Oncotype DX Stories

Deborah C.

Deborah’s Recurrence Score result indicated that her risk of recurrence was low.

A brief mention of the Oncotype DX assay drove Deborah to research it further, and she and her oncologist agreed that she was an appropriate candidate for the test.

When Deborah was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2007, the news was unwelcome but not unexpected.

Deborah, 44, had been having mammograms since she was 30. Her breasts had fibrocystic tissue, along with extensive calcification, which resulted in lump-like calcium deposits. After one of those lumps grew in size over a span of 7 months, she had a lumpectomy and a biopsy, which led to a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Her pathology report showed that the margins were not clear, so Deborah and her surgeon had to decide between additional surgery to clear the margins followed by radiation versus a mastectomy. Because she wanted to minimize the chances of local recurrence, and because there was a high risk that her other breast might also develop cancer, Deborah wanted to have a double mastectomy, and her surgeon agreed.

After surgery, Deborah did research online to help evaluate whether chemotherapy would be beneficial for her. A brief mention of the Oncotype DX assay drove Deborah to research it further, and she and her oncologist agreed that she was an appropriate candidate for the test.

“I was already resisting the idea of having chemo.”

Deborah’s Recurrence Score result was 14, indicating that her risk of recurrence was low and that she would likely derive little benefit from chemotherapy, which came as a relief. She said she was pleased to find out that there was a test that could help her evaluate how beneficial chemotherapy might be for her. "I was already resisting the idea of having chemo, both because it seemed unlikely to be of much benefit, and because it would have undesired and negative side effects," she said. She explained that her Recurrence Score result supported her decision, in consultation with her physician, not to have chemo.

Deborah remains busy with her animal rehabilitation practice, working with cats and dogs that have orthopedic and neurological problems. In fact, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, her first thought was for her patients. "I realized treatment was going to take a lot of time out of my schedule, which may sound strange. But I have a duty and responsibility to my animal patients, and I needed to balance that against my treatment."

Always an avid athlete, Deborah continues to jog, cycle, weight train and swim.

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Name: Deborah C.
Age: 44
Year Diagnosed: 2007
Recurrence Score: 14

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