"I hit the jackpot", said Perkins, who is now 52 and cancer-free more than two years later.
Over the years, the Cancer Institute has used its $59.8 million in proceeds for studies trying to improve early detection and to determine which cancers are most risky and need heaviest treatment and which are less so.
Oncotype DX is not available in India but samples are sent overseas for the test. Some study leaders consult for breast cancer drugmakers or for the company that makes the gene test.
There has always been suspicion that chemotherapy is overused in treating some forms of cancer-now doctors and patients can make more informed decisions about which cancer treatments they choose and which will be effective.
Knowing a patient's recurrence risk can spare them from enduring chemotherapy, but also can direct them towards it if they discover that they are at a higher risk, Sparano says.
Data presented at the world's biggest meeting of cancer doctors and scientists in Chicago shows these women have the same survival rates with or without chemo. Despite seven types of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, her disease was still growing. The researchers tracked the patients' health outcomes over nine years.
The study found that gene tests on tumour samples were able to identify women who could safely skip chemotherapy and take only a drug that blocks the hormone estrogen or stops the body from making it.
A USA woman with advanced breast cancer is healthy again after taking part in an experimental treatment, using her body's own immune system to wipe out the tumours.
Yet the move away from chemotherapy has been hotly debated, with some doctors warning that chemo can save lives and that a "de-escalation" of treatment could be risky. But until this new research, patients and doctors didn't have all of the information they needed to recommend treatment based on a patient's particular results.
The findings, from the largest breast cancer treatment trial ever conducted, showed that most patients who have an intermediate risk of a cancer recurrence - a group that numbers 65,000 women a year in the United States - can avoid chemotherapy and its often debilitating side effects.
Once a tumor is removed, 21 genes are analyzed and patients receive a low - intermediate - or high risk of reoccurrence. Patients using both types of treatment had an overall survival rate of 93.8 percent.
An experimental therapy that extracts and multiplies powerful immune-system cells from inside tumors eradicated a patient's breast cancer, a scientific first that could lead to new ways of treating malignancies that have resisted all other efforts.
"We went rafting down the Grand Canyon", said Perkins, who has two sons and two stepsons with her husband. Mrs Perkins said she left her job and "was planning on dying".
The trial results are the latest piece of the puzzle on how to treat early-stage breast cancer. While trying treatment after treatment, she became a breast cancer advocate and went to California for training by Project Lead, a program run by the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
"I will explain that's why research is so important in helping us move forward in breast cancer care that's how we will achieve a cure for breast cancer", Figueredo said.