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July 28, 2006, 10:41 PM CT

Radiation Cocktail For Breast Cancer

Radiation Cocktail For Breast Cancer
A carefully determined mixture of electron and x-ray beams precisely treated breast tumors while significantly reducing collateral skin damage in 78 patients, scientists will report on August 1 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine in Orlando. The key to choosing the right mixture of beams, as well as their individual properties, was a sophisticated computer approach developed by medical physicists Jinsheng Li, Ph.D. ( and Chang-Ming Ma, Ph.D. of Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

In treating shallow tumors such as those that occur in the breast, physicians have been turning to mixed-beam radiation treatment (MBRT), which employs separate beams of electrons and photons (x-rays). The two types of radiation complement one another, as electrons generally travel to shallow depths while the x-rays can penetrate to deeper parts of the tumor as needed.

However, each beam interacts in complex ways with its environment, making their exact path to the tumor region hard to predict. Nonetheless, physicists can calculate the probability for a given beam to follow a desired trajectory.

Therefore, Li and Ma use computers to simulate billions of trips of each beam to the unique landscape of each tumor. Gathering the statistics from these billions of trials, they determine the best beam properties and mixtures.........

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July 25, 2006, 6:21 AM CT

Family history of breast cancer may be missed

Family history of breast cancer may be missed
Using survey data from April 2003 to March 2005 for Women's Health Clinic patients without breast cancer, scientists observed that while 16% of the participants reported a maternal relative with breast cancer, only 10% reported a paternal relative. Because mothers are much more likely to develop breast cancer than fathers, participants who reported a mother with breast cancer were excluded from the study.

There may be multiple explanations for this unexpected discrepancy. For this particular study, the family histories might be accurate. This would lead to a conflict with current thinking about the inheritance of breast cancer risk. Alternatively, excessive reporting of maternal cancers could have affected the data, but earlier studies of family history indicate that breast cancer reporting tends to be accurate. Finally, men may not be aware of familial breast cancer risk and may not communicate this information to their relatives. This factor could be important where fathers are not present in the home or are unknown to the child. This would contribute to inaccuracy of family history, eventhough misinformation (as opposed to lack of information) about paternity should not affect the maternal paternal ratio.

Writing in the article, John M. Quillin, PhD, suggests, "The most likely explanation for these findings may be under-reporting of breast cancer on the paternal side. Future studies are needed to look for modifiable explanations (e.g., genetics education, family communication specifically for maternal and paternal relatives, or medical documentation) of the discrepancy in the reporting of family history of breast cancer to improve the sensitivity of the family history screen".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

July 25, 2006, 0:20 AM CT

Risk Of Estrogen Plus Testosterone Therapy

Risk Of Estrogen Plus Testosterone Therapy
Women who take a combination of estrogen and testosterone to treat the symptoms of menopause may have an increased risk of breast cancer, as per an article in the July 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

As women age, their natural levels of the hormone testosterone tend to decrease, as per background information in the article. Some evidence suggests that a number of of the symptoms of menopause--including decreased sex drive, worse moods and poorer quality of life--are correlation to this decline in testosterone. Clinical trials have shown that taking testosterone in combination with estrogen may reduce these symptoms and also promote bone health. Only one estrogen plus testosterone treatment is currently available to U.S. women, but the number and prevalence of such therapys are expected to increase in coming years, the authors write.

Rulla M. Tamimi, Sc.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and his colleagues studied the long-term effects of estrogen plus testosterone treatment in 121,700 women who were part of the Nurses' Health Study. The study enrolled female nurses between the ages of 30 and 55 years beginning in 1976. The women completed an initial questionnaire and follow-up surveys every two years that included questions about menopausal status, medical conditions and the use of postmenopausal hormone treatment. For those who reported a diagnosis of breast cancer, medical records were evaluated for verification.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

July 24, 2006, 6:38 AM CT

Tamoxifen does not prevent breast cancer most women

Tamoxifen does not prevent breast cancer  most women
"We observed that for women at the lower end of the high-risk range for developing breast cancer, there is a very small likelihood that taking tamoxifen will reduce mortality," said Joy Melnikow, professor of family and community medicine at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center and lead author of the study. "This would support revising the current recommended risk threshold for physicians to counsel women about tamoxifen".

