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Breast Cancer Blog: From Medicineworld.org

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Do You Read All Of Our Cancer Blogs?

Do You Read All Of Blogs?
This page you have reached is an archive page of breast cancer blog. If you wish to read current posting of this blog, please go to breast cancer blog main page. If you wish to read the archived blog postings, simply scroll down to the lower part of the page.

Do you read all of the blogs published by medicineworld.org? Many of our bloggers are busy keeping you updated on the various health related topics. We publish the following blogs at this time.

Cancer blog: I manage the cancer blog with lots of help and support form other bloggers. Through this cancer blog my friends and I try to bring stories of hope for patients with cancer. The cancer blog often republishes important blog posts from other cancer related blogs at Medicineworld.org. If you are searching for a blog that covers wide variety of cancer topics, this may be the one for you.

Breast cancer blog: Breast cancer blog is run by Emily and other bloggers and they bring you the latest stories, news and events that are related to breast cancer. Increasing awareness about breast cancer among women and in the general population is the main goal of this breast cancer blog.

Lung cancer blog: Lung cancer blog is managed by Scott with the help of other bloggers. Through this blog Scott and his friends constantly remind the readers about the dangers of smoking. It's a never-ending struggle against this miserable disease with which a social stigma of smoking is associated.

Colon cancer blog: Colon cancer blog is run by Sue and other bloggers. Sue brings a personal touch to the colon cancer blog since her mother died of colon cancer few years ago. She writes about stories, research news and advances in treatment related to colon cancer.

Prostate cancer blog: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. American Cancer Society estimates that over 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer occur in the United state every year. This important blog about prostate cancer is run by Mark and other bloggers. This blog brings news, stories, and other personal observations related to prostate cancer.

Medicineworld.org publishes a diabetes watch blog and this blog is run by JoAnn other bloggers. This diabetes watch blog brings you the latest in the field of diabetes. This includes personal stories, advances in diagnosis and treatment, and other observations about diabetes. Improving awareness about diabetes is an important mission of this group.

Janet      

Dec 5, 2005

High-Dose Chemo For Advanced Breast Cancer?

High-Dose Chemo For Advanced Breast Cancer?
I have a friend who works in a cancer center. She said that they use to do high dose chemotherapy routinely for patients with advanced stage breast cancer but not anymore. High dose chemotherapy was once a hot topic among breast cancer researchers. It has fallen out of favor among researchers in the recent years because of lack of evidence for survival with this approach.

Now a group of researchers from Germany says that regimen of high-dose chemotherapy may be effective in treatment of advanced stage breast cancer.

"Standard treatment may not be appropriate for women with breast cancer who are at a very high risk of recurrence," said Dr. Ulrike Nitz, lead author of the study, which appears in the Dec. 3 issue of The Lancet. "In this context, our trial really offers some hope for this subgroup of patients."

Experts are urging caution in this regard because of the obvious contradiction to previous studies, which showed no benefit for high dose chemotherapy.

"It's an interesting study but it's still too early to make a definitive answer," said Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in Baton Rouge, La.

The researchers claim that recurrence free survival was 60 percent in the high-dose chemotherapy group compared to 44 percent in the conventional chemotherapy group.

Emily      Permalink

Dec 5, 2005

Do you sleep with lights on?

Do you sleep with lights on?
Do you sleep with lights on? I can't sleep with lights on, but I have seen some of my friends sleeping with lights on. A friend of mine once told me that she is afraid of darkness and would always sleep with lights on. If you sleep with lights on may be it's better to change this habit because researchers say that exposure to bright light during sleep can promote breast cancer growth in women.

The researchers claim that this is the first study that provides evidence for connection between the biological activity and development of cancer in humans. Researcher David Blask and colleagues from Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown collected blood samples from female medical students and testing and tested in breast cancer growing in rats.

