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What is the Oncotype DX test for breast cancer?

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If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor may recommend the Oncotype DX. Depending on the type cancer you have, this test can tell doctors if it’s likely to come back at some point. That helps with choosing the best treatment from the start. It’s often one of the deciding factors on whether you have chemotherapy.

The test doesn’t require any further procedures for you. It uses tissue taken during the initial biopsy or surgery. It measures the breast cancer genes. (You might hear it called a "21-gene signature.") Your doctor might suggest the test if you have:

You may also have it you’ve recently been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). It can help in deciding to have radiation treatments.

  • Stage I or II invasive breast cancer
  • Estrogen-receptor positive (called ER+) cancer, meaning the disease's cells grow in response to the hormone estrogen
  • Cancer that isn’t in the lymph nodes

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?"

Breastcancer.org: "Oncotype DX Test."

National Cancer Institute: "Tumor Markers."

MedlinePlus: “Tamoxifen.”

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on July 17, 2017

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?"

Breastcancer.org: "Oncotype DX Test."

National Cancer Institute: "Tumor Markers."

MedlinePlus: “Tamoxifen.”

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on July 17, 2017

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What do scores mean in an Oncotype DX test for breast cancer?

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