Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Perfect Ten

     If you are just stopping in, this is the nineteenth post in my 31 Day Series:  I Wear Pink.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 18, 2009.   This series is about my journey with breast cancer.  You can find the previous posts here.

Day 19:  A Perfect Ten
     
     Gone are the days when every woman with breast cancer has a radical mastectomy.  Not all breast cancer is the same.  Different breast cancers require different treatments.  Every advance in breast cancer prevention and care has been because of research based on brave women willing to take part in clinical studies.  
     At the post op appointment with the breast surgeon, I had been invited to participate in the TAILOR X study.  Part of the study included using an oncotype dx test.  An oncotype test looks at the activity of certain genes within the tumor sample and assigns a numerical value to the likelihood that invasive breast cancer will return.  It is not genetic testing to look at a person's inherited traits.  Oncotype testing looks at genes and their activity in breast tumor tissue within the cancer itself.  
     According to the Susan F. Komen for the Cure website, the Oncotype DX breast cancer test has changed the treatment plan for many women.  Of the women in the study there was a 28% reduction in the use of chemotherapy as a result of the test.  Also 4% of women had chemotherapy added to hormonal therapy as a result of the test.  These women were initially considered to be low risk but were reclassified as high risk based on their Recurrence Score.
     In the TAILOR X study, scores of 26+ would receive hormone therapy and chemotherapy.  Scores of 11-25 would be randomly assigned to hormone therapy alone or hormone therapy with chemotherapy.  Scores of 10 or less would have hormone therapy. 
     Although I agreed to participate in the study, I prayed that I would not be in the randomized group.  I wanted a clear cut direction.  I would have been nervous that I had not done all that I needed to do to stay healthy if I was in the randomized group and did not have chemo.  I reconciled myself to a higher number and chemotherapy.  I looked at wigs online trying to determine if I could do a wig or should just go with a scarf.  I worried over losing my hair.  Still, I hoped for a low number.
     My husband, Pat came with me to meet my newest doctor, the oncologist.  The oncologist told us that my Oncotype Recurrence Score was 10.   The treatment for scores of 10 or less - hormone therapy, but not chemotherapy.  I hadn't even realized that I was holding my breath until it exploded out of me in a huge sigh of relief.  Not only was I not in the randomized group, I was in the hormone therapy without chemo group.   Pat assured me that he had always known that I was a perfect ten.  Can you see why I love that man?
Source- Bo Derek in the movie 10
     The oncologist completed his exam and discussed hormone therapy after radiation.  Radiation would be for five days a week for six weeks.  My next new doctor would be the radiologist.    
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