Archive for the ‘Medical’ Category

Study: Many Southeastern PA Women Skipping Mammograms

Posted By on December 16th, 2013 at 8:29 am | 855 comments.

woman-getting-mammogram-imageThe Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) conducted an annual survey of women in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, asking how long it had been since their last clinical breast exam/mammogram.  The findings were startling…

A clinical exam is a physical examination performed by a qualified doctor or nurse that looks for lumps or changes in the breast.  A mammogram is an x-ray that will produce an image of the breast that can detect lumps.  The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and clinical breast exams every three years for women in their 20s and 30s, and every year for women 40 and older.

The survey revealed that one-third of women in Southeastern Pennsylvania did not receive an annual preventative breast health screening (mammogram) in the past year.  One-third of women 18 years or older did not have a clinical breast exam in the past year.  Four in ten women ages 40 years or older did not have a mammogram in the past year.  Women 75 and older were the most likely to have missed a mammogram in the past year (44%), followed by women 60-74 (30%).
Asian women 40 years and older were more likely to have forgone a mammogram in the past year (52%), compared to White and Latina women (38%), versus Black women (30%), and women of another race/ethnicity (45%).  These statistics based on race were similar for mammograms and clinical breast exams.

Poverty level and access to care were also evaluated in this study.  Women 40 years and older who were below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level were more likely not to have had a mammogram in the past year (41%) compared to women who lived above the poverty level. (36%).   Women 18 years and older who did not have a regular source of care were twice as likely as women with a regular source of care to have forgone a breast exam in the past year.  Uninsured women 40+ were three times more likely to not have had a mammogram in the past year than those who were insured.

PHMC released this data as an annual campaign to increase awareness of breast cancer and to encourage early detection.  The results have clearly found that many women in Southeastern Pennsylvania have forgone an annual preventative breast health screening in the past year.

Click here to read the complete article on this study.

Pittsburgh Researchers Develop First 3-D Guided Breast Biopsy in U.S.

Posted By on September 16th, 2013 at 8:56 am | 20 comments.

3-D Biopsy PicThis Summer,  the first 3-D guided breast biopsy was performed at the Magee-Women’s Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.   In conjunction with the 3-D biopsy, Magee radiologists also helped to develop  3-D guided mammography, which creates a complete reconstruction of the breast.  Radiologists can then use the reconstruction to identify abnormalities, which can be difficult to detect with traditional screening methods.  Why is this so important?

3-D guided breast biopsies are revolutionary because they allow for faster lesion targeting, reduced patient procedure time and reduced radiation exposure.  The 3-D biopsies are particularly important for women with breast lesions that are difficult to reach and for women with arthritis or other physical limitations, all of which make traditional biopsies more challenging.

Dr. Sumkin, D.O., chief of radiology at Magee, said, “The ability for us to provide 3-D guided biopsy to our patients represents an exciting new example of our leadership in this area. Magee radiologists continue to play a pivotal role in the development and advancement of this technology.”

Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC researchers expect to see more women getting routine screening for breast cancer due to their latest technological advancements.

Read the complete article here.

Finding a Clinical Trial Near You

Posted By on September 16th, 2013 at 8:55 am | 0 comments.

Breast Cancer Patient Clinical TrialCancer clinical trials provide patients at all stages of cancer with the most cutting-edge medical treatment and the highest level of care. The nonprofit organization Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups offers services and education about clinical trials for healthcare professionals, patients, caregivers and advocates.  Interested in finding a clinical trial near you?
The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups Web site has a screening questionnaire to complete and find relevant clinical trials near you, or you can call toll-free 1-877-227-8451 to talk with a cancer clinical trial specialist.

Working Night Shift Shows Increased Breast Cancer Risk

Posted By on August 15th, 2013 at 8:24 am | 18 comments.

Woman working night shift for PLA recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that women who worked night shift for 30 years or more were twice as likely to develop breast cancer than other women.  The study found no increased risk for those who worked 14-29 years on night shift, but those with more years of night work had a significantly increased risk.

