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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.

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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.

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