September 9, 2015 – No Help


Anchor lead:  Continuing chemotherapy in women whose breast cancer has spread may not help, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Many women with metastatic breast cancer will not respond to continued use of chemotherapy and may actually suffer more in terms of quality of life, yet another study has found.  Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the findings.

Park: Giving chemotherapy at the third, fourth, fifth line therapy sometimes, when a patient is not doing well and probably isn’t going to get any benefit, this really nails it that they’re not getting benefit, especially in terms of quality of life. One of the things we know in metastatic breast cancer is that by and large this is not a curable situation.  Everyone really should go through with every single metastatic breast cancer patient what are the goals of therapy? Because it’s not curative.  Because of that we really have to walk this tightrope between chance of benefit and side effects.  :30

Park says oncologists need to be sensitive to a woman’s own preferences and hopes that a frank appraisal of likely risks and benefits will be informative in her decision making.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.