Archive for the ‘Medical’ Category

New Study Could Lead to Better Detection, Cut Costs

Posted By on July 15th, 2013 at 8:20 am | 0 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 | 0 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 | 0 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.

PBCC President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy responds to breakthrough breast cancer study

Posted By on September 24th, 2012 at 2:38 pm | 0 comments.

Researchers have unveiled what they believe is a hallmark study for breast cancer patients and the doctors who treat them. Their findings, published Sunday in the journal Nature and the New York Times, are expected to pave the way for new treatment options in the coming years.

The project, funded by a larger federal grant, focused on a genetic analysis of breast cancer, which kills more than 12,000 women in Pennsylvania each year.  The scientists monitored the tumors of 825 breast cancer patients in the US. As a result, they found four distinctive types of breast cancer. Within those types, researchers say they identified at least 40 genetic alterations that might be attacked by drugs. Many of those drugs are already being developed for other types of cancers with the same mutations.

Researchers and patient advocates stress that it could still take years of research and clinical trials to incorporate the insights into new treatments. They say a wide variety of drugs will most likely need to be created and tailored to individual tumor types.

“This is a tremendous new development that will alter the way women with breast cancer are treated,” said PBCC President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy. “Of course, this is the first step, but I believe it’s the first step toward a cure for many types of breast cancer.”

The four types identified in the study are basal-like cancers, luminal A and B cancers, and HER2-enriched cancers. From here, doctors and researchers are hoping clinical trials and dozens of separate drug studies will help to develop new breakthroughs in treatment from the findings. Dr. Elizabeth Stark, a breast cancer patient and biochemist at Pfizer, says she knows it will take time, but she’s hopeful the research will lead to a cure. “In 10 years, it will be different,” she said. “I know I will be here in 10 years.”

To read the complete New York Times Article, visit this link: NY Times Article

To read the complete journal Nature study, visit this link: journal Nature study

The PA Breast Cancer Coalition represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants. The PBCC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to. For more information, please call 800-377-8828 or visit www.PABreastCancer.org.

New Treatment Better Controls Growth in Advanced HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Posted By on July 18th, 2012 at 9:57 am | 0 comments.

A recent study showed that trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1), a new treatment for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, worked better to control the cancer growth than the current standard treatment of chemotherapy with capecitabine (Xeloda) and lapatinib (Tykerb). HER2-positive means that the breast cancer has too much of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).

T-DM1, the new drug found to be more effective in controlling the cancer growth, is a combination of a drug that targets HER2 and one that is similar to chemotherapy. The study of nearly 1,000 patients with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer showed that cancer worsened three months later in patients receiving T-DM1 than in patients receiving the standard therapy. In addition, T-DM1 has few side effects, namely low levels of platelets and signs of liver function problems. These side effects went away with a break in treatment.

More information on the study can be found here.

PBCC Board Member Dr. Andrea Mastro Receives $500,000 Grant

Posted By on June 15th, 2012 at 9:01 am | 0 comments.

Congratulations to Dr. Andrea Mastro of Pennsylvania State University for her continuous work in searching for a cure! After submitting a proposal to the Department of Defense, Dr. Mastro was awarded the Breast Cancer Research Program’s Idea Award along with a $500,000 grant. The award emphasizes innovation and high-impact research that not only challenges the scientific community, but addresses the primary goal to end breast cancer.

Dr. Mastro also received a PBCC Refunds for Research Award in 2003 and has been an active member of the PBCC Board since 2005.

The Healing Benefits of Yoga to Breast Cancer Patients & Survivors

Posted By on May 15th, 2012 at 11:23 am | 0 comments.

Two studies published earlier this year suggest that yoga can be beneficial to women with breast cancer. One study focused on the impact yoga can have on pain relief and side effect relief for postmenopausal breast cancer survivors experiencing aromatase inhibitor-associated joint pain. Another study centered on the impact of yoga upon cognition and quality of life for women with early stage breast cancer treated with chemotherapy.

The first study centering on survivors with joint pain was a qualitative study where participants took part in an eight-week yoga program, which served both as physical activity and a support group. Participants kept a journal of their experience and received weekly phone calls to uncover emergent themes centering on empowerment, pain relief, increased physical fitness, and stress and anxiety relief.

The second study focused on the benefits of yoga on the cognition and quality of life of women undergoing chemotherapy. It followed women with early stage breast cancer who participated in a yoga program twice a week for 12 weeks. Following the completion of the study, participants completed qualitative questionnaires to determine what benefits and challenges they perceived.

Both studies require further investigation to determine the exact nature of benefits that yoga can provide breast cancer survivors in terms of improving overall quality of life. However, whatever the outcomes of further studies, many breast cancer survivors have expressed anecdotal evidence to suggest that yoga has benefited them.

Cambridge Study Could Lead to Tailored Treatment

Posted By on May 15th, 2012 at 10:32 am | 0 comments.

Using data gathered through analysis of the genetic makeup of a tumor, a new study could lead to tailored treatment for those battling breast cancer. This groundbreaking study would reclassify the disease into 10 new categories or subtypes, giving doctors information to make better treatment recommendations and helping patients avoid unnecessary treatment. This is exciting news for the PBCC and all those we serve, as it could revolutionize treatment of breast cancer and give many women better outcomes with fewer side effects.

The Cambridge study, which is the largest genetic study of breast cancer to date, has been heralded as a step toward individualizing treatment for patients, allowing many to avoid treatment that would be less likely to benefit them. The next step in the process is establishing clinical trials. Within three to five years, doctors may be able to start development of more accurate diagnostic tests.

The PBCC is impressed with the results of the study and encouraged that tailored, more individualized breast cancer therapy may become a reality but, of course, clinical trials must be conducted first.