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The TAILORx Breast Cancer Study: What Women Should Know

Q&A With Dr. John Williams

Founder of The Breast Cancer School for Patients

(video link)

Why is the TAILORx Breast Cancer Trial a big deal?

This cutting edge information now allows us to offer chemotherapy to only those women who will need it. The TAILORx trial has proven that even more women can now avoid chemotherapy when the genomic test (Oncotype DX) is a part of their treatment decision.

This is a leap forward in “Personalized Medicine.” Using sophisticated breast cancer genomic tests to make sure women receive chemotherapy, only if they need it. As a result, thousands of women with breast cancer will now be spared the toxicity and side effects of chemotherapy due to the TAILORx clinical trial.

Why are so many women prescribed unnecessary chemotherapy for their breast cancer?

Fifteen years ago, we would offer chemo to nearly all patients with breast cancer. Back then, we were unable to determine which cancers were at a “low risk” for coming back and would not have benefited from chemotherapy. Therefore, we gave it to everyone.

We can now do a “genomic” analysis of a woman’s actual breast cancer tissue. These sophisticated tests look deeper into the cancer cells and can let us determine more precisely if a woman will or will not need chemotherapy. The TAILORx trial tells us there are many more women who can now avoid chemotherapy, that would have unnecessarily had to endure it.

How can I make sure a breast cancer genomic test is an option for me?

All newly diagnosed women should specifically ask their breast surgeon and medical oncologist about genomic assays. Unfortunately, many are not offered these standard of care diagnostic tests by their physicians. ALWAYS ASK, ENGAGE AND TALK TO YOUR CANCER PHYSICIANS!  When you are well informed about breast cancer, you will get better care and be happier with the outcome.

As a patient, how do I make sure I get the best cancer care in my community?

Do your homework! Educate yourself about breast cancer before, during and after visiting with your breast surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist. Ask if they work with an NAPBC accredited breast center team of physicians. Breast cancer is complicated. You need all of your doctors working together (and with you) to find the best pathway forward.

Why is healthcare information online so disorganized and unhelpful?

That is what inspired us to create the video-based Breast Cancer School for Patients. We feel it our duty as breast cancer specialists to actually “teach women” exactly what they need to know to make sure they receive the best quality breast cancer care in their communities

Currently, online breast cancer information is just…information. When women are terrified about breast cancer threatening their lives, they need help to understand the essentials and the key decisions ahead. Our patient educational platform is a new paradigm in patient advocacy.


Breast Cancer School for Patients

Makes Official Debut

(video link)

Dr. John P. Williams Creates The First Video-based “One-Stop” 

Patient-Friendly Resource for Breast Cancer Education


Gainesville, VA — (May 16, 2018) – Introducing the Breast Cancer School for Patients, the very first one-stop online resource designed to bridge the breast cancer education gap between patient and doctor. The online school is built on the idea that patients will make better treatment decisions when they are taught to be an “expert” in their own breast cancer care. Creator Dr. John P. Williams, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a leader in breast cancer patient education and an advocate for patient involvement in their cancer care decisions. He has organized the vast field of breast cancer into one, easy to navigate, patient-friendly site featuring over 80 videos on all of the important topics that every woman should know.

The Breast Cancer School for Patients offers everything that one needs to know in order to get the best breast cancer care in their own community. Patients are empowered to learn as much or as little as they’d like. Topics include:

“Over the years, family and friends have called asking for advice about their breast care. After a quick conversation, they became empowered to ask their own doctors exactly what was needed. You simply get better care when you know about the important topics and the questions to ask. Currently, the medical profession does not actually “teach” those who have been newly diagnosed how to seek out quality, cutting-edge care in their communities. Our mission at the Breast Cancer School for Patients is to fill this patient information gap online,” explains Dr. Williams.

Innovative 4-5 minute video lessons about every important breast cancer topic are designed to keep patients and their caregivers up-to-speed on their treatment options. From surgery and chemotherapy to radiation and genetics, all of these modules are brief yet very informative.

Upon signing up for the breast health newsletter, patients will immediately receive an email containing “Doctors Questions.” This is a coveted list of the key questions to engage your breast surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist.
Become informed before speaking with your doctors. You will improve your own care with this approach,” continues Dr. Williams.

More about Dr. John P. Williams, M.D., F.A.C.S:

Dr. Williams is a breast cancer surgeon in Virginia. He founded and is the medical director of Novant Health UVA Health System Breast Center which serves the communities of Manassas, Gainesville, Haymarket and Warrenton, Virginia. Learn more about Dr. Williams here. His CV can be reviewed here.