Rock Island breast cancer survivor weighs in on new research

DAVENPORT - There's new hope for treating early-stage breast cancer. A breakthrough study could eliminate chemotherapy for thousands of women and men every year.

Gilda's Club Quad Cities is the place for positive outreach with cancer patients and families.

"It's really great news," said Teresa Saltsman, Rock Island, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. New research could speed recovery and lessen pain for patients like her.

"For me, this was a slower growing cancer," she recalled on Wednesday, June 6.  "It was not going to respond to an aggressive chemotherapy."

The report finds that most early-stage breast cancer patients don't need chemotherapy after surgery.  That could reach 65,000 women in the U.S. each year.

"Chemotherapy is a wonderful thing," said Gilda's Club Program Director Kelly Hendershot.  "It's saving a lot of lives. It also really is a detriment to quality of life."

For information about Gilda's Club: http://gildasclubqc.org.

The study shows that endocrine therapy is just as effective without chemotherapy.

"Often times, chemotherapy is very hard on your body," Saltsman continued.

Still, the study advises that women younger than 50 can benefit from chemo and should consider it.

"I'm really excited that they have this new discovery," said Saltsman.

Considered cancer-free for nearly five years, Saltsman makes it clear that the study is not a cure.  But she says it can eliminate one of cancer's most painful aspects.

"I'm just thrilled there's people working every single day, around the clock, trying to find answers," she concluded.

At Gilda's Club, hope it will keep women and men healthier without chemotherapy.