Breast Cancer Care at Vanderbilt

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Rosemary’s story: Rosemary Whitten battled breast cancer in 1997, 2001 and 2002. The cancer returned in early 2012, and she turned to Vanderbilt for options and hope.

Why she chose Vanderbilt: Rosemary wanted more than just the standard of care; she was looking for hope.  She enrolled in a clinical trial that targeted her type of cancer based on changes in the DNA of her own tumor cells.

How Vanderbilt is personalizing breast cancer care:
At Vanderbilt, we routinely test the tumor DNA of patients with certain cancers, including breast cancer. We find genetic changes that will help you and your doctor make more informed decisions about your treatment.

How does this help patients?
Your doctor may be able to choose more effective treatment based on the DNA features of your cancer cells. This saves precious time and avoids unnecessary side effects from treatments that aren't likely to work.

What testing is done for patients with breast cancer?
We’re testing for genetic changes in a cell signaling pathway (P13 kinase pathway) that contributes to breast cancer. These are the most common known genetic changes in breast cancer. Standard tests look at one gene at a time; our approach scans many genes at once. Vanderbilt is one of the only centers in the region to routinely test for these genetic changes in breast tumors.

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