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Breast cancer patients want to see reconstruction results before surgery
Date: 2012-08-22 19:32:40

A mastectomy is sometimes the best treatment for women who screen positive for breast cancer through a lab test. Some of these patients opt for reconstructive surgery following the removal of their breasts. However, a new survey released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) indicates that 89 percent of women want to see, in person and before they undergo a mastectomy, what the results of such procedures look like.

The findings of this survey are significant in light of previous studies that indicated 70 percent of female breast cancer patients never learn about their options for reconstructive surgery.

"It is our job as doctors to fully inform our patients about breast reconstruction options," said ASPS president Malcolm Roth. "Women are telling us that they want to actually see what reconstruction results would look like beforehand, and as their physicians we need to do everything we can to honor their request."

Other new data indicated that only 23 percent of women knew the wide range of surgical options available, 22 percent were aware of the quality of outcomes and 19 percent understood that the timing of reconstruction after treatment could impact the results.

A proper diagnosis of breast cancer with a lab test is the first step to deciding the best approach.

... Full Story

Pakistani folk remedy may be effective against breast cancer
Date: 2012-08-27 21:20:30

New research suggests that a plant used to brew tea in Pakistani folk medicine may actually be able to fight breast cancer. These results may be relevant to women who screen positive for the malignant disease through a lab test.

Pakistani women have sometimes brewed tea using a plant known as Virgon's Mantlem as a breast cancer treatment. Compared to other cancer regimens, this beverage does not cause side effects such as diarrhea or a drop in blood count.

In order to investigate the effects of this tea, a team of scientists from Aston University and Russells Hall Hospital in the U.K. conducted an experiment in which they exposed breast cancer cells to a plant extract from Virgon's Mantlem. Results showed that the extract killed malignant cells while preserving healthy ones.

"Some of the most important cancer-fighting drugs are originally derived from plants. As this research is at the very earliest stage we won't know for quite some time whether drugs derived from this plant will be effective in treating breast cancer but we look forward to seeing any progress," said Caitlin Palframan, policy manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

In the future, these findings may diversify the number of treatments available for women who learn they have breast cancer through a lab test.

... Full Story

Excess weight elevates risk of breast cancer recurrence
Date: 2012-08-28 21:07:48

Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Montefiore Medical Center discovered that the risk of recurrence of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer tends to be higher among women who are overweight or obese, compared to the odds among smaller patients. This study may be relevant to individuals who screen positive for this malignancy through a lab test.

Experts have known that heavier women are more likely to die than normal-weight women after a new diagnosis of breast cancer. This new study adds to this knowledge by quantifying the risks of recurrent disease among patients who already underwent treatment for stage I-III illness.

"We found that obesity at diagnosis of breast cancer is associated with about a 30 percent higher risk of recurrence and a nearly 50 percent higher risk of death despite optimal treatment," said researcher Joseph Sparano, M.D. "Treatment strategies aimed at interfering with hormonal changes and inflammation caused by obesity may help reduce the risk of recurrence."

Other results showed that these effects increased with body mass index, affecting even subjects who were overweight but not obese.

Women who are unsure of their breast cancer risk can undergo a lab test to find out.

... Full Story

Two breast cancer drugs linked to heart problems
Date: 2012-08-31 19:40:04

Women who screen positive for breast cancer through a lab test should be cautious about using two chemotherapy drugs. Findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute indicate that these treatments may contribute to heart problems.

After examining the medical history of 12,500 invasive breast cancer patients, the researchers determined that women taking the chemotherapy drugs anthracycline or trastuzumab had a substantially higher chance of experiencing heart failure or cardiomyopathy. The risk was even greater for women taking both medications.

"These drugs are toxic. They kill cancer cells, and sometimes kill other cells in the body, too. [But they] are still important for women with breast cancer to use, because we know they improve survival. As with any drug, people need to be aware of the risks, too," said lead author Erin Aiello Bowles of the Group Health Research Institute.

The American Cancer Association (ACA) says that a lab test for cancer markers can detect the presence of cancer, and gauge whether or not a cancer drug treatment is working.