Tamoxifen was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998 for breast cancer prevention in women who have at least a 1.67-percent chance of developing the disease over the next five years. Such women are considered at high risk for breast cancer. Groups such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care recommend that physicians counsel women above this threshold about the benefits and risks of tamoxifen as a means of preventing the disease.

Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor-modulating drug used to treat estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers. In addition, it has been shown to reduce the occurence rate of invasive breast cancer among high-risk women by up to 49 percent.

However, tamoxifen is linked to significant adverse effects, including cataracts requiring surgery, deep vein thromboses, endometrial cancer and stroke. Women taking tamoxifen, if they do develop breast cancer, are also more likely to develop an estrogen receptor-negative tumor, which has a worse prognosis. (Cancers prevented by tamoxifen are mostly estrogen receptor-positive).........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

July 20, 2006, 8:27 PM CT

Best Online Learning Experience

Best Online Learning Experience
Breast cancer patients who use online information services in combination with computer support groups and other interactive services are the most likely to feel they have the information they need to cope with their illness, as per new research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research.

"Prior research indicated that women with breast cancer can learn as a result of having access to online health education resources, but this is among the first studies to explain how such learning actually occurs," says Bret Shaw, lead author of the study. The results are published as an advance issue of the journal Health Education Research.

To examine the most effective ways that cancer patients learn online, the scientists provided free computers and Internet access to 286 lower income women recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Participants were also provided access to an integrated computer-based health education and support system called the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (CHESS) "Living with Breast Cancer" program offering four distinct types of services.

The first type was information services - static Web pages containing a broad range of breast cancer-related information. The system also offered support groups enabling peer-to-peer communication and an expert service allowing patients to ask a question and receive a response within 48 hours. The other service type was interactive in which the computer played an active role in guiding the user, making suggestions, offering feedback and influencing the user's behavior. A browser automatically collected use data on an individual key stoke level as participants used the system, allowing the scientists to measure what types of services were used. Additionally, women were also surveyed before the study began and four months after receiving the system to determine how certain patterns of use behavior contributed to improved learning outcomes.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

July 19, 2006, 10:29 PM CT

Breast Stem Cell Secrets

Breast Stem Cell Secrets
The most aggressive form of breast cancer may originate from breast stem cells that have undergone genetic mishaps.

Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium researchers from The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, using mouse models, have discovered that breast stem cells do not express receptors for the female hormones oestrogen or progesterone. These and other features of the stem cell resemble the aggressive 'basal' subtype of breast cancer. There is increasing evidence that breast cancer is not simply a single disease. Researchers now view breast cancer as a heterogeneous disease, made up of various subtypes. This observation has led to speculation that breast tumours are derived from different cell types that could include the breast stem cell or its descendents that have suffered genetic accidents.

This possibility has generated great interest in understanding the composition of normal breast cells including the stem cell. A question of particular interest is whether the breast stem cell expresses receptors for oestrogen and progesterone and the marker 'Her2', since these help define the subtypes of breast cancer; and also guide current approaches to treatment.

The WEHI team, together with the Eaves group in Vancouver, have observed that the breast stem cell in mice is 'triple negative' for oestrogen, progesterone and Her2 receptors but does express certain 'basal cell' markers. These characteristics also define the basal subtype of breast cancer, which is more usually seen in tumours that develop in women who are carriers of the breast cancer predisposing gene BRCA1.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 27, 2006, 7:20 AM CT

Chest X-rays May Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer In Some

Chest X-rays May Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer In Some
Getting plain chest X-rays may be a simple thing for a number of of us, but it could be a dangerous thing when it comes to women who may have inherited the breast cancer associated genes (BRCA) that would increase the risk of breast cancer. A recent study involving women with genetic mutation that is known to predispose to breast cancer have found that having a routine chest X-ray could double or even triple the risk of having a breast cancer.

These findings come from Dr. David Goldgar and colleges of University of Utah School of medicine. Their research findings appear in the latest issue of Journal of Clinical Oncology. The findings from the study are entirely clear-cut and it is still not clear what kind of chest X-rays causes greatest risk of breast cancer.

The study population included women who have BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, which are, know to increase the risk of breast cancer and ovary cancer.

