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Kim Mulvihill reportingMany women with early-stage breast cancer successfully beat their cancer with surgery, but in the back of their minds, many wonder if and when cancer might strike again.
A team of scientists from the University of California at San Francisco identified what they call distinct molecular markers.
They believe those markers can predict which women face a greater chance of additional cancer, and therefore may need more aggressive treatment.
In fact, 12 percent to 15 percent of patients with breast cancer limited to the milk ducts - ductal carcinoma in situ - go on to develop invasive cancer in the decade after surgery.
Scientists found that patients with cells programmed to kill themselves off, when under stress were less likely to form additional tumors.
Those cells that bypass the stress signals would be more likely to eventually progress to a tumor.
The idea is to determine a woman's individual risk for future invasive cancer,who is at high risk and who is not, that way you can avoid over treatment and also under treatment.
Today, doctors lump all women together. Doctors look at all the patients and say you may need to consider more than just a lumpectomy. You may consider a mastectomy or radiation.
This research could mean more individual treatment. In the future, it could help determine which treatment will benefit the patient and which ones won't.