The study suggested that the increased risk of breast cancer was due to exposure to artificial light.  Long-term exposure to artificial light may decrease the production of melatonin.  Melatonin is a hormone that rises during the night and causes a person to feel tired, but when exposed to artificial light, night shift workers do not produce melatonin.  A lack of melatonin can lead to an increase in estrogen levels in the body, which can trigger breast cancer in some women.

Further work is needed to better understand the link between long-term night shift work and breast cancer.  The study authors say that, “As shift work is necessary for many occupations, understanding which specific shift patterns increase breast cancer risk, and how night shift work influences the pathway to breast cancer is needed for the development of healthy workplace policy.”

For the complete article on night shift work and breast cancer, click here

 

Supreme Court Rules Against Human Gene Ownership

Posted By on July 15th, 2013 at 8:22 am | 30 comments.

Supreme Court with ribbonThe Supreme Court recently ruled that the breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 cannot be patented. What does this ruling mean for breast cancer research?

It means a lot.  BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes in which mutations can occur, increasing the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.  Myriad Genetics had those genes isolated and patented to control their genetic testing.  With this ruling, other companies can expand their genetic testing to include both BRCA1and BRCA2.

The Supreme Court’s decision weighed on whether BRCA1 and BRCA2 were invented or if they are simply a product of nature.  Justice Clarence Thomas says he considers the discovery of the genes by Myriad Genetics a “medical breakthrough,” but not an invention. The historic ruling means no human gene isolated from the body can be patented.

 

New Study Could Lead to Better Detection, Cut Costs

Posted By on July 15th, 2013 at 8:20 am | 22 comments.

Researcher for PLNew data published in Cancer Research shows that a new technique of testing breast lumps may enable high precision diagnosis of breast cancer.  So, how does it work?

This new technique is called single-step Raman spectroscopy algorithm, which involves shining light onto breast samples and measuring the scattered light to determine the presence of cancer in the tissue.  Single-step Raman spectroscopy algorithm could “shorten procedure time; reduce patient anxiety, distress, and discomfort; and prevent complications such as bleeding into the biopsy site after multiple biopsy passes,” said Ishan Barman, Ph. D., postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and study’s lead author.

Single-step Raman spectroscopy algorithm could save the U.S. health care system $1 billion a year by conservatively preventing 200,000 repeat biopsies each year.  Currently, x-ray mammography is the only accepted screening method, but this technique cannot determine if microcalcifications (microscopic areas of accumulated calcium) are associated with benign or malignant breast lumps.  So, most patients undergo a biopsy to determine if these microcalcifications are cancerous.  But, in about 15-25% of biopsies this technique fails to retrieve any microcalcifications.  Then, this requires the patient to undergo repeat and often surgical biopsies.  In the United States, 1.6 million breast biopsies are performed each year and about 250,000 of those biopsies result in new breast cancer diagnoses.  Yet, if single-step Raman spectroscopy algorithm was used this could improve the precision of diagnosis and could better detect the disease at early stages without the use of multiple biopsies.

For the complete article on this study, Click here.

 

Medical Article: Extending Tamoxifen Reduces Recurrence Risk, Saves Lives

Posted By on December 17th, 2012 at 8:03 am | 33 comments.

The results of the ATLAS (Adjuvant Tamoxifen: Longer Against Shorter) study indicates that 10 years of Tamoxifen is even better than the standard 5 years of treatment in reducing the chance of recurrence and saving lives. The study showed that mortality and recurrence risk was reduced among the segment of 7,000 women participating in the study who continued taking Tamoxifen for an additional 5 years. As always, women should discuss individualized treatment options with their doctors.

Medical Article: Quitting Tobacco After a Cancer Diagnosis

Posted By on November 15th, 2012 at 9:00 am | 35 comments.

New resources are available for those with cancer and their caregivers on quitting tobacco use. These resources are available free of charge from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Graham Warren provides a podcast and a Q & A article on the benefits of quitting after a cancer diagnosis. A booklet for healthcare providers is also available, offering tips on how to incorporate tobacco cessation into their practice.