As with most gatherings this year, the 2020 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium was held virtually. Even though this highly anticipated annual conference was unable to be hosted in person, the evidence-based information and new research findings were shared via amazing modern technologies. Breast cancer certainly doesn’t stop durning a global pandemic so it was absolutely wonderful this world-renowned breast cancer conference was still held, even if the experience was a little different this year. If you missed it, you can still read over the many studies presented here. We have also provided an overview of some of our top highlights below:
Study finds more women can safely avoid chemo.
Results from RxPONDER trial suggest some women with hormone receptor-positive cancer and lymph node involvement may not need chemotherapy. According to the study, chemotherapy did not lower the risk of cancer returning for postmenopausal women with low Oncotype DX scores (under 25) and cancer in 1-3 lymph nodes.
Metastatic breast cancer patients experience more time without disease progression with new oral chemotherapy.
When combined with capecitabine, metastatic breast cancer patients experienced a longer timeframe without cancer growth/spread. The CONTESSA trial found that patients taking both tesetaxel and capecitabine went about 10 months without disease progression. Likewise, about 57% of patients taking both drugs experienced a higher treatment response rate (meaning their tumors reduced in size).
Pregnancy after breast cancer is safe.
Premenopausal women who may want to become pregnant can still do so safely following breast cancer according to a recent European study. The study did however find that some women may not be able to naturally conceive following breast cancer treatment. For this reason, it is important for women considering pregnancy following a breast cancer diagnosis to discuss fertility preservation options prior to undergoing treatment.
Breast cancer patients are at a greater risk for chronic opioid use.
Women who have a mastectomy and reconstruction may have a higher risk for future addiction to opioids and sedative-hypnotic drugs. The study out ofColumbia University in New York also found that the chance of becoming a persistent user of both types of controlled substances was significantly higher among women under age 60, those with a breast cancer diagnosis (versus those who had prophylactic surgery) and those treated with chemotherapy. These findings also highlight the importance of ERAS (enhance recover after surgery) protocols which minimize narcotic use after surgery. Patients should take time to discuss ERAS protocols with their surgeons to ensure proper pain management plans are in place before and after surgery to reduce the risk of drug side effects and addiction.