In an attempt to understand how to efficiently treat breast cancer, a team of researchers from the University of Chicago have been looking over old case files to see if there is any link between breast cancer and the incidence of leukemia. Doctors review therapy-related leukemia cases in order to shed some light on this medical dilemma.
The results which have been published in the CANCER journal, have shown that many patients with breast cancer who are treated with radiation and chemotherapy could be at risk of developing subsequent leukemia. In light of these findings, the medical researchers will now be able to develop more efficient methods of treatment, without the risk of the patient developing what can be construed as a life-threatening complications.
Traditional cancer therapies, like chemotherapy and radiotherapy, have proved to be quite efficient at destroyed anomalous cell formation. However, it is a proven fact that this kind of treatments can also damage normal and healthy cellular formations. And, by doing so, the risk of the patient developing a complication such as leukemia increases.
In order to rule out any external factors, the group of researchers from the University of Chicago, led by Doctor Jane Churpek, investigated the cases of over 88 cancer survivors to actually be able to determine is traditional therapies are indeed at the root of these complications. As stated, all of the 88 candidates developed therapy-related leukemia after they underwent chemo and radiotherapy.
One clue to this medical dilemma could be found by taking a closer look at the family’s history. Many of the patients that have developed these harrowing complications have a cancer-related family background, meaning that there are one or more persons in her family that developed a form of cancer. Combining the study and what they’ve learned from the family’s history, the doctors can now develop better treatments against breast cancer.
Moreover, it would seem that the therapies that will be developed will greatly stress out the importance of cancer incidence within a family. This aspect will greatly benefit physicians, who will be capable of recommending their patients alternative courses of treatment. And the patients themselves could better weight the costs vs benefits aspect of each type of intervention.
Judith Karp and Antonio Wolff, two doctors from the Johns Hopkins University argued that the new study proposes a more intimate interaction between the patient’s genetical background and the risk involved when choosing a certain method of treatment.