Updated biopsies could save breast cancer patients’ lives: study

One in seven women with advanced or recurring breast cancer could benefit from having an up-to-date biopsy to determine if their treatment plans should be changed, a new study has found. Currently, women with breast cancer that spreads or returns are prescribed therapies based on biopsies done when they were first diagnosed, which are typically many years or decades old. The approach can give an outdated picture of the disease since it ignores the possibility that the cancer may have changed over time, making it unresponsive to previously effective treatments.

The finding suggests there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to treating the various stages of breast cancer. Indeed, some treatments that may not have worked on primary tumours may suddenly prove to be effective in fighting cancers that have returned, or spread to vital organs such as the lungs, liver, bones and lymph nodes. Doctors should recognize this possibility and recommend their patients get an updated biopsy so their cancer can be reassessed, the study concluded. Read more…


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