

“…But Lacetti was reticent about getting the toxic therapy. “I saw my sister suffer, I saw my brother suffer, and I didn’t know if that’s what I wanted to do,” she says.

Her doctor, Dr. Joseph Sparano, associate director of clinical research at Albert Einstein Cancer Center at Montefiore, happened to be heading up a large study investigating whether women like Lacetti could safely avoid getting chemotherapy. He was comparing women who had been treated with surgery or radiation who were then only given hormonal therapies (that block hormones like estrogen, which fuel tumor growth), to women who received both hormone therapies and chemotherapy. Lacetti was eager to join to help doctors learn more about whether chemo was really necessary for people like her.

Nearly 10 years later, Lacetti knows she made the right decision. She was randomly assigned, as she had hoped, to the hormonal therapy group, so she never received chemotherapy. She and the more than 10,000 other women from around the country who participated in the trial showed that for most women with early-stage breast cancer, chemotherapy does not provide any additional benefit in reducing recurrence, or from dying of the disease…”

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