Genetics and You – Is Oncotype DX right for me? (4 of 4)

     There is no question that genetics has become a hot topic in medicine. It seems that every week there is an article about a new genetic test, or another person throwing around the term “inherited risk”. These terms can seem scary at first, but with a bit of brushing up, you can use them to your advantage in managing your healthcare.

      To help along the way, Tigerlily is bringing the basics right to your laptop. We’ve partnered with Genomic Health to offer a 5-part blog explaining the ins and outs of breast cancer genetics and genomics. Read on for more information about inherited risk, the different types of tests offered and how they can help with treatment, and more.

The Oncotype Dx test can help determine whether or not a patient with early-stage breast cancer should receive chemotherapy, and can also determine the chances of the cancer recurring. For ductal carcinoma in situ, the test can determine if the cancer is expected to recur in the same breast.

Oncotype Dx is indicated for women with stage I breast cancer or stage II invasive breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor-positive (is being stimulated by estrogen) and lymph-node-negative (has not spread to the lymph nodes). This test may be especially helpful for a patient who is thinking about chemotherapy.

If you or someone you know is looking into the Oncotype Dx test, consider discussing these points with a physician:

  1. The stage of the cancer
  2. Whether or not the cancer is hormone-receptor-positive (and if so, whether it is estrogen-receptor positive—ER+–or progesterone receptor positive—PR+)
  3. The likelihood of the cancer recurring after surgery
  4. What treatments are available, and the pros and cons of each
  5. Which treatment(s) the physician thinks would be best for this particular tumor (as well as the reasoning behind his or her opinion)
  6. Side effects of each treatment option, duration of the side effect(s), and whether the side effect(s) will stop entirely once the treatment is over
  7. If the Oncotype Dx test would be appropriate for this particular tumor, and, if so, how the results might help in determining treatment
  8. How the patient can obtain a copy of the Oncotype Dx results and pathology report