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Welcome for new breast cancer test
4:00pm Monday 30th September 2013 in News
A BREAST surgeon based in Worcester and a former patient have welcomed a new treatment which could spare women the toxic ordeal of chemotherapy.
Steven Thrush, a consultant based at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester, welcomed the breast cancer test which accurately calculates the chance of a tumour returning after surgery.
From Thursday, doctors will be urged by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to offer women the oncotype DX test to check whether they really need chemotherapy.
Mr Thrush, who is the driving force behind the new breast care unit at 220 Newtown Road on the site of the Worcester hospital, said: “By looking specifically at the genes of the cancer, we are treating that individual and ensuring that the best treatment is given.
“Oncotype DX allows us to identify accurately which women will benefit from having chemotherapy and potentially reduce the number having this important, but toxic treatment.
“At present this is not part of NHS practice and is only used in private hospitals or by individuals who are self-funding their treatment.
“The NICE approval should allow development of this for all,” he said.
However, Mr Thrush said he did not know how long it would take for the test to become available in the Worcester area, but said: “If I had cancer – I would want this test to tell me what treatment is best to protect me.”
Women with the illness may have a low-risk form that is unlikely to spread which means they are being put through chemotherapy needlessly.
The announcement will give a further boost to patients battling breast cancer after it was announced that cancer drug Herceptin, which is used on breast cancer patients, could now be administered in five minutes instead of patients going through an intravenous procedure which can last up to 90 minutes.
It is hoped that this new procedure will save patients and clinicians time and also help to save the NHS vital funds.
Susie Coleman, aged 35, of Warndon Villages, Worcester, who was treated for breast cancer in 2004 and 2005, described chemotherapy as vile and horrible and said it would have been an absolute blessing if she could have had the oncotype DX test when she was going through treatment if it spared her the ordeal.
Mrs Coleman, who got married wearing a wig because she had lost her hair during the treatment, said: “For me chemotherapy felt like jet lag, flu and a hangover rolled into one.
“You feel so unbelievably tired. It would make life a lot easier if you didn’t have to go through it.”
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