"The results from this study raise potentially significant clinical considerations," Goldgar writes. "The absolute risk of breast cancer by age 50 years is in the order of 40 percent in BRCA1 carriers and 15 percent in BRCA2 carriers".

Scientists evaluated 1,600 women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations and assessed the effect of ever having a chest X-ray particularly before the age 20. Goldgar's team found that women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 who reported having a chest X-ray were 54 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who had never had one.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 26, 2006, 6:59 AM CT

Chemotherapy During Pregnancy

Chemotherapy During Pregnancy
Breast cancer diagnosis can happen to a woman while she is awaiting the birth of a baby. About 3,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States while they are pregnant. If a woman develops breast cancer during her pregnancy, she has often to choose between taking chemotherapy drugs, which could be harmful for the fetus, and not taking any chemotherapy drugs during pregnancy, which would increase the risk of breast cancer progression.

A new study suggests that in most of the cases women can have chemotherapy during pregnancy without causing damage to the fetus. These findings come from a recent research conducted by Dr. Richard Theriault and his colleagues from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

"Treating women who have breast cancer diagnosed while pregnant can result in happy mothers and the expected outcome of a healthy baby".

In this study the scientists followed 57 pregnant women with breast cancer. Among these women deliveries occurred between 37 weeks and 42 weeks of gestation, and mean birth weight of the babies was 6.4 pounds. Fifty-seven percent of the women had a vaginal delivery and thirty-nine percent had a Caesarian delivery.

"The attitude we hear most often is, 'we can't treat the cancer because of the pregnancy,' " Theriault said. Doctors then offered patients one of two options: "Delay the therapy, or terminate the pregnancy, so we can treat it. But terminating the pregnancy doesn't improve the mother's outcome. It does, however, obviate the concern about fetal outcomes".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

June 23, 2006, 5:07 AM CT

Cadmium Exposure Increases Breast Cancer Risk

Cadmium Exposure Increases Breast Cancer Risk
]Level of cadmium present in women's body might have a role future development of breast cancer in women according to findings from new research. This research finding suggest that women who have high levels of cadmium in their urine may be twice at risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who have low levels of cadmium in their urine. It is not clear at this point if the cadmium is the direct cause of increase in beast cancer risk. It is possible that cadmium might be an innocent marker of another risk factor or a combination of risk factors.

Cadmium is a heavy metal and has been listed as one of the carcinogens (cancer causing materials). Animal studies have shown that higher cadmium levels in the body might lead to development of cancer, but till now no human study has shown a clear link between elevated cadmium levels and cancer. This suggests that further studies are needed to determine if these elevated levels are really what is causing the increased risk of breast cancer.

These new findings come form a group of scientists lead by Dr. Jane A. McElroy at the Environmental Protection Agency and University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center in Madison.

These scientists made measurements of urinary levels of cadmium in 246 breast cancer patients and compared these levels to 254 age-matched controls. These subjects were kept in contact by telephone to see if any of these women had breast cancer risk factors.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

June 22, 2006, 7:03 AM CT

Understanding Breast-cancer Migration

Understanding Breast-cancer Migration
Understanding mechanisms behind the spread of cancer to distant organs (metastasis) is a very important topic in cancer research. In a never stopping attempt to defeat breast cancer researchers have moved a step closer to understanding how breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, thanks to research published this week. Recently scientists from the University of Manchester have discovered a protein potentially involved in the spread or "metastatic progression" of tumors.

These scientists say that their findings could lead to new approaches to treating breast cancer as blocking the protein's actions has the potential to stop malignant cells migrating. "What we have identified is a new role for a protein called LPP," explained Professor Andrew Sharrocks, who headed the research team.

"Until now, this protein was only thought to function at the cell periphery but we have shown that it works in conjunction with another protein - PEA3 - in the cell nucleus."

"PEA3 has already been implicated in the spread of breast cancer but we have found that the LPP molecule is essential for the correct function of PEA3."

"If we can target the LPP protein and stop it from working in malignant cells, we have a possible new route to treatment."

This research report that was reported in the scientific journal Molecular and Cellular Biology, may have significant implications for other cancer systems.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

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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. Archives of breast-cancer-blog

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