... Full Story

Researchers may have found a way to treat tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer
Date: 2012-08-30 21:43:05

Diagnosis of breast cancer through a lab test is one of the first steps patients can take toward treating their disease. Some patients may benefit from drugs such as tamoxifen, but over time, the disease may become resistant to this therapy.

Recently, researchers from Ohio State University discovered an alternative approach to treating breast cancer that no longer responds to tamoxifen.

More than two-thirds of breast cancer cases are estrogen-receptor positive, meaning they grow in response to the hormone estrogen. Tamoxifen usually blocks this process, but up to 40 percent of patients become resistant after five years. This may be because alternative pathways in the cancer cells allow the disease to thrive.

However, new experiments demonstrated that shutting down two other cellular pathways, known as hedgehog and PI3K/AKT, can help eliminate the tamoxifen-resistant cancer.

Vismodegib, a drug currently in clinical trials, may be able to achieve this effect.

Until researchers learn more about this agent, patients who think they have or are at risk for breast cancer should consider undergoing a lab test. If they are positive, a healthcare provider can help them go over their treatment options.

... Full Story

Researchers say breast cancer screening prevents deaths
Date: 2012-09-07 15:59:56

Australian scientists have published findings indicating that women who succumbed to breast cancer were less likely to have taken a lab test for the condition, and that early detection due to screening increased patients' chances of survival by almost 50 percent.

The study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention compiles information regarding 4,000 women between the ages of 50 and 69, almost 430 of whom had died. The frequency of screening for living women was much higher than that of the deceased group. The scientists said their data contradicts findings that have argued against the effectiveness of screening.

"Sound research methods have been used in this study. I believe it is time to move on from the debate about whether screening reduces mortality and to instead direct research resources to help improve the program for women who choose to use it," said Carolyn Nickson.

Even if an individual finds a lump in one of her her breasts, a lab test for breast cancer might show negative results. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the majority of breast lumps turn out to be fibrocystic breast condition or cysts.

... Full Story

High-fat diet, excess estrogen shown to increase risk for breast cancer in later generations
Date: 2012-09-12 14:09:23

The daughters and granddaughters of women who consume an unhealthy diet while pregnant could see their chances of getting a positive lab test for cancer markers increase, if new data published in Nature Communications holds weight.

To produce these findings, scientists affiliated with Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center administered a high-fat diet to a group of pregnant rats. Compared to the offspring of rats that ate a normal amount, the rate of breast cancer in the daughters and granddaughters of the overfed rats rose by 55 to 60 percent. Another group of pregnant rats were given estrogen supplements with their food, and 50 percent more of their offspring developed breast tumors, sometimes as far down the line as their great-granddaughters.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, some forms of breast cancer - which can be detected through a lab test for cancer markers - feed off estrogen. Excessive alcohol consumption, giving birth after the age of 30, certain types of drugs, hormone replacement therapy, obesity and radiation therapy are all factors the agency indicates as things that could potentially increase the risk of breast cancer.

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Most common breast cancer subtype could still be potentially fatal
Date: 2012-09-19 21:55:51

Even luminal A tumors - normally considered the easiest breast cancer tumors for doctors to eradicate and for the patient to survive - can still cause death a decade after they are found through cancer marker lab testing.

These findings, appearing in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, were compiled over the course of 21 years of monitoring 1,000 breast cancer patients at Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

"It is important to consider breast cancer molecular subtypes in determining the optimal treatment for women with breast cancer. Women with luminal A tumors - the least aggressive but most common cancerous breast tumor - could benefit from extended treatment," said Reina Haque, lead study author from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation.

Nonetheless, breast cancer patients have a high likelihood of surviving luminal A tumors, compared to the four other types of breast cancer listed by the Kaiser researchers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that, according to its most recent available statistics, more than 200,000 women received a positive result from lab testing for breast cancer in 2008.

