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November 28, 2006, 4:58 AM CT

Big Bias In Who Gets Screened For Breast Cancer

Big Bias In Who Gets Screened For Breast Cancer
Certain women may miss out on routine tests that screen for early signs of breast cancer.

Elderly women, women with publicly funded health insurance and women who don't go to an obstetrician and gynecologist for routine exams are all less likely than others to get a clinical breast exam and a recommendation for a mammogram.

"A physician's recommendation is why a number of women undergo screening in the first place," said Rajesh Balkrishnan, the Merrell Dow professor of pharmacy at Ohio State University. "Foregoing these exams can increase a woman's risk of developing an advanced stage of breast cancer. There are several reasons why a doctor may not give a patient a clinical breast exam or recommend a mammogram".

Balkrishnan led a study that uncovered some of these possible reasons. The findings currently appear online at the website of the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

The scientists gathered data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), a database run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The NAMCS contains information on a nationally representative sample of practicing physicians and patient visits throughout the United States. The scientists restricted their data set to doctor office visits by women 40 and older from 1996 through 2004.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 23, 2006, 5:21 AM CT

Prolonged Anthracycline Therapy Reduces Heart Problems

Prolonged Anthracycline Therapy Reduces Heart Problems
Stretching out a dose of chemotherapy over six or more hours may reduce the risk of heart problems caused by certain usually used cancer drugs, as per a new review of recent research.

Anthracycline drugs like daunorubicin and doxorubicin are used to treat a number of types of solid tumors and blood cancers such as leukemias in adults and children.

Anthracycline treatment can be very successful at controlling cancer, but heart damage caused by anthracycline therapy is a considerable and serious problem, said Dr. Elvira van Dalen of the Emma Childrens Hospital in the Netherlands.

She and her colleagues observed that the rates of heart failure among adult patients receiving anthracycline treatment were significantly lower when the patients had an infusion of the drug that lasted six or more hours, in comparison to shorter infusions times.

In five studies involving 557 patients, the longer therapy cut the risk of heart failure by nearly 75 percent in comparison to the risk in patients who received the short therapy.

van Dalen said the prolonged dose of six hours or more might be justified if a patient is at high risk of heart damage or needs a high cumulative dose of the chemotherapy.

The review appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 8:47 PM CT

Cancer In Women With Rare Breast Condition

Cancer In Women With Rare Breast Condition On a mammogram, LCIS and ALH typically look like small deposits of calcium.
Women whose mammograms reveal a suspicious lesion need a needle biopsy to confirm or rule out cancer. But if that biopsy reveals only abnormal - not malignant - cells, is a more extensive evaluation necessary?.

Yes, suggests a new study by doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. They looked at the medical records of women whose initial core-needle breast biopsies found rare, yet non-malignant breast conditions: atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH) or lobular carcinoma-in-situ (LCIS). These lesions are known to increase a woman's risk of breast cancer, but what the scientists found was surprising.

Follow-up surgical biopsies in which more breast tissue was removed observed that up to 25% of the women actually had cancer in addition to their high-risk breast conditions. Most of the cancers were invasive, meaning the tumors had penetrated normal breast tissue and would require therapy. None of the tumors had spread beyond the breast.

"This is very significant," explains lead author Julie A. Margenthaler, M.D., assistant professor of surgery and a breast surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "We now know that we can't assume that women with ALH or LCIS are cancer free."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 8:00 AM CT

Vaccine Shows Promise Against Breast Cancer

Vaccine Shows Promise Against Breast Cancer
A diagnosis of breast cancer has taken on a new meaning in the past 10 years, as research has produced a host of new therapies and detection techniques, significantly improving long-term survival for women who have been fighting the disease. To build on these successes, scientists are now harnessing what they have learned about treating breast cancer and applying it to possible methods of prevention to reduce the total occurence rate of the disease. One study presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting in Boston looks at a specific target in the fight against breast cancer and evaluates a potential vaccine that is yielding promising results for women who are at high-risk for the disease.

Targeted immunoediting of critical pathways responsible for breast cancer development: therapy of early breast cancer using HER-2/neu pulsed dendritic cells.

