For decades, Chemotherapy has been the “go to” for treating Breast Cancer, and most other cancers.  But times and treatments have changed.  Thirty years ago, 95% of women who had breast cancer received chemotherapy.  Today that number can be as low as 19%

Thirty years ago, chemotherapy was recommended for almost 95% of breast cancer patients.  The change began 15 years ago, when the first targeted drug for breast cancer, Herceptin, was approved.  Today, there are more than a dozen approved targeted breast cancer drugs, with many more in clinical trials. 

Using genetic testing – now cheaper and faster – doctors can quickly determine if chemotherapy would benefit a patient.  But for many, the array of drugs – estrogen blockers and drugs that destroy cancers by attacking specific proteins – are better options. 

Recent data compiled by a professor of medicine and oncology at Georgetown University included data from 13 federal medical centers, of approximately 550 women over age 60 found that 35% of the women received chemotherapy in 2012. That number fell to 19% by the end of 2019.