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Gene mapping being used to determine treatment for breast cancer patients

Jaclyn Brandt

Gene mapping being used to determine treatment for breast cancer patients

CREATED Oct. 7, 2013

MILWAUKEE - It is breast cancer awareness month and this week we will be taking a look at issues related to women's breast health. Doctors have begun mapping the genetic make-up of individual patients' tumors.

The gene maps look at collections of 21 or 70 genes in a particular woman’s tumor. It is a hyper-individualistic way to specialize treatment for one woman at a time.

“These tests that we are doing with tumors themselves are helping the medical oncologists to identify which patients really would benefit from chemotherapy and which patients it might be too much therapy, quite honestly,” said Dr. Jodie Brehm, a surgeon with Wheaton Franciscan’s Comprehensive Breast Care Program.

Dr. Brehm said the tests show if a woman has an aggressive form of breast cancer. She said surgical procedures will likely remain the same, but post-surgical care will be customized based on the genetic of that woman’s tumor.

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