Decoding Breast Cancer

A gene test lets some patients with early tumors skip radiation

Illustration by Joe Magee for TIME

Decoding Breast Cancer

Cancer patients often say the hardest part of their disease is not the diagnosis but the treatment--and all the decisions they need to make on the road to recovery. So there was welcome news for breast-cancer patients from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Conference, where researchers reported on a genetic test that may spare many women unnecessary radiation therapy.

The test may be used by some 60,000 American women who are diagnosed each year with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), an early form of breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts. Some of these tumors never leave the ducts, while...

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