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Study concludes that most early-stage breast cancer patients do not need chemotherapy

Breast cancer medical malpractice occurs with delayed diagnosis or treatment

As a Houston, Texas attorney focusing on medical malpractice cases, I have handled many cases where a physician missed or delayed a diagnosis of cancer. Many types of cancer are curable if they are diagnosed and treated early. A delay of months is sometimes equivalent to a death sentence.

I have handled medical negligence cases involving breast cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer, and gallbladder cancer.

When a client hires Painter Law Firm to investigate a cancer medical malpractice case, we look at both the timeliness of the diagnosis and whether the treatment met the standard of care.

New breast cancer research

In June 2018, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced results from a 12-year study exploring the benefits of chemotherapy for women with the most common type of breast cancer. The TAILORx trial (which standards for Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment) researched women with early-stage hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative, axillary lymph node-negative breast cancer.

The study concluded that for 70% of women with this type of breast cancer, there was no benefit of adding chemotherapy to hormone therapy after surgery. One of the researchers commented that, “using a 21-gene expression test to assess the risk of cancer recurrence can spare women unnecessary treatment If the test indicates that chemotherapy is not likely to provide benefit.

For anyone who has had a family member battle cancer with chemotherapy treatment, this will be much-welcomed news. This study also shows that cancer treatment is moving in a direction that is no longer “one size fits all.”

In the TAILORx clinical trial, researchers used a molecular test called the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score. The test examines breast tumors to look at the expression of 21 different genes that are associated with breast cancer.

The test results allow physicians to customize post-surgical treatment for early-stage breast cancer patients.

Women whose test results are in the low-risk category for breast cancer recurrence are given hormone therapy only, while women in the high-risk category are treated with hormone therapy and chemotherapy. The ground-breaking part of this research is that it shows that most women with an intermediate risk receive no benefit from chemotherapy. This means that about 70% with this common type of breast cancer do not need chemotherapy.

Joseph Sparano, M.D., one of the study researchers, recommended that, “Any woman with early-stage breast cancer age 75 or younger should have the 21-gene expression test and discuss the results with her doctor to guide her decision to the right therapy.”

We are here to help

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by delayed diagnosis or treatment of cancer, our experienced medical negligence attorneys can help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.

All consultations are free and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case.


Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2017, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. In May 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.

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