Dr. Hurvitz Discusses Therapy Options for Breast Cancer

CancerNetwork® spoke with Dr. Sara Hurvitz, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, about therapy options for breast cancer. 

We spoke with Dr. Sara Hurvitz, MD, at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress 2019, held in Barcelona, Spain from September 27, 2019 to October 1, 2019. Dr. Hurvitz shared her thoughts on choosing between different therapy options for breast cancer.



Many times, at least in the treatment of breast cancer, we have several options available to offer to a patient either for early-stage or late-stage disease. And so, it is truly a partnership between the patient and physician and often other care extenders, including nurse practitioners, to discuss with the patient and educate the patients about the various benefits of a given therapy, the efficacy, how likely is that therapy to successfully treat the disease, what is the side effect profile of the given therapy or therapies, what I would recommend the patient do, but also eliciting from the patient what their goals are, what their fears are about a given therapy to make sure that the patient feels good about the selection being made.

One example is some patients really prefer therapies that allow them to preserve their hair and in the metastatic setting, we have a variety of options that do allow patients to avoid hair loss. Some patients prefer to avoid having a port placed and so certain chemotherapies wouldn’t be given unless the patient was willing to have a port placed. Then when we’re talking about a variety of oral therapies that are available now, it’s important to talk to the patient about how easy is it for them to remember to take a given therapy, if it’s given twice a day or once a day, what are side effects that are going to really make it difficult to successfully stay on the given therapy for the prescribed amount of time.