Genetic testing helps cancer patients forgo chemotherapy

The Detroit News, February 15, 2011
When Anne Grofvert had surgery to remove a malignant lump from her breast, she never imagined she might not have to undergo chemotherapy. But a genomic test predicted the likelihood of her cancer returning was very low, so she took her doctor's advice and skipped the time-consuming, often-nauseating, hair-robbing treatment that is frequently part of a cancer battle. Three years later, Grofvert, 53, is cancer-free. The test, for early stage breast cancer patients, is among a growing number of medical options that are a direct result of the human genome sequencing a decade ago, and is now offered at hospitals in the region. Although medical discoveries continue in scientific laboratories as a result of the Human Genome Project, some critics argue that it has been slow to impact human health. But many point to the cancer test as an example of genomic medicine that not only saves health care dollars, but also helps patients determine whether surgery and radiation are enough and chemotherapy can be avoided.

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