What are the most important issues affecting patients that everyone is talking about? Here is the place to find out.
New studies have found that basal-like breast tumors--one of the most deadly subtypes of breast cancer--are genetically more similar to ovarian cancer than to other breast cancers. Basal-like tumors include most triple-negative breast tumors, which are often aggressive and do not respond to therapies that target hormone receptors or to standard chemotherapies.
The new findings suggest that tumors should be catalogued and treated based on the genes that are disrupted rather than their location in the body, the researchers said.
Read more about the gene study here.
There is little information available about the relationship between breast density and breast cancer prognosis. Breasts with more glandular and connective tissue—and less fat—are dense, and women with higher breast density are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. New research has found that that breast cancer patients with high-density breasts did not have a higher risk of death from breast cancer than patients with lower density breasts. Read how researchers came to this conclusion here.
Women with advanced breast cancer now have new hope thanks to the combining two drugs. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that combing two drugs that normally are each given as single agents significantly extended the lives of women with metastatic breast cancer. Combining the drugs anastrozole and fulvestrant at the same showed that women could live six months longer than women who took anastrozole alone, with fulvestrant given later when the disease progressed.
Read more details about the study here.
Our DNA continues to impact how breast cancer is treated—or not treated. Decoding the DNA of patients with advanced breast cancer has allowed scientists to identify distinct cancer "signatures" that could help predict which women are most likely to benefit from estrogen-lowering therapy, while sparing others from unnecessary treatment.
They found several genes that were relatively common in many of the patients' cancers that also appeared to be linked to treatment response. According to the study, about 20 percent of women's tumors had mutations in a potent tumor-suppressor gene called TP53. Women with TP53 mutations also were more likely to have a subtype of breast cancer called luminal B, which has a poor prognosis.
Read more here about the study and its findings.
At the Montgomery Breast Center, we strive to provide the most advanced diagnostic technology for the most accurate detection. Part of our diagnostic technology includes the breast MRI, which is performed when your doctor needs more information than a mammogram, ultrasound or clinical breast exam. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who were at high risk for breast cancer underwent mammography, ultrasounds and MRI. The results indicated that MRI significantly increased detection of early breast cancer compared to mammography alone or mammography plus ultrasound.
The researchers concluded that the addition of screening ultrasound or MRI to mammography in high-risk women may result in a higher cancer detection rate; however, because these supplemental screening tests come with higher false-positive rates and a higher cost, they may not be appropriate for everyone. It’s always important to discuss optimal screening protocol with your physician.
Get all the details of the study here.
New research has found that women who were diagnosed with estrogen-receptor positive tumors, which have protein molecules that need estrogen to grow, are safe to become pregnant after being treated for breast cancer. Despite the fear that high hormone levels that occur during pregnancy might stimulate breast cancer growth, data overwhelming showed that it does not, experts said. Read more about this study, which is the first ever to address the impact of pregnancy on breast cancer outcome in patients with this kind of breast cancer.
New research has found that the switch that releases zinc into cells is linked to a number of diseases, including breast cancer. The body's control mechanisms for delivering zinc to cells could be key to improving treatment for some types of aggressive breast cancer. It was discovered that CK2 opens ZIP7, which suggests that drugs that block this release of zinc could also block cancer development. Read more about of zinc and its role in health and diseases here.
In a recent study, women who were diagnosed with diabetes in the last four years had a 37% higher risk of developing breast cancer than those without the blood glucose disorder. Those who were older than 60 and obese had a 55% greater risk of breast cancer.
These risk factors are similar to those of heart disease, the top killer among women. "Now I can tell them, the risk of breast cancer increases with the same risk factors as heart disease," said Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, director of women's health and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York told MedPage Today. "Let's pay attention to those [risk factors]. Diminishing them is going to protect against breast cancer as well as heart disease."
Take a closer look at specific facts and findings from the study at breastcancer.org.
Nuclear medicine modalities—everything from positron emission mammography (PEM) to breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) to molecular breast imaging (MBI)—show promise for better breast cancer screening and diagnosis for women with dense breast tissue. Various forms are still evolving, but researchers are conducting studies on nuclear medicines to see which modality is best for screening and diagnosis, as well as sensitivity. When using nuclear medicines for diagnosis, it is important to also correlate these results in addition to the patient’s current mammography, ultrasound, biopsy and pathology history. To read about the studies being conducted, go here.
Guliana Rancic, a popular TV host for E! News, shocked fans and viewers when she announced on The Today Show that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36. Recently, Rancic and her husband, Bill, came back on The Today Show to announce that she will undergo a double mastectomy when her lumpectomy failed to rid her body of cancer. You can read more about her battle and reasons for choosing a double mastectomy here.
Recent studies have found that the combination of a lumpectomy and radiation therapy, also referred to as breast-conserving therapy, not only reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence, but also improves survival among women with early stages of breast cancer. Read more about the studies and statistics here.