Researchers say that the increase in breast cancer cell growth is related to melatonin production. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, which is a pea-size structure located at the center of the brain. Melatonin is produced at night during a normal sleep and this helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycles. This hormone production is responsible for the biological clock inside you.
Blask says that breast cancer tumors are suppressed when exposed to melatonin levels during the normal night sleep. A woman who work night shifts and sleep during the day doesn't make enough melatonin to inhibit breast cancer.

So if you are sleeping with lights on, then try to sleep without lights, and if you are sleeping with lights off try to completely darken your bedroom to preserve your share of melatonin.

Blask said that he focused this research on breast cancer because breast cancer cells like prostate cancer cells are known to be sensitive to melatonin. Blake's findings are due to be published in the forthcoming issue of the journal Cancer Research, one of the top cancer publications in the world.

Sherin      Permalink

Dec 3, 2005

Passive Smoking May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Passive Smoking May Increase Breast Cancer Risk
Passive Smoking May Increase Breast Cancer Risk
I always hated the smell of smoke and get really irritated if someone smokes near me. I just cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke. I hate going to public places where smoking is allowed and the whole place stinks with the smell of tobacco.

I was little lazy this morning and was late to get up from that most pleasant part of my sleep, which is in the early hours of the day. I can afford the luxury of little pleasures like this because of the weekend. I stayed in the bed watching the leafless trees outside my bedroom still studded with the honey drops of due and snow.

Finally I forced myself up, had a brunch and started on my computer. I was thinking what I am going to write today and saw this article on the dangers of passive smoking. I thought I would share the news with you.

You don't have to be smoking to be exposed to the dangers of smoking. If your husband, boyfriend, roommate or anyone close to you smoke, then you may be exposing yourself to the dangers of smoking including risk of development of breast cancer and lung cancer.
This is not just my opinion. Dr. Kenneth C. Johnson, of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, examined the association between breast cancer risk and passive and active smoking in an analysis of 19 published studies. His findings are published in the International Journal of Cancer.

In short the researchers found that long-term regular exposure to passive smoking was associated with an overall 27-percent increased risk of breast cancer among women who had never smoked.

Next time someone smokes near you, you have one more reason to move away from that person.

Sherin      Permalink

Dec 2, 2005

ASCO Lists Top Treatment Advances for 2005

ASCO Lists Top Treatment Advances for 2005
With another two major cancer meeting to take place namely the meeting of the American Society of Hematology and the San Antonio Breast cancer meeting to occur in December, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is listing the most important break breakthroughs in the year 2005.

Their list of the most important breakthroughs includes:
  • Herceptin (trastuzumab) combats breast cancer: Up to 30 percent of breast cancer patients have malignancies that overproduce the HER-2 protein, and these cancers have been notoriously resistant to therapy. However, a recent study found Herceptin slashed cancer recurrence in this high-risk group by half. "Many in the breast cancer community feel this is one of the most important breast cancer advances in decades,"
  • Chemotherapy boosts survival after lung-cancer surgery: A major study found that "adjuvant" (post-surgery) chemotherapy greatly reduced the risk of tumor recurrence in patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancers. Experts have debated the usefulness of adjuvant chemotherapy against these tumors for years, and "these findings resolve the debate,"
  • Avastin (bevacizumab) fights advanced lung and colon cancers: This "angiogenesis inhibitor" drug, which cuts off the tumor's blood supply, proved effective in a recent trial in extending survival for patients with tough-to-treat advanced colon and non-small cell lung cancers. "This is the first study to show that a targeted therapy added to [standard] chemotherapy could improve survival."
  • Chemotherapy before surgery boosts stomach cancer survival: Updated results from a major British trial showed that a combination of chemotherapy drugs given before surgery significantly increased five-year survival for patients with stomach cancer. "These findings are changing the way gastric cancer is treated in the United States," said Dr. Roy S. Herbst, ASCO's chairman of cancer communications.
  • Two new cervical cancer vaccines adding protection: While Pap smears have nearly eliminated cervical cancer in the developed world, the disease still kills thousands of women each year in poorer countries. However, two new vaccines appear to protect women against infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is thought to trigger most cervical cancers.


Janet      Permalink

Dec 1, 2005

Sperber Loses Fight Against Breast Cancer

Sperber Loses Fight Against Breast Cancer
Wendie Jo Sperber, who starred opposite Tom Hanks on TV's "Bosom Buddies" has lost her life to the breast cancer. Tom Hanks had described her as "a walking inspiration" after she contracted cancer, she was only 46.

It was a prolong battle for Sperber since the diagnosis of breast cancer in 1997. She fought for eight long years but finally succumbed to this miserable disease and died on Tuesday. She died quietly hat home.

Sperber was a native of Los Angeles and had appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, including all three "Back to the Future" films.

Sperber also had acted in Steven Spielberg's "1941," Robert Zemeckis' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," and Neal Israel's "Moving Violations" and "Bachelor Party." Her television credits include "Murphy Brown," "Private Benjamin," "Will and Grace" and "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter."

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, Sperber became an advocate for cancer care. She worked hard to promote the cause of breast cancer and breast cancer awareness. In 2001, Sperber founded the weSPARK Cancer Support Center, which provides free emotional support, information and social activities for individuals and families affected by cancer. Sperber helped unveil and promote a breast cancer stamp for the U.S. Postal Service in 1998.

"The memory of Wendie Jo is that of a walking inspiration," Hanks said in a statement. "She met the challenges of her illness with love, cheer, joy and altruism. We are going to miss her as surely as we are all better for knowing her."

Sperber is survived by a son and daughter, her parents, two sisters and a brother.

Sherin      Permalink

Nov 29, 2005

Can healthcare Systems Afford New Drugs?

Can healthcare Systems Afford New Drugs?
With the advancement of medicine and introduction of new drugs comes the higher price tag of cancer treatment. The increasing price for newer medications comes from at least two aspects. With the medical advances, diseases are further sub classified to smaller categories and new drugs are being developed targeting these small groups. One example is breast cancer treatment. Some decades ago there was only one form of breast cancer. Then came the hormone positive and hormone negative breast cancer. In the last decade or so Her2 positive and Her2 negative breast cancer came into existence.

Subdivision of the diseases resulted in development of drugs targeting subgroups of patients. Aromatase inhibitors like arimidex were developed specifically for post-menopausal women with receptor positive breast cancer, which is a subgroup within the subgroup of hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Obviously this increases the price tag since the target population became smaller with each subdivision.

Another reason for skyrocketing of new drugs was the introduction more stringent control on clinical trials. Clinical trials in breast cancer now usually involve thousands of women compared to hundreds of women couple of decades ago. This adds to the cost of developing newer drugs.

Herceptin (trastuzumab) is a humanised monoclonal antibody that targets the Her2 positive cancer cells. It is currently licensed for use in advanced breast cancer where it has been shown to extend survival. Recently this drug was shown to reduce recurrence of breast cancer by 50 percent in early stage breast cancer.

Herceptin is the cause of controversy in many countries because of pressures from some quarters, including patients, for it to be made available immediately for early breast cancer, without waiting for the outcome of these trials. You may have read the news story of woman in Scotland suing the health system for not making herceptin available to her.

I do not know where this will end, but one thing is very obvious: with the development of more and more targeted therapy the price of healthcare can go only one way, and that is up.

Emily      Permalink

Nov 29, 2005

Novartis Issues Warning Regarding Femara

Novartis Issues Warning Regarding Femara
Birth defect associated with thalidomide
The makers of the breast drug Femara (Letrozole) is issuing warning that this drug may cause birth defects. This warning comes in light of reports that suggest Femara is being used to help a woman become pregnant.

After reading this news, I was thinking of the thalidomide tragedy. It was on one those black days of 1953 thalidomide was introduced into the market. Thalidomide was prescribed to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. Thousands of women took the drug and the lives of thousands of yet unborn children changed forever. Thalidomide tragedy stands alone as the worst tragedy in the pharmaceutical world. We sure do not want another thalidomide like tragedy.

Femara has only one FDA approved indication, treatment of breast cancer in post-menopausal women, that's it. Fertility doctors claim that due to drug's suppression of estrogen it can promote ovulation. The U.S. label on the drug already warns that it has been associated with birth defects, but concerns arose when a researcher in Canada published a report noting cases where the drug had been given to pregnant women.

Novartis is sending letters to fertility doctors worldwide to reiterate a warning that the drug should not be given to women who may be pregnant.

Health Canada, the country's health care agency, issued the warning jointly with Novartis to fertility specialists, gynecologists and obstetricians. In its letter in Canada, Novartis said it is "aware that Femara is being used to stimulate ovulation in women who are infertile, or unable to become pregnant, as a treatment to increase their chances of becoming pregnant."

The drug "should not be used in women who may become pregnant, during pregnancy and/or while breast-feeding, because there is a potential risk of harm to the mother and the fetus, including risk of fetal malformations," the company said.


Emily      Permalink

Nov 29, 2005

Cabbage May Protect Against Breast Cancer

Cabbage May Protect Against Breast Cancer
How much cabbage did you eat for your last supper? This question might seem silly, but the answer may hold the key to your breast cancer risk. I am not a big time cabbage eater myself, but may be I can change.

A Polish-born epidemiologist who noticed Polish women have lower breast cancer rates says that cabbage consumption makes a big difference. Pathak, along with colleagues from Michigan State University and the National Food and Nutrition Institute of Warsaw, Poland, evaluated the diet of Polish immigrants living in Chicago and surrounding Cook County, and the Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan area.

Women who ate at least three servings a week of raw- or short-cooked cabbage and sauerkraut had a significantly reduced breast cancer risk compared with those who only ate one serving per week, they said at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting in Baltimore this week.

Pathak says that eating a lot of cabbage in adolescence appears to protect against cancer as does eating a moderate amount as a teenager and a lot as an adult. But she said the cabbage must be raw or only slightly cooked. Pathak said breast cancer rates in Poland, where people consume an average of 30 pounds of cabbage a year, is about one-third that in the United States, where the average cabbage consumption is 10 pounds.


Emily      Permalink

Nov 29, 2005

Lumpectomy Option For Patients With Breast Implants

Lumpectomy Option For Patients With Breast Implants
In the past mastectomy was the only breast cancer surgery choice for women who have breast implants. Findings from a new study suggests that these women with breast implants may as well chose to have lumpectomy. This new study challenges a previous study, which concluded that mastectomy is the best option for such women with breast implants. These results were presented at the recent meeting of American Society for Therapeutic Radiology at Denver.

More women today are opting to have cosmetic breast implants. As women age, their risk of breast cancer increases, so a fraction of these women will eventually develop breast cancer. These are the patients who would be most interested in preserving their breasts and avoiding mastectomy.

Previous studies suggested that if women with breast implants receive radiation therapy, that may causes significant problems in the implant, resulting in poor cosmetic results. "Past research was based on a small sample of patients and older radiation techniques," said Rosalyn Morrell, M.D., lead author of this Mayo Clinic study. "Therefore, we investigated a larger group of women treated with radiation using newer techniques that refuted the reports of poor cosmetic outcome among patients."

Between 1994 and 2004, researchers reviewed the records of 26 breast cancer patients with previously augmented breasts who were treated with breast conservation surgery and radiation at the Mayo Clinic. Eighty-five percent of patients followed over a three-year period had favorable cosmetic results following radiation therapy. None of the patients in the study suffered a relapse of their cancer.


Sherin      Permalink

Nov 28, 2005

Distance From Radiation Therapy Facility Determines Lumpectomy Choice

Distance From Radiation Therapy Facility Determines Lumpectomy Choice
The farther away you live from a radiation therapy, the less likely you may get lumpectomy as treatment of breast cancer. Lumpectomy is to be followed by radiation therapy and the distance to this facility is often a key issue in making this decision to have lumpectomy or mastectomy. Being old age, being Hispanic origin, or being unmarried at diagnosis also have a bearing on the decision of mastectomy in preference for lumpectomy.

