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Predicting the progression of a patient's cancer can often help an oncologist determine the Goldilocks course of treatment — not too harsh, not too light, but just right. Researchers at the Einstein Medical Center in Pennsylvania are using a gene test from Genomic Health to help them determine if women with ductal carcinoma in situ need aggressive treatment or not, reports USA Today's Liz Szabo. The test analyzes 12 tumor genes and can help predict which cases will be aggressive and which will be slow-growing. The more aggressive cancers often require both surgery and radiation to treat, while the slow-growing kind can often be treated with surgery alone, Szabo says. According to a study done by the Einstein Medical Center researchers, the gene test shows that about 75 percent of women won't need radiation to control their DCIS. Genomic Health plans to make the DCIS test available by the end of the year, Szabo says. Although it comes with a rather hefty $4,175 price tag, experts say it could still save patients money by helping them avoid radiation treatments, which are far more expensive.

The Scan

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