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Genetic factors applied for new breast cancer treatment
Date: 2012-09-25 14:42:55

Research from the Cancer Genome Atlas - a major government project that studies how DNA relates to 20 kinds of cancer - suggests that therapies for ovarian cancer could be utilized for one of the most deadly of forms of breast cancer they've identified. These findings, based on examinations on breast tumors in more than 800 women, appear in the journal Nature. Someday, researchers say, they could lead to new treatments for individuals whose blood tests for cancer biomarkers screen positive.

"There are certain mutations you can find across cancers in different organs," Eric Topol, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute who did not contribute to the study, told Bloomberg Businessweek. "This is a real transition point, and we have to move toward more sequencing to give patients the best shot toward curing their cancer."

According to The New York Times, it could take years to parlay these findings into real treatments for people who have received poor outcomes from cancer blood tests. Numerous new drug treatments will need to be tailored for treatment strategies that are more focused on individuals.

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Concentration camp study shows hunger increases risk of breast cancer
Date: 2012-09-27 20:18:50

Starvation among children imprisoned by the Third Reich increased their risk of receiving a positive blood test result for breast cancer later in life five-fold, compared to Jewish women who were inflicted with milder forms of hunger at the time. These findings come from the School of Public Health at the University of Haifa, Israel, and appear in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

This study of 65 women - with an average age of 76 - showed that 63 percent of the subjects who had taken an affirmative blood test for breast tumor biomarkers resided in nations that had been taken over by Nazis during their childhood. More than 60 percent of the subjects with breast cancer had been seriously deprived of food during the Nazi regime, while only 40 percent of participants with no breast cancer history lived under such conditions.

"The women who took part in our study had all lived under Nazi control for at least six months" said researcher Nemoi Vin-Raviv. "We believe that our findings will be of interest to clinicians treating women involved in any situation such as war and famine, where food is scarce and hunger is severe."

Other research that appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease last August shows that Holocaust survivors also have a greater than average chance of developing dementia associated with old age.

... Full Story

Breast cancer is common, even among the famous
Date: 2012-10-01 22:22:13

With reverence to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Huffington Post recently published a feature on noteworthy entertainers who, at one point in their lives, received affirmative blood testing for breast tumors.

Proving that women of all ages could potentially be among the more than 200,000 people who the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say could receive blood testing confirming breast tumors each year, The Huffington Post reports that sitcom actresses Christina Applegate and Maura Tierney have both battled breast cancer. Tierney is under 50 years old, while Applegate has not yet turned 40.

Other famous breast cancer patients listed by the news source include aspiring First Lady Ann Romney, funny-woman Wanda Sykes, Grammy award-winner Olivia Newton-John and British songstress Kylie Minogue.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that unfamiliar lumps found in breasts, swelling, irritation, dimpling, flaky skin, pain in the nipple area and nipple discharge are all signs that women should visit their doctors for an examination. According to the CDC, more than 40,000 women a year succumb to breast cancer.

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HIV drug could help breast cancer patients
Date: 2012-10-09 15:05:12

Individuals who have undergone blood tests that detected biomarkers indicating the presence of breast cancer tumors could have a new treatment option related to drugs originally designed for people whose STD tests came out positive for HIV, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Previous studies have shown the drug, Nelfinavir, which inhibits a type of protein in patients who have taken HIV-confirming STD tests, can help reduce the expansion of some types of cancers. However, researchers say their experiments on mice are the first to demonstrate its implications for patients whose blood tests for breast cancer brought up unfortunate results.

"With a relatively low toxicity profile and much available information on its drug-drug interactions and on pharmacokinetics, Nelfinavir is ready for clinical testing in HER2 breast cancer patients," wrote the study authors, before noting that their findings have "important implications in the development of Nelfinavir and its analogs as new anticancer agents."

This is not the only recent study showing that medications for HIV could also be used to treat breast cancer. In July, scientists at Thomas Jefferson University said HIV drugs helped treat patients with triple negative breast cancer, which is particularly difficult to survive, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Hormone connected to multiple diseases
Date: 2012-10-10 18:25:27

A recent study shows that high levels of a certain satiation hormone called proneurotensin, found in the gastrointestinal system, could be linked to an increased probability of receiving positive blood tests for diabetes or breast cancer, and may even make the chances of a heart attack more likely.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, this study compiles examinations of blood samples collected over several years from more than 4,500 individuals participating in the Swedish population study Malmo Diet and Cancer.