New findings in breast cancer research show that genetics play a part in those diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer, especially at a younger age. Inherited mutations in two genes—BRCA1 and BRCA2—have been found to greatly increase the lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Mutations in these genes can be passed down through either the mother’s or the father’s side of the family. Find out more about these recent findings here.
According to a recent study, because African-American women are more likely to have a greater number of full term births and less likely to breast feed their babies, they are at higher risk for hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, one of the most difficult subtypes to treat. The study found that women who had two or more children had a 50 percent increased risk of hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. However, among women who breast-fed, there was no longer a significant increased risk. Read more details about the study here.
Recent studies show that women who take beta-blockers, a type of drug used to treat heart conditions and high blood pressure, and are diagnosed with breast cancer may have better outcomes than women who do not take beta-blocker. The studies have indicated that the drug may help control the growth and spread of breast cancer, possibly because of its control stress hormones. Further research needs to be done about the use of beta-blockers and women with breast cancer, but read you can read more about the studies’ statistics here.
Though there has been no evidence that proves that silicone gel-filled breast implants causes breast cancer, the FDA recommends that women with silicone breast implants have routine checkups, including breast MRI scans, to detect any rupture or leakage of the implant. In addition, women should understand that these implants are not made to last a lifetime, and should be removed within 10 years. Read more here.
The FDA has warned that thermography—an infrared camera that shows the patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body—is not a replacement for screening mammography and should not be used by itself to diagnose breast cancer. Women should have regular mammograms, according to screening guidelines or as recommended by a health care provider, and follow a health care provider's recommendations for additional breast diagnostic procedure, which could include thermography, clinical breast exam, breast ultrasound, MRI or biopsy. Read more here.
CBS’s The Early Show featured the latest breast cancer prevention drug, Aromasin. The drug that has already been approved by the FDA to keep breast cancer from reappearing in breast cancer patients may also help prevent breast cancer. The hormone-blocking drug reduced the risk of invasive breast cancer by 65 percent in post-menopausal women who had never had breast cancer, but were at high risk for it. Aromasin also has fewer side effects than other drugs approved to prevent the disease; however, the long-term impact of taking this drug is unknown.
The Dr. Oz Show recently featured an innovative breast cancer tool that is used at the Montgomery Breast Center for better detection—the Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging/Molecular Breast Imaging (BSGI/MBI). This imaging technology shows the metabolic activity of breast lesions independent of breast density and is used as a secondary procedure to mammography. The BSG/MBI is especially useful for patients who have dense breasts, scar tissue, implants or palpable lesions that can be felt, but cannot be detected using mammography or ultrasound. For more information on the BSG/MBI, visit www.dilon.com.
In response to an “erroneous” report posted on the website of the Dr. Oz Show, the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) refutes that the amount of radiation women receive from annual mammograms does not increase their likelihood of developing thyroid cancer. During an X-ray, the thyroid is not exposed to the direct x-ray beam used to image the breast and receives only a small amount of scattered x-rays. Using a thyroid shield during mammograms for protections is not recommended, however, because of its negatives effects on the image quality and interferes with diagnosis. Read more here.
In a recent study, women who were obese and inactive had increased risks of developing triple-negative breast cancer, which tends to be more aggressive than other breast cancers and have fewer treatment options. The article reveals that although triple-negative breast cancer and estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer have important biological differences, the results of the study suggest that obesity and inactivity may increase the risk of both. The importance of eating healthy and being active affects not only your physical appearance, but will have a lasting effect on your overall health as well.
When women experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, many often turn to hormone therapy (with or without progestin) to treat the symptoms. However, recent studies have linked hormone therapy to increased risks of breast cancer when used within five years of menopause. Because many factors influence a woman’s decisions to use hormone therapy, it is important to know the risks associated with breast cancer and to have a yearly mammogram.
When a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, the Montgomery Breast Center understands the importance of support and encourages patients to seek online (social) communities and/or family support groups. According to the article from the Susan G. Komen Foundation for a Cure , reports show that social support in the first year of breast cancer diagnosis may be beneficial and positively affect the patient’s outcome. When fighting this disease, it is important for the patient to know that she is not alone and to find people who know and understand what she is going through.
An annual screening mammogram is quick, easy and one of the surest ways to identify breast cancer. Not counting non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women. For early detection, a yearly mammogram is crucial. Regular mammograms can identify cancerous tissue up to three years before it can be felt.
The lifetime risk of a woman in the U.S. developing breast cancer is 1 in 8, and increases as she ages. The other most common risk factors include being a carrier for the breast cancer gene, having a personal history or family history (85 percent of all diagnoses involve no family history).
These breast changes warrant evaluation by a breast imaging specialist as soon as possible:
Over 80 percent of breast lumps are not cancerous, but only a trained physician can tell for sure.
Approximately 194,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the U.S.
While serious, it’s treatable, especially in its earliest stages. Ninety-six percent of those treated early remain disease-free after five years. Key in treating it early is finding it early – with mammograms or state-of-the-art technology such as the Dilon 6800® Gamma Camera.
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