How Chemotherapy Response Changes Things
If you are one of those patients that receives chemotherapy in the front end, which we call neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and you start to have an incredible response, whether the response is a drastic reduction of that tumor size or where it becomes clinically evident, that may change a couple of things.
It may change your staging, where on your final pathology, you may be down a stage. You may have started off as a stage three breast cancer, and when we go and do the surgery, with no lymph node being involved and with the tumor non-existent where we see fibrosis, where another cancer was there, but we can’t find any cancer cells. You may have gone down to a stage zero in downstage, and that may have big implications on what we do after surgery. It also changes the way we approach from a surgical standpoint.
Some patients have a very large tumor with some potential skin involvement where traditionally, in the past, only were a candidate for mastectomy, we can now maybe even conserve the breast, because we have a shrinkage of the tumor and where it becomes not clinically evident, and they may have been able to save their breast.
1. If you get chemotherapy first, which we call neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and you have an incredible response, that may change a couple of things.
2. It may change your staging – you may have gone down to a stage zero and that may change what we do after surgery.
3. It can also change the surgical approach.