New Test Eliminates Unnecessary Chemotherapy

Wednesday, December 14 2011

 The Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) is pleased by the recent announcement that the Government of Ontario will fund a molecular test that can eliminate unnecessary chemotherapy for breast cancer patients. As the first and only province to fund it, the new test, called an Oncotype DX test, analyzes 21 genes that can help predict if a breast cancer is likely to return within the next decade. From this assessment, it enables doctors and patients to determine whether chemotherapy is needed as part of the patient’s treatment plan. Outside of Ontario, Canadian patients can only access this test by registering in clinical trials in select locations. The alternative is to travel to California and pay $3,957 USD for the test.

“Every year, more than 12,000 Canadian women are unable to make an informed choice about undergoing chemotherapy. For these patients with estrogen-receptor positive tumours without cancerous lymph nodes, it has been impossible to tell who needs chemotherapy and which patients can avoid it. This new test will not only provide some clarity for women facing treatment decisions, it will save patients the health and financial burden of undergoing chemotherapy,” said Cathy Ammendolea, President of CBCN’s Board of Directors.  Genomic Health developed the Oncotype DX test and is based in Redwood City, California. Founded in 2000, they are committed to improving the quality of cancer treatment decisions through research, development and commercialization of genomic-based clinical laboratory services.  CBCN is a survivor-directed, national network of organizations and individuals. CBCN is a national link between all groups and individuals concerned about breast cancer, and represents the concerns of all Canadians affected by breast cancer and those at risk.   

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