Oncotype DX testing to determine if a breast cancer patient will benefit from chemotherapy

Helen Roe, Consultant Cancer Nurse, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, UK, discusses using Oncotype DX testing for moderate risk breast cancer to see if a patient will benefit from receiving chemotherapy after surgery. Being able to conduct such a test is hugely beneficial for patients as it allows them to start radiotherapy and hormone treatment as soon as possible, and avoid being exposed to the side effects of chemotherapy. From a logistical point of view it allows chairs to be freed for patients undergoing chemotherapy. In period of just of a year, out of 56 patients in the clinic, it was determined that 28 did not need chemotherapy. While different organisations implement the test at different stages, at the Cumbria University Hospitals NHS trust, the decision to take the test is made at the initial multidisciplinary team meeting based on the histology of the patient, before the patient is seen the clinic. This saves anxiety and needless discussions. Originally, patients had to self-fund the tests, but NICE and NHS have now commissioned the test so patients no longer have to pay, and it is now standard practice. In the future she discussed how the test will be done for different tumour sites and alter the criteria slightly for breast cancer patients. The the vital role of nurses in providing information and support to patients is also explained. From discussing what the test will involve, what timeframes the patient should expect, and explaining what the results of the test mean, to supporting the patient if it is decided that the patient should not undertake chemotherapy. Recorded at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), held in Brighton, UK.

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