Dr. Harness explains if chemotherapy is less effective in young breast cancer patients.
Dr. Harness, M.D.:
The answer is no. The effectiveness of breast cancer actually depends on how rapidly a cancer is growing. The more rapidly a cancer is growing, the more effective the chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is also much more effective in women who are HER-2/neu-positive, which is fortunately only about 20 percent or so of women, but because of the drug Herceptin and now Lapatinib, we are finding these HER-2/neu specific chemotherapy drugs being very effective, no matter whether the cancer is growing rapidly or not, but usually the HER-2/neu-positive cancers are growing rapidly.
and so depending again on the stage of the patient and what else is going on with the cancer, it’s important to remember that there are hundreds of different kinds of breast cancer, and so the effectiveness of chemotherapy or anti-hormone therapy depends on the specific kind of cancer that a patient has.
About Dr. Harness, M.D.:
Dr. Jay Harness, M.D., is the Director at St. Joseph Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center. Practicing medicine for 35 years, Dr. Harness specializes in general surgery and medical oncology. Graduating medical school from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, he conducting his internship and residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Recognized nationally and internationally for his work in breast and endocrine surgery, Dr. Harness is the immediate past-President of The American Society of Breast Surgeons and is President-elect of Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness can assist patients in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.