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Breast cancer checks may be administered less often
Date: 2013-01-14 00:00:00

When it comes to treating cancer and other serious illnesses, early detection is key. However, there is debate over when it is prudent to administer cancer screening tests and who should receive them, since not everyone will be able to pursue a full spectrum of treatment. Some experts postulate that discovering cancer in certain patients can cause more harm than help, and recent research published in the British Medical Journal supports that end.

According to researchers at the University of California in San Francisco, giving a breast cancer screening test to some patients with less than 10 years of life expectancy remaining can produce more negative than positive outcomes. Scientists looked at a number of studies of previous breast cancer assessments that took place between 1986 and 2008, including more than 150,000 people over the age of 50 with up to 20-year follow up windows on each case. They discovered that, in those with more than five years of expected life left, the long-term benefits of treatment could produce better quality of life in the future. For those with less than that allotted time predicted remaining, the strain of treatment was more detrimental to ongoing life and enjoyment than had they not been diagnosed and administered treatment for the issue.

Making better personal care strategies... Full Story

Exercise is key for breast cancer survivors, but few meet guidelines
Date: 2013-04-18 00:00:00

Women who have survived breast cancer often require regular lab tests to detect recurrence, in addition to other healthy lifestyle changes. Recently, researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that while female breast cancer survivors can greatly benefit from getting regular exercise, few meet national physical activity guidelines.

According to the scientists, past research has shown a strong association between physical activity and reduced mortality, extended survival and higher quality of life for breast cancer survivors, so it's important to understand what barriers are keeping these women from working out.

Not just aging ... Full Story

Women in their 40s ignore mammogram recommendations
Date: 2013-05-17 00:00:00

People who have a family history of cancer should get regular lab tests done to make sure that they are healthy. Early detection is the key to successful cancer treatment, which is why people need to get screened for it and other diseases often.

However, while requesting confidential lab tests is something that anyone who is concerned about their cancer risk can do, some cancer screening procedures are not always necessary. For example, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found that women in their 40s continue to get regular mammograms, despite new national guidelines.

According to the researchers, in 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force looked through a number of studies and determined that while women between the ages of 50 and 74 should get mammograms every two years, women who are in their 40s may not need them so regularly. However, despite these revised recommendations, women in their 40s appear to be getting mammograms at the same rate as they always have.

Mixed results ... Full Story

Immune cells may increase breast cancer risk
Date: 2013-09-19 00:00:00

Lab tests have revealed that certain immune system cells in women may actually increase the risk for breast cancer. The results of a study from Adelaide University in Australia found that certain cells behave differently during the menstrual cycles of mice, and this change may be the same for women.

Immune cells and cancer correlation... Full Story

Walks may help prevent cancer in women
Date: 2013-10-06 00:00:00

Taking a walk or getting another form of exercise may significantly reduce the risk of cancer in older women, according to a study from the American Cancer Association. The results show that an active lifestyle can help reduce the risk of breast cancer, so those who may be at risk should consider adding an exercise regimen to their lives.

Exercise and cancer... Full Story

Breast cancer vaccine may prevent reoccurring cases
Date: 2013-10-15 00:00:00

New advances may have created a vaccine that could help reduce the rates of breast cancer recurrences, which are often deadly for women diagnosed with the disease. According to lab tests, the vaccine has been successful, so testing in human patients can now begin.

Breast cancer vaccine developments... Full Story

Dietary changes could reduce risk of breast cancer
Date: 2013-12-03 00:00:00

Following research conducted in lab tests at the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, NC, new studies have found a link between high cholesterol and breast cancer in post-menopausal women. The presence of a molecule that imitates estrogen activity could be traced to tumor development in breast cancer tissue.

"What we have now found is a molecule - not cholesterol itself, but an abundant metabolite of cholesterol - called 27HC that mimics the hormone estrogen and can independently drive the growth of breast cancer," stated Donald McDonnell, M.D., senior author of the report and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke.

The lab test, conducted using mice that exhibit similar reactions to humans, concluded that 27HC had immediate association with tumor growth and expansion to other organs in the body. However, the researchers discovered that the introduction of antiestrogen medications such as statins substantially diminished the effects of 27HC. Almost three-quarters of breast cancers are fueled by estrogen, and with the discovery of 27HC, McDonnell and his team have identified a mechanism that attributes high levels of cholesterol to the risks of breast cancer.

Additionally, the researchers deduced that the elevated levels of 27HC also combat the effects of antiestrogen remedies like tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors.

"Human breast tumors, because they express this enzyme to make 27HC, are making an estrogen-like molecule that can promote the growth of the tumor. In essence, the tumors have developed a mechanism to use a different source of fuel," said McDonnell.

These results suggest that the simple method of cholesterol testing, and staying on a healthy diet could help prevent the risk of breast cancer.

Reducing breast cancer risk... Full Story

New method of measuring breast density could improve screening processes
Date: 2013-12-04 00:00:00

According to a study revealed at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, lab tests show that changes in the density of women's breasts as they age have strong ties to the risk of breast cancer. Utilizing a new method of measurement and a focus group comprised of breast cancer patients and healthy women, the report was able to determine that women without cancer experienced a steady decline in breast density as they aged compared to those with cancer.

"Women under age 50 are most at risk from density-associated breast cancer, and breast cancer in younger women is frequently of a more aggressive type, with larger tumors and a higher risk of reoccurrence," stated Nicholas Perry, M.B.B.S., senior author of the study and director at the London Breast Institute in England.

The American Cancer Society recommended that women should get an MRI in addition to a full mammogram if they are at risk of breast cancer, as mammograms sometimes do not detect cancer given the density of a patient's breast. Even then, MRIs are only suggested for those at high risk of developing cancer.

Perry and his collaborators worked with nearly 600 participants, split evenly between women with cases of breast cancer and healthy patients. The women went through full mammograms, while the breast density was measured using a new system designed by the team at LBI.

"In general, we refer to breast density as being determined by mammographic appearance, and that has, by and large, in the past been done by visual estimation by the radiologist - in other words, subjective and qualitative," Perry explained.

Using a new system of density measurement, the researchers employed an algorithm that made breast density more assessable than it has been in the past. The updated formula could prove to be extremely beneficial in later screenings for breast cancer.

The future of testing for cancer... Full Story

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