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New Approaches to Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

From tweaking the size and timing of chemotherapy, to adjusting how it's administered, small improvements are making a big difference in women's lives.

Separating Hype from Hope

While some of these new approaches are cause for hope, it's important to keep them in perspective.

"I think that we as oncologists, investigators, and journalists have to be very careful about separating hope from hype," says Seidman. "A lot of possibly exciting treatments are still years away from being used." Seidman cites as an example the great media excitement about anti-angiogenesis medications that was followed by disappointing results that dashed the hopes of patients.

Seidman stresses that while you should talk to your doctor about any new treatments you've heard of, you should also be aware that they may not be available to you. In some cases, you may be able to enroll in clinical trials of new types of chemotherapy.

But while a drug that can cure or prevent cancer may be far off, some approaches to chemotherapy, such as dose density, may be on the verge of becoming standard practice, says Seidman. While they may not provoke the excitement of a miracle drug, for now, these new ways of using old medications may offer the most hope.

Reviewed on October 03, 2003

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