These findings are from a recent study published in the latest issued of CANCER, which is a publication of the American Cancer Society. Those women who opt for lumpectomy should undergo six weeks of daily radiation therapy after lumpectomy and it is understandable why women living far away from the radiation therapy opt to choose mastectomy over lumpectomy.

To determine whether travel distance from home to a radiation facility is an independent factor predicting lumpectomy followed by radiation use, Lydia Voti, DSc of the University of Miami and her colleagues reviewed inpatient and outpatient data for 18,903 breast cancer cases in Florida treated with BCSR or mastectomy.

The researchers found that the distance a woman had to travel to get treatment at a radiation facility independently impacted women's choice of breast cancer treatment. Consistent with other studies, researchers found that socioeconomic factors, such as lack of health insurance, race-ethnicity (particularly Hispanic origin) and being unmarried also negatively impacted on the use of breast conservation surgery.


Emily      Permalink

Nov 27, 2005

Two New Drugs May Be Highly Effective In Breast Cancer

Two New Drugs May Be Highly Effective In Breast Cancer
Two new drugs in pipeline for the treatment of breast cancer may be the magic bullet for breast cancer. Preliminary studies show that a combination of these two drugs is highly effective in killing cancer cells. Seventy five percent of breast cancer tumor cells in mice were killed by the combination. The new drug combination also suppressed the re-growth of tumors.

These findings were recently published in the journal Cancer Biology and Therapy. Researchers say that this may have implications for breast cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, myeloma and other hematologic cancers.

Paul Dent, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and radiation oncology at VCU, led the team of researchers. In this new study, researchers combined two novel drugs, UCN-01 and a MEK 1/2 inhibitor, which are known to inhibit protein kinases, part of tumor survival signaling pathways.

"In addition to potently inhibiting cells and suppressing tumor growth, these drugs are also part of a modern class of drugs that are less toxic to non-cancerous cells," said Dent. "We are eager to move these exciting findings from the labs to patients."


When studied separately, the drugs only killed a small percent of the cells to which they were exposed. Combined, however, the result was quite startling.

"Within five days, we saw profound tumor cell death," Dent says.


Emily      Permalink

Nov 26, 2005

FDA Issues Warning For Herceptin Plus Chemotherapy Combination

FDA Issues Warning For Herceptin Plus Chemotherapy Combination
Genentec and FDA have issued a recent warning stating that combined use of herceptin (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy may significantly increase the risk of toxicity for the heart. Recent clinical trials have found that combination of herceptin with chemotherapy may improve disease free survival if used an adjuvant therapy in patients with early breast cancer, who over-expresses Her2 gene.

The findings from the trial (NSABP-B31 trial) reports that patients who received combination of herceptin and chemotherapy had 4.1 percent chance of developing congestive heart failure compared to just 0.8 percent chance in those who use chemotherapy alone. The final analysis of data is still ongoing.

The NSABP-B31 trial analyzed 2,043 women with early stage breast cancer over-expressing Her2 with combination of chemotherapy with or without herceptin and found about 50 percent reduction in the recurrence rate of breast cancer in women who received herceptin.

The message is clear: herceptin in combination with chemotherapy is an excellent choice for the right patient, but if used in low risk patients the risk may outweigh the benefit.

Janet      Permalink

Nov 26, 2005

Lapatinib Shows Promise in Breast cancer

Lapatinib Shows Promise in Breast cancer
An orally administered drug under development by GlaxoSmithKline shows promise as a therapy for breast cancer.

A report in the journal Core Evidence says between 10 percent and 38 percent of women with metastatic breast cancer responded to treatment with lapatinib.

"The best results with lapatinib appear to be in patients overexpressing the markers ErbB2 and/or ErbB1, which means it will be possible to target those patients most likely to benefit from treatment," said Andrew Thomson, the author of the study.

