Chemotherapy not necessary in 20% cases

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1 out of 5 women with breast cancer and clean lymph nodes in the armpit do not need chemotherapy after surgery. Therefore, they should all be offered a genetic tumor test, according to Sabine Linn, professor and medical oncologist at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital. She is involved in the study of the test.According to Linn the genetic test, the MammaPrint, can accurately determine the chances of recurrence. If the risk turns out to be low, the patient can be spared chemotherapy.

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Linn states that if she were to be diagnosed with breast cancer, she would immediately ask her doctor for this test. Unfortunately not all doctors offer this test. They want more proof of its efficacy. Evidence is a holy grail in medicine, but this test has been shown convincingly effective. We can continue to do research, but we can also rely on what we now have as evidence.

The genetic tumor test costs around 2,700 euros. Insurers are not required to reimburse the test, but some do already. In about a year from now Linn expects to deliver more prove in a next stage of the research.  The College of Health Care Insurance will probably only then consider whether the test should be included in the basic healthcare package.