Multiple genetic targets have been discovered that may help fight breast cancer, including BRCA, estrogen receptors, and HER-2/neu, all of which have been known to predict the severity of disease, recurrence and overall survival. Developing novel therapies that target these specific genetic variances may be extremely beneficial in preventing breast cancer for a number of women.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 7:45 AM CT

Psychological Needs Of Breast Cancer Patients

Psychological Needs Of Breast Cancer Patients
Almost half of newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer are found to have clinically significant emotional distress or symptoms of psychiatric disorders before therapy is begun, as per a new study reported in the recent issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society. The study reveals that while virtually all of the women admitted to,experiencing some level of emotional distress, 47 percent met clinically significant screening criteria for emotional distress or a psychiatric disorder, including major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Studies have shown that significant emotional distress, including mood disorders and related functional impairments, afflict up to one-third of breast cancer survivors for up to 20 years after therapy. However, little was previously known about the baseline psychological status of newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer.

To help characterize pre-treatment psychological status, Mark T. Hegel, Ph.D. of the Department of Psychiatry and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center of Dartmouth Medical School and his colleagues conducted psychiatric and functional screening of 236 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

Their findings indicate that almost one in two women met clinically significant criteria for emotional distress or a psychiatric disorder. The most common problem was moderate to severe emotional distress (41 percent). The most usually reported source of distress was correlation to the cancer diagnosis (100 percent), followed by uncertainty about therapy (96 percent) and concern about physical problems (81 percent). Twenty-one percent of women met criteria for psychiatric disorders, including major depression (11 percent) and PTSD (10 percent). These women also demonstrated significant declines in daily functioning that were due to the emotional disorders. Treatment for their cancer had still not begun.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 5:29 PM CT

Smoking Related Cancers

Smoking Related Cancers
There are currently about fifty million smokers in the U.S. and there are another fifty million ex-smokers. Cigarette smoking has been linked to several human malignancies. Some of these links like the relationship between smoking and lung cancer are well established. In some other cases the relationship between smoking and cancer is not very well established. However several studies have clearly shown the malignant potential of chemical substances in cigarette smoke. This article is an attempt to summarize some of the known links between cigarette smoking and caner.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer has a strong association with smoking. On average, smokers increase their risk of lung cancer between 5 and 10-fold compared to never smokers. Even though lung cancer can occur in non-smokers, it should be appreciated that more than 90 percent of all lung cancer patients are current or past smokers. Some sub types of lung cancer like small cell lung cancer is more strongly associated with smoking than others. There is plenty of research evidence in the literature linking lung cancer to smoking. A recent study published in the British Journal Of Medicine (Ref: BMJ 1997) concluded that the accumulated evidence support the fact secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke could lead to lung cancer. ........

Posted by: Agarwaal MD      Permalink


November 1, 2006, 4:34 AM CT

Estrogen Receptor Metastatic Breast Cancer Link

Estrogen Receptor Metastatic Breast Cancer Link
Breast cancer awareness month may have passed, but scientists remain focused on the disease with a new study showing that a unique estrogen receptor found in breast cancer tumors is a predictor of tumor size and metastases. The study, led by scientists at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School, is reported in the November 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

"We observed that a novel estrogen receptor, termed GPR30, is associated with breast tumor progression and increased tumor size,"says lead author Edward J. Filardo, PhD, research associate at Rhode Island Hospital and assistant professor at Brown Medical School. "Furthermore, the results support previous research suggesting that GPR30 acts independently from the two known estrogen receptors, ERƒÑ and ERƒÒ."

Estrogen receptors act like ears on a breast cancer cell ¡V estrogen attaches to the receptor and transmits signals that tells the cell to grow and multiply. Physicians test for receptors to help determine the most appropriate therapy for patients with breast cancer. Typically, the more estrogen receptors present, the more likely the patient will respond to hormone treatment, such as tamoxifen.

