Breast cancer still affects a large portion of American women today. For this year alone according to the American Cancer Society there are 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women, about 54,010 new cases of noninvasive cases and 39,840 cases leading to cessation of life.
This is the 26th year of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women, non-melanoma skin cancer ranks first. The good news is now women are living longer lives even after they have received a diagnoses of breast cancer.
Dr. Deborah Axelrod, director of clinical breast cancer programs and services with the New York University Cancer Institute at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, there is a decline in cessation of life within the last forty years. Cancer has been listed as a chronic disease.
Another interesting point on breast cancer. Men also can have breast cancer even though it is not as often as women. For this year alone 1,970 new cases in males were reported and 390 cessation of life cases.
Warning signs for breast cancer include:
A breast lump or a thickening that feels different from normal around surrounding tissue.
Bloody nipple discharge.
Alteration of size or shape of breast
Pain in any area of the breast.
Redness or flaking of skin in the nipple area or breast.
Some current studies being conducted now are examining the effects of diet, exercise and weight gain or loss on the risks of breast cancer. A research team which will be lead by a Michigan State University Scientist has received a $14 million dollar award to determine risk factors for breast cancer in young women. The five year study will concentrate on the areas of growth, diet, physical activity and size of body during a woman’s lifetime.
The influences of genes on breast cancer.
The Sister Study which is a long term study which is currently being done to aide in discovering the cause of breast cancer. The study will track 50,000 women who have sisters in which had breast cancer. Greater than ten years of data will be gathered on numerous elements that could cause breast cancer.
The Two Sister study which is an associated study to the Sister Study was created to observe the possibly causes of the early beginning of breast cancer. More information pertaining to the studies of Sister and Two Sister can be seen at their website Sister Study.
Aromatase inhibitors are being studied to see if they can possibly reduce the risk of breast cancer in those women with post menopause. The medications are currently available for the prevention of breast cancer recurrences however, none of the medications have approval for the prevention of breast cancer risk.
Fenretinide medication that is associated to vitamin A is being studied to see if it can reduce breast cancer risk. In a small study the medication had reduced the risk equal to tamoxifen. Other various medications are also being studied along with herbs and dietary supplements to see if they can reduce risks of breast cancer.
Newer imaging testing procedures are being examined for possible use to observe areas of alternations in the breast that possibly could be cancer.
Oncoplastic surgery sometimes is required after breast surgery due to the fact the breast can have different shapes or sizes. Some physicians are attempting to correct this issue by the combination of cancer surgery and plastic surgery which is referred to as oncoplