Because Gail wasn’t certain about the best treatment for her breast cancer, her doctor recommended that she take the Oncotype DX test.
When Gail, a retired medical assistant, was diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive, lymph node-negative breast cancer last December, she was upset by the diagnosis but not very surprised since many of her friends and family have also faced breast cancer.
At first Gail only wanted to take radiation and hormonal therapy because her tumor was small, but her doctor urged her to consider adding chemotherapy to her treatment plan. Because Gail wasn’t certain about the best treatment for her breast cancer, her doctor recommended that she take the Oncotype DX test. This test looks at the activity of 21 genes within a woman’s breast tumor to better understand how her individual cancer is behaving.
“I wanted to do it [the test] because I knew it would help me make a treatment plan with my doctor.”
When Gail learned about the test, she remembers that, “I wanted to do it because I knew it would help me make a treatment plan with my doctor.” Oncotype DX measures an individual woman’s chances of benefiting from chemotherapy, as well as the likelihood that her cancer will return or spread in the future. Having this information was important to Gail, since she knew that not all women will benefit from chemotherapy.
Gail’s test results were in the intermediate range, indicating that her cancer was somewhat more likely to return in the future than the cancers of women in the low-risk group. Gail recalls that, “I had made up my mind not to take the chemo, but I also wanted to do everything I could to try and prevent the cancer from returning. So when I saw the results, I knew what I needed to do and felt more confident about my decision to add chemotherapy to my hormonal treatment.”
Today, Gail has completed both her chemotherapy and her radiation treatment. She continues to take her daily hormonal treatment and will do so for five years. She is back to feeling good and enjoys spending time with her new husband, Alphonse, and caring for her mother. In her spare time, Gail loves window-shopping and follows all the fashion trends—she even had her wig cut to look just like Rihanna!
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