Your Tumor’s Fingerprints

You hear the words “you have breast cancer” and your mind is on overload as you are filled with anxiety and questions.

How big is it? What stage is it? Will I need chemo? Will I lose my hair? Will I lose my breasts? Will it come back after treatment? Who can I talk to that will understand any of this? I want to know more! Unlocking the anxiety was so critical for me when I was diagnosed, and I felt others would feel the same way. I wanted to empower myself with as much information about my tumor, my diagnosis, my prognosis, and my risk of recurrence. I was overwhelmed with so much anxiety and I just wanted to know everything about my walnut-sized tumor and what this all meant!

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Let’s start at the beginning.

So, I wanted to know everything about my breast cancer, inside and out. What type of cancer is it? What made it grow? What stage is it? What grade is it? Does the size really matter? How aggressive is the tumor? How will my doctor determine treatment?

After your biopsy or surgery, your doctor will consider your clinical factors and rely on your pathology report which contains critical information about your tumor. This report includes your tumor size, the tumor grade, lymph node involvement, hormone receptor status and cancer stage. Yes, a lot of new terms to learn and understand but once you talk to your doctor about the personality of your tumor it will all start to come together. The new terms will start to make sense. Believe me, I felt I was learning a whole new language when I was first diagnosed, but everyone processes information differently and at their individual pace. So about the tumor…

You are unique. So is your tumor.

Your tumor is very unique and has its own set of fingerprints. There are tests to help us understand the personality of our tumors called genomic assays. These tests analyze the activity of certain genes in early-stage breast cancer. This is also using ‘precision medicine’ –dissecting the tumor down to the microscopic level to see unique characteristics which translates into actionable information—which helps doctors use specific information to make medical decisions in your best interest. By gaining a deeper, molecular view into your cancer, your doctors will have a better idea on how your body is going to respond to different treatments and they will be able to provide you with critical information about your diagnosis and risk of recurrence. To me, this was so important as I felt so overwhelmed with uncertainty.

Introducing MammaPrint

I learned about a test called MammaPrint. It is an early-stage personalized breast cancer test that looks at the genomic behavior of YOUR tumor to help guide treatment decisions for both chemotherapy and endocrine therapy. The test will result with either a genomic Low Risk (low benefit to chemo would outweigh the risk and long-term side effects) or a genomic High Risk (chemotherapy will help reduce your risk of cancer coming back). It can also help identify if extended endocrine (hormone) therapy is needed (Ultra Low Risk). MammaPrint can be used on any early-stage patient, regardless of age or ethnicity, with up to 3+ lymph nodes, 5cm or less and is FDA cleared. I had a deep discussion with my doctor, and we made the decision together to order it for me.

How this can guide therapy.

Combining this information with clinical factors (like your cancer stage or tumor size), your doctors can help you decide on the most appropriate and effective therapy. You may find out you don’t need radical treatments that often come with life-long side effects. MammaPrint is one of the genomic tests that can help give your doctors a more accurate, comprehensive overview of your tumor’s behavior, so you can make better decisions throughout your journey to recovery. Ask your doctor which genomic test is best for you.

The products discussed as well as the opinions of each patient testimonial are not meant to endorse or recommend any product, but rather to be a depiction of the individual patient experience. The physicians who support Learn Look Locate suggest you speak with your provider for personalized treatment.

Page is supported by a grant from Agendia.

To know more about MammaPrint, visit:
KnowYourBreastCancer

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