"It was surprising to find such a clear link to the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as to breast cancer," said Olle Melander of the Department of Clinical Sciences at Lund University. "Obesity is a common risk factor for all three conditions, but the connection with proneurotensin is not explained by obesity or other known risk factors."

HealthDay News spoke with Melander in a follow-up report, and the study's primary author told the news source that the correlation between higher-than-average amounts of proneurotensin and higher chances of unfortunate outcomes from blood tests applied to women, but not men.

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Breast density may not elevate mortality risk in cancer patients
Date: 2012-08-21 14:51:50
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute discovered that having dense breasts does not necessarily mean that patients who have breast cancer are more likely to die. This finding may be important for individuals who screen positive for the malignant disease through a lab test.... Full Story

Fat transfer may help breast cancer survivors post-mastectomy
Date: 2012-08-10 14:59:38
Diagnosis with a lab test is one of the first steps toward successfully tackling breast cancer. From there, women may undergo several treatments, which may include radiation, chemotherapy or a mastectomy of one or both breasts.... Full Story

Scientists study plant compound in treatment of breast cancer
Date: 2012-08-03 14:18:45
In order to help women who, with the help of a lab test, discover that they have breast cancer, scientists everywhere are trying to find new and more effective drugs to threat the disease. Recently, a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute evaluated phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a natural compound derived from plants.... Full Story

Scientists find new potential target for breast cancer
Date: 2012-08-02 17:17:30
Early diagnosis of breast cancer with the help of a lab test is key to a good prognosis. In the interest of developing better treatments for patients, a team of researchers from the University of Western Ontario studied the effects of a protein found in breast cancer cells.... Full Story

Breast cancer may be more likely among mothers who deliver larger babies
Date: 2012-07-18 13:55:12
Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston discovered that delivering large-weight babies may increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer in the future. These findings may be relevant to women who are considering a lab test to assess their breast cancer profile.... Full Story

Researchers develop new therapy for treatment-resistant breast cancer
Date: 2012-07-03 15:21:47
There are relatively few effective treatments for women who have received lab test results indicating they have triple-negative breast cancer. This form of the disease is typically unresponsive to most therapies. However, a team of researchers from Boston University may have found a medication that stops the growth of cancer cells.... Full Story

AMA recommends access to breast cancer testing for women in their 40s
Date: 2012-06-21 15:28:59
All women should have access to breast cancer testing starting at age 40, according to a new policy statement from the American Medical Association. The recommendation contradicts recent guidance from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.... Full Story

Unnecessary imaging may be major breast cancer risk
Date: 2012-06-13 15:33:36
Women who have undergone many imaging procedures may want to consider lab testing for breast cancer. A new paper published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that unnecessary X-rays and MRIs may be among the leading environmental causes of the disease.... Full Story

Researchers say follow-up breast cancer testing may not be necessary
Date: 2012-05-04 15:59:46
Lab tests for breast cancer do not always deliver clear-cut results. Sometimes a test may indicate the presence of a growth, but this does not necessarily mean that it is cancerous. Still, most doctors will choose to follow up with patients who receive these suspicious results with an MRI-guided needle biopsy.... Full Story

Researchers find why certain medications don't work for all breast cancer patients
Date: 2012-05-03 16:11:59
Following lab testing that indicates a woman has breast cancer, it is critical to determine what type of tumor the patient has and understand how it will respond to various therapies. There are several types of breast cancer, each of which react different to specific medications.... Full Story

Researchers explain why alcohol is a risk factor for breast cancer
Date: 2012-04-24 16:39:48
It has long been noted that drinking large amounts of alcohol puts a woman at risk for receiving a positive lab test for breast cancer. However, researchers were not exactly sure why this association exists. Now, a team of Mexican researchers may have explained the problem.... Full Story

Breast cancer patients may not hear all their options
Date: 2012-04-18 15:57:24
Following a positive lab test for breast cancer, many women may not be informed of all their treatment options, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology-Biology-Physics.... Full Story

