CHEMO OR NO?
ANCHOR LEAD: SOME WOMEN WITH BREAST CANCER MAY NOT GET MUCH BENEFIT FROM CHEMOTHERAPY, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Once women have had surgery for breast cancer, they must then confront a host of choices regarding radiation, medications and chemotherapy. Now evidence is starting to accumulate that for postmenopausal women, chemotherapy doesn’t provide much benefit. Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, says more evidence is needed.
PARK: Now that we have better hormonal therapies in the postmenopausal population these aromatase inhibitors, that clearly work better than tamoxifen for most of these women, it’s kind of raising the question again are we really deriving any benefit from chemotherapy in the postmenopausal setting, and we don’t know the answer to that yet. But I think there’s a lot of speculation that now, given the advances in hormonal therapies, given that subset of women they won’t derive any benefit and we are doing more harm that good in that population. :27Park says each woman must discuss this with her doctor until more studies clearly establish whether chemotherapy helps older women. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.