Oncotype DX Stories

Invasive Breast Cancer

Diane S.

She was able to keep her long hair, which she's spent 23 years growing.

Diane’s physician turned to Oncotype DX for a genomic analysis of her disease.

A commercial airline pilot with 27 years of experience, 50-year-old Diane is no stranger to making difficult decisions. Yet in December 2005, when she discovered a small lump in her left breast during a self-examination, she found herself on a critical quest for assistance and answers.

An inconclusive mammogram led to an ultrasound, which revealed small areas of concern. A tissue biopsy confirmed her worst fears. Rather than one sizable tumor, Diane’s cancer took the form of many tiny tumors scattered within a 2 ½-inch area of her breast. She was immediately treated with a mastectomy and breast reconstruction in mid-January 2006.

“Because I am petite, there was concern that I would be less able to withstand the serious side effects of chemotherapy.”

More tough questions followed. Although the tumors themselves were very small, the affected site was quite large, so Diane’s physician could not confidently rule out the need for chemotherapy based on standard measures such as tumor size and grade. Diane worried about her future health and job security. "Because I am petite, there was concern that I would be less able to withstand the serious side effects of chemotherapy," said Diane. "In addition, airlines vigilantly monitor the health of their pilots, and a diagnosis of cancer can mean a permanent suspension from flying."

In his search for information, Diane’s physician turned to Oncotype DX for a genomic analysis of her disease. About a week later, Diane learned that her Recurrence Score result was 13, suggesting that she has a lower risk of recurrence. In discussions with her physician, she felt more confident that she could avoid the chemotherapy and its side effects without increasing the likelihood of recurrence, and she was able to continue her career and active lifestyle. Also, she was able to keep her long hair, which she's spent 23 years growing.

“Thirteen is my lucky number now," Diane stated.

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Name: Diane S.
Age: 50
Year Diagnosed: 2005
Recurrence Score: 13

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