A big challenge in treating breast cancer is discerning slow-growing tumors from aggressive ones; that's key because different types require very different treatment. While tests can spot one of the aggressive types—HER-2 positive—the results often take a couple of weeks, and they're not always accurate, say experts. A new test approved this summer by the FDA may prove more useful: SPOT-Light checks biopsied tissue for copies of the HER-2 gene—an indication of whether the tumor will be vulnerable to the powerful anticancer drug Herceptin. A pathologist stains the tumor tissue with a chemical that causes HER-2 genes to change color. This test is potentially more accurate than older versions and can be done at the doctor's office or a local lab on conventional equipment.
Our December issue features Oprah's Favorite Things—as well as your chance to win them all! You'll also find our easy holiday declutter plan, Dr. Oz's guide to sleeping better (starting tonight) and the ultimate holiday menu.