Thomson said that lapatinib is a biologic therapy, which will help women whose cancers are not hormone-receptive. Women given the drug generally tolerated it well, while chemotherapy is often associated with bad side effects.

Janet      Permalink

Nov 26, 2005

Women with breast implants may choose breast conserving surgery

Women with breast implants may choose breast conserving surgery
It was previously thought that women who have breast implants in place may have to undergo mastectomy because of poor cosmetic results associated with lumpectomy. This belief stems from an older study, which showed poor cosmetic results in women with breast implants after radiation therapy. A new larger study challenges this belief and reassures women with breast implants that they may undergo breast-conserving surgery as well. This study was recently presented at the recent meeting of American Society for Therapeutic Radiology at Denver.

This option is very important as more and more women today are opting to have cosmetic breast implants. As women age, their risk of breast cancer increases, so a fraction of these women will eventually develop breast cancer. These are the patients who would be most interested in preserving their breasts and avoiding mastectomy.

"Past research was based on a small sample of patients and older radiation techniques," said Rosalyn Morrell, M.D., lead author of this Mayo Clinic study. "Therefore, we investigated a larger group of women treated with radiation using newer techniques that refuted the reports of poor cosmetic outcome among patients."

Between 1994 and 2004, researchers reviewed the records of 26 breast cancer patients with previously augmented breasts who were treated with breast conservation surgery and radiation at the Mayo Clinic. Eighty-five percent of patients followed over a three-year period had favorable cosmetic results following radiation therapy. None of the patients in the study suffered a relapse of their cancer.

Janet      Permalink

Nov 26, 2005

Breast Cancer Drug May Prevent Weight Loss In Cancer

Breast Cancer Drug May Prevent Weight Loss In Cancer
Megesterol acetate (Megace) is an old hormonal drug that was previously used for the treatment of breast cancer. Megace is a synthetic form of the female hormone progesterone. One major problem in the treatment with Megace was unwanted weight gain in women who was taking the drug. With the development of more specific hormonal drugs like Tamoxifen and Arimidex Megace has fallen out of favor for the treatment of breast cancer.

Now there is a new use for this old drug: A recent study has demonstrated that Megace may combat the severe weight loss that can affect patients undergoing radiation treatment for cancer.

Weight loss can be a problem in patients undergoing radiation treatment for various types of cancers including lung cancer and cancers of the head and neck area. The high doses of radiation used to treat these cancers can cause decreased appetite and weight loss, nausea and painful swallowing. These patients typically receive radiation alone or a combination of radiation and chemotherapy, which can worsen the side effects of treatment, particularly nausea.

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center who carried out a new study on this topic demonstrated that weight loss is a significant predictor of how well patients fare. Those who can eat adequate amounts and prevent weight loss often have a better chance of survival.

"The drug clearly reduced weight loss and improved quality of life in study patients," says Dr Michael Farmer, one of the study investigators. However, Dr Farmer also said: "While we know that weight loss is associated with a poorer outcome, we don't know for certain that preventing weight loss will improve survival."

Janet      Permalink


Breast cancer
Every year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Breast cancer ranks second as the leading cause of cancer deaths in American women. Until recently breast cancer topped the list of leading causes of cancer deaths in women, but lately lung cancer has claimed the top position. If skin cancer is excluded, breast cancer is the commonest cancer among American women.

Breast Cancer Blog: From Medicineworld.org

BREAST CANCER MAIN| Home| Breast cancer news| Common terms| Breast cancer symptoms| Mammogram and breast cancer screening| Treatment by stage| Surgical treatment| Chemotherapy| Chemo drugs| Doxorubicin| Cyclophosphamide| Methotrexate| Hormonal therapy| Radiation therapy| Monoclonal therapy| High dose chemotherapy| Recurrent breast cancer| Bisphosphonates| Pregnancy and breast cancer| Risk factors| Risk details| My risk| Comprehensive| Breast cancer statistics| African Americans| Ashkenazi| Asians| Hispanic| Men| Native Americans| Older women| Younger women| Pregnant women| BRCA|

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