New and Improved Data and Research on the Impact of Breast Cancer

Deena Mary Atieh Graham, MD, discusses the treatment options for a breast cancer diagnosis and explains how patients are affected after treatment.

Deena Mary Atieh Graham, MD, medical oncologist at John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, discusses the treatment options for a breast cancer diagnosis and explains how patients are affected after treatment. Graham is currently involved in research that has resulted in women being able to safely avoid chemotherapy and instead receive less toxic therapy.


We help to develop clinical trials and treatments for patients at every stage of cancer. A lot of our focus has been not just on actual therapies for breast cancer, but for understanding how patients are affected by a diagnosis of breast cancer. We work closely with our colleagues through our NCI cancer designation and specifically with Georgetown. And I've been leading up a program here looking at cognition or thinking in patients that are diagnosed with breast cancer. And in this way, we can develop an understanding of how potentially breast cancer and breast cancer therapies patients cognition, and therefore hopefully developed to deal with having a diagnosis of breast cancer long term right now in our field of breast cancer. It's a very exciting time. Recently, data has been published primarily from December of 2020.

Looking at our ability to intentionally avoid chemotherapy, and a number of patients with breast cancer, whereas before, all patients with lymph node positive breast cancer with higher typically chemotherapy after a diagnosis, recent data which we participated in when these trials were being developed, has shown that we can safely avoid chemotherapy now in a number of those patients. And obviously, that's very important because we can still achieve the same excellent cures, but with much less toxic therapy that we look at within breast cancer, obviously, treatments of breast cancer, and they're all different at breast cancer type. So, for example, a somewhat typical, we're aggressive form of breast cancer with something called triple negative breast cancer. And we are looking at new or novel therapies for specifically triple negative breast cancer.

We are also looking at developing ways of monitoring patients that have had a diagnosis of breast cancer before looking specifically add something called circulating tumor DNA or liquid biopsies, which are ways of trying to pick up a recurrence of breast cancer earlier so that we can make an impact sooner and more substantial. Research benefits patients every day. And I think that research now is at such an exciting time where things are moving from development and research to practically applying that much quicker than that's ever happened before. And I'm forever thankful to many of our patients who've participated in clinical trials because that's the way we've really been able to take care of patients every day and that's how our standards are developed.