Treating cancer differently: Report suggests some women can opt out of chemotherapy
MACON, Ga. -- Women battling breast cancer are now able to opt out of chemotherapy to avoid its severe side effects.
It’s a new breakthrough in medical research that changes the way doctors approach treatment for women with breast cancer.
Macon resident McKenzie Lawyer-Davies told WGXA one the scariest moments of her life started like a premonition.
“When my husband came home I simply said, 'I think I might get sick and he asked what do you mean. I said I don’t know cancer?' That was the word for word conversation, and two weeks later I found the lump, and two weeks later it came back positive for breast cancer,” shared Lawyer-Davies.
In 2016, Davies decided to fight to live for her family.
“I lost my hair. I continued losing a lot of weight and got sicker and sicker,” Lawyer-Davies shared.
This year, doctors across the country, including here in Middle Georgia, learned in a new report that a genetic test thought to help women escape the harmful effects of chemo was proven to do what they always believed.
“Now this data has been prospectively looked at over several thousands of women over years and it said what we thought is true,” said Dr. Paul Dale, Medical Director of Medical Center Navicent Health Cancer Center/Surgical Oncology.
New data by the American Society of Clinical Oncology showed 70 percent of women with early stage breast cancer diagnoses might not need chemotherapy as a part of treatment.
“This new study just tells us that we are doing the right thing. We are not risking lives by not giving chemo therapy. We are able to choose the women who it will benefit and give it to them,” Dale said.
Lawyer-Davies’s cancer was aggressive and fast growing. Based on test results, opting out of chemotherapy treatment wasn’t an option for her.
“We know about a quarter of a million-people going to get diagnosed with breast cancer. Nationwide, we know about 50,000 women are going to die from breast cancer this year,” Dale said.
Dr. Dale said like Laywer-Davies, the journey for women seeking treatment at the Peyton Anderson Cancer Center, Navicent Health begins like most.
“It’s allowing us to customize patients care especially in the regard to breast cancer and even in other cancers,” he said.
Lawyer-Davies said although genetic testing didn’t help her, she encourages others to take advantage of it if they can.