Coinciding with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, GenesisCare has announced local women with a common form of non-invasive breast cancer will have access to an innovative test to help predict outcomes and inform personalised treatment plans.
More than 185 women from the Wide Bay/Burnett Region are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
Ductal Carcinoma in situ, a common precursor of invasive cancer, accounts for one in five of these cases.
Combining the latest innovations in molecular biology with artificial intelligence, DCISionRT®, developed by PreludeDx, is a precision medicine test for women diagnosed with DCIS who have undergone breast conserving surgery.
The DCISionRT test assesses the 10-year risk of DCIS returning or progressing to local invasive breast cancer and predicts whether radiation therapy will be of additional benefit to surgery alone.
GenesisCare Radiation Oncologist Dr Sean Brennan, who recently joined the specialist team in Bundaberg said patients with DCIS had cancerous cells lining the milk ducts of the breast, but had not yet spread into surrounding breast tissue.
“Managing DCIS requires a tailored individualised approach based on each woman’s unique risk factors,” Dr Brennan said.
“Different patients may require different treatment approaches.
“In the past, we have looked at factors such a tumour grade and size to determine treatment plans for patients with DCIS.
“This innovative new test GenesisCare is introducing here in Bundaberg, DCISionRT, is a game-changer and is completely revolutionising the way in which doctors and patients make informed decisions about different treatment options.”
Patients with a low DCISionRT score are considered at low risk of their DCIS returning or progressing to potentially life-threatening invasive breast cancer.
For these patients, surgery alone may be appropriate. However, women with elevated risk scores may benefit from receiving radiation therapy post-surgery.
Bundaberg resident, Emma Bauer, 32, has been travelling to Brisbane for ultrasounds since she was 16 due to a long-term breast condition.
Earlier this year, while in Brisbane for her regular check-up, she was sent for a mammogram and was subsequently diagnosed with DCIS.
Following surgery she was referred to Dr Marie Burke at GenesisCare in Bundaberg for radiation therapy which is where she first learned about DCISionRT.
“When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I started running through in my head all of the appointments and treatments I’d likely require and whether I would be able to balance full time work and other commitments,” Emma said.
“Following surgery, I was referred for radiation therapy which is where Dr Burke told me about this new innovative test, DCISionRT.
“She ordered the test for me and to my absolute delight, she called me a few weeks later to share the good news that I didn’t require radiation therapy after all.
“I’m so grateful for GenesisCare for bringing this test to Bundaberg, it really provided me with the extra reassurance and the confidence to make a fully informed decision alongside my doctor.”
GenesisCare Radiation Oncologist and Regional Medical Director for Queensland Dr Marie Burke said for young patients like Emma who were in their 30s and had a full and healthy life ahead of them, the best outcome was to avoid unnecessary treatment while still ensuring the cancer doesn’t spread or return.
“On the flip side, we have seen many women with DCIS, who in the past would not have been considered for radiation therapy based on clinical pathology, have their risk upgraded using DCISionRT,” Dr Burke said.
While DCIS is not life-threatening, if not treated effectively, it may become invasive and spread to other parts of the breast or body.
In Australia, women who are diagnosed with DCIS are, on average, 3.9 times more likely to develop invasive breast cancer than Australian women of a similar age who have not had DCIS.
“As part of the testing process, we send the biopsies to California in the United States, where DCISionRT was first developed, for testing in a laboratory and then the tumour specimen and results are sent back to Australia,” Dr Burke said.
“From sunny California to sunny Bundaberg… this test highlights the power of GenesisCare’s international integrated oncology network and how we are changing the way cancer care is delivered for patients in all corners of the world.”
DCISionRT® is now available to women with DCIS in Australia.
For more information on DCIS and DCISionRT click here.