Health

Importance of precision medicine in breast cancer

In Chile, more than 5,000 new breast cancers are diagnosed each year. Despite the advances of the last decade, it continues to occupy the first position in the mortality ranking due to its high incidence and remains the most frequent type of malignant tumor in women.

About 5% of patients may debut metastatic and 30% evolve into this condition, considerably reducing survival. On average, 5 years after diagnosis, 7% of patients in Stage I will have died, while for those diagnosed in Stage IV the figure rises to 72%.

Breast cancer is known to be 80% sporadic, 15% familial, and 5-10% hereditary. There are genes of low, moderate and high penetrance, within the latter are BRCA 1 and 2. Those who have mutations in these genes have a much higher risk of developing breast, ovarian or other cancers. This type of breast cancer has an early onset (before the age of 50), can be bilateral, and can occur in men. Therefore, it is vital to correctly recognize and refer them to genetic counseling for prevention and appropriate treatment.

María Eugenia Bravo, president of the Chilean Society of Mastology.

In this sense, the different types of breast cancer require personalized treatments to obtain the best results. This correct execution provides savings to the national health system due to treatment pause and even, in early stages, a cure can be considered.

We are in the era of precision medicine, which allows specialized treatment to be given based on the characteristics of the cancer. In Chile, we must improve access to these new technologies, to benefit cancer patients and especially women with breast cancer, whether sporadic, familial or hereditary.

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