160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ“We are backing off on chemotherapy and using chemotherapy more selectively,” said Dr. Eric Winer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The gene test in particular “will start changing practice nearly immediately,” said Dr. Peter Ravdin of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “The results are compelling that this test … helps select patients who will most benefit from chemotherapy.” Breast cancer is the most common major cancer in American women. More than 178,000 new cases are expected this year. Most are helped to grow by estrogen, and hormone-blocking medicines such as tamoxifen are used to treat those. Chemo usually is added if the disease has spread to the lymph nodes – a situation faced by about 45,000 U.S. women each year. Doctors know that chemo won’t help most of these women, but they have had no good way to tell who can safely skip its cost and misery. SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of breast-cancer patients each year could be spared chemotherapy or get gentler versions of it without harming their odds of beating the disease, new research suggests. One study found that some women did better – were less likely to die or have a relapse – if given a less harsh drug than Adriamycin, a mainstay of treatment for decades. Another study found that a gene test can help predict whether some women need chemo at all – even among those whose cancer has spread to their lymph nodes, which now typically brings full treatment. The findings are sure to speed the growing trend toward moving away from using chemo for many breast-cancer patients and aiming it at a smaller group of women who truly need chemo, doctors said Thursday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, where the studies were reported.