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MPR News

Some breast cancer patients may no longer need chemotherapy

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Mammogram
In this photo taken on May. 6, 2010, radiologist Dr. Gerald Iba checks mammograms at The Elizabeth Center for Cancer Detection in Los Angeles.
Damian Dovarganes | AP 2010

A new study found that chemotherapy may not be necessary to treat early-stage breast cancer in many patients.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer often have the combined treatment of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Now a new nine-year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine determined that for some women, chemo can be replaced with a hormone-blocking drug treatment.

This news will not only bring about changes to medical treatments but also fewer women will experience side effects such as hair loss, pain, vomiting and fatigue associated with chemotherapy.

MPR News host Kerri Miller talked to Dr. Matthew Goetz, medical oncologist and co-chair of the Breast Cancer Genome-Guided Therapy (BEAUTY) study at the Mayo Clinic about what these changes mean for women with breast cancer. They were joined by Dr. Larry Norton, a medical oncologist and Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Use the audio player above to hear the full segment.