Men whose wives are treated for breast cancer face health risk factors
Date: 2012-04-16 16:04:47
Lab testing indicating the presence of breast cancer is known to put women at serious health risk, for obvious reasons. However, new findings suggest that this situation may also jeopardize the health of a woman's husband in many subtle ways.... Full Story

New study links cruciferous vegetable consumption to improved breast cancer treatment outcomes
Date: 2012-04-04 16:04:48
Women who have received positive lab tests for breast cancer may benefit from a few extra servings of broccoli each week. New research has linked increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables to improved breast cancer treatment outcomes.... Full Story

Inflammatory molecules linked to breast cancer metastasis
Date: 2012-04-02 15:51:49
Women with inflammatory conditions like arthritis may want to consider seeking lab testing for breast cancer. New research indicates that this inflammation may play a role in the spread of breast cancer cells.... Full Story

Obesity may affect breast cancer recurrence rates
Date: 2012-03-23 15:48:42
For women who receive lab test results indicating they have breast cancer, the prognosis may be more favorable if they are not overweight. New research indicates that women who are overweight or obese at the time of their diagnosis may be more likely to experience a recurrence of cancer after their initial treatment.... Full Story

New study shows benefit to regular breast cancer testing
Date: 2012-03-21 16:04:18
Expanding lab tests for breast cancer to more women could save millions of lives, according to a new study at the recent European Breast Cancer Conference.... Full Story

Mammography helps detect breast cancer at earlier stages
Date: 2012-02-22 17:02:48
When a woman's lab testing for breast cancer involves mammography, tumors tend to be diagnosed at an earlier stage and are treated more effectively, according to a new study published in the journal Radiology.... Full Story

Cancer survivors tend to live less healthy lifestyles, study finds
Date: 2012-02-15 16:55:34
After receiving lab test results that indicate the presence of breast cancer, it may seem logical that a woman would start living a healthier lifestyle. However, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology, this is generally not the case.... Full Story

Genetic risk factors for breast cancer may increase heart disease risk
Date: 2012-01-25 16:58:18
Some women who have learned through lab testing that they have breast cancer may benefit from asking their doctor to also take a look at their cardiovascular health. New research suggests that breast cancer and heart disease may share genetic risk factors.... Full Story

Young breast cancer patients have a harder time coping
Date: 2012-01-23 16:52:12
Following lab testing that reveals a woman has breast cancer, her life changes in a number of ways. New research suggests that these changes may be more negative for younger women diagnosed with the condition.... Full Story

Researchers explain how statins may lower breast cancer risk
Date: 2012-01-20 16:53:17
Statin medications have been shown to reduce a woman's risk of receiving a positive breast cancer test, yet doctors have not been entirely sure why this is. Now, a new study out of Columbia University may explain this benefit, and open the door to the use of statins to protect against tumors.... Full Story

Many women are left out of breast cancer treatment decision making
Date: 2012-01-11 16:37:18
Many women who have received positive lab test results for breast cancer are not included by their physicians in decisions about treating their condition and part of the reason may have to do with low levels of disease knowledge, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.... Full Story

Parents often tell children of positive lab tests for genetic risk factors for cancer
Date: 2012-01-10 16:57:55
Lab tests for breast cancer can present a parent with many tough decisions. For instance, if screening reveals that the carry genetic risk factors for the condition, should they tell their children that they too may have hereditary susceptibility?... Full Story

Red wine may reduce breast cancer risk, study finds
Date: 2012-01-06 16:41:42
Drinking moderate amounts of red wine - and not other types of alcohol - may help women reduce their chances of receiving lab test results indicating they have breast cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of Women's Health.... Full Story

Meditation keeps breast cancer survivors from becoming depressed
Date: 2012-01-03 16:46:38
Following a positive lab test for breast cancer, a woman may feel overwhelmed and stressed. This reaction is common among breast cancer survivors and is a primary cause of depression. However, new research indicates that simple meditative practices may help prevent depression among breast cancer survivors.... Full Story

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