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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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