However, approximately one in four patients that test positive for estrogen receptors, do not respond to hormone treatment prompting researchers to propose that there may be additional types of estrogen receptors that play a role tumor growth. Filardo and co-author Jeffrey Quinn, PhD, first identified GPR30 as a potential alternate estrogen receptor capable of triggering breast cancer cell growth in 2000.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 30, 2006, 6:34 PM CT

Breast Cancer Therapy In Which Order?

Breast Cancer Therapy In Which Order?
For women who have had surgery for early breast cancer, it may not matter whether they receive follow-up chemotherapy before, after or during radiation treatment, as per a new review of studies.

A woman's chances of survival or seeing the cancer return are similar in all three cases, if radiation treatment and chemotherapy begin within seven months after surgery, the review concludes.

However, the studies suggest that certain toxic side effects in the blood and esophagus -- common in chemotherapy and radiation patients -- may be up to 44 percent more likely when the two therapies are delivered at the same time, said Dr. Brigid Hickey and his colleagues at the Southern Zone Radiation Oncology Service in Brisbane, Australia.

The reviewers also note that most of the women in the studies were treated about 10 years ago. "As a result, the trials do not assess the modern types of radiotherapy and newer types of chemotherapy" and other anti-cancer drugs such as Herceptin, Hickey said.

Studies show that radiation treatment can reduce the risk of breast cancer returning in the treated breast and boost the likelihood of survival after breast cancer surgery. Doctors may also prescribe chemotherapy to women at high risk for having the cancer spread to other parts of the body after surgery, to reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


October 30, 2006, 5:48 PM CT

Oral Contraceptives Increase Risk For Breast Cancer

Oral Contraceptives Increase Risk For Breast Cancer
A meta-analysis reported in the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings indicts oral contraceptives as putting premenopausal women at significantly increased risk for breast cancer, particularly women who use them previous to having a child.

The meta-analysis builds on a number of studies with similar findings. But even as the findings stack up, a number of women are unaware of the risks posed by oral contraceptive use previous to pregnancy, says lead study author Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., of Altoona Hospital in Altoona, Pa.

Dr. Kahlenborn says the discrepancy between risk and patient awareness prompted the meta-analysis, which involved extracting data from 34 studies on whether oral contraceptive (OC) use is linked to premenopausal breast cancer. Included in the studies were women who were premenopausal or younger than 50 and who had been, in most cases, diagnosed with breast cancer during or after 1980.

"As I studied the medical literature, I noticed that a trend appeared," says Dr. Kahlenborn. "Namely, OC use previous to first-term pregnancy seemed to consistently increase the risk of premenopausal breast cancer. Eventhough the trend was apparent, premenopausal women have continued to hear that OCs are basically safe".

Rather, patients should know that sustained oral contraceptive use previous to pregnancy increases a premenopausal woman's risk of developing breast cancer, saysDr. Kahlenborn. He says physicians should better inform their patients of the risks linked to oral contraceptives and calls it a "clear-cut informed consent issue".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


October 30, 2006, 5:31 PM CT

How Multiple Copies Of A Gene Affect Metastasis?

How Multiple Copies Of A Gene Affect Metastasis?
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have for the first time described how multiple copies of a gene are responsible for metastases in early-stage breast cancer and poor prognosis for patients.

As per a research findings published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the gene, called uPAR, offers a promising target for therapeutic drugs to stop or slow the progression of the disease and could serve as a screening tool for assessing which types of drugs a patient will respond to.

The gene launches a biochemical process in which a molecule called plasmin perforates the membranes of tissues, causing the membranes to break down and allowing the cancer cells to escape into the bloodstream and to adjacent tissues. The result is metastasizing breast cancer. About 20 percent to 25 percent of breast-cancer patients were shown to have uPAR gene amplification, which means they carry too a number of copies of the gene.

"The uPAR system probably plays a role in metastases in a number of of the common solid tumors," said Dr. Jonathan Uhr, professor in the Cancer Immunobiology Center and of microbiology and the study's senior author.

While analyzing slides of individual tumor cells - either from the primary tumor or circulating tumor cells - of 72 patients with advanced recurrent breast carcinoma, the UT Southwestern research team discovered how uPAR may work in concert with another known breast cancer gene, HER-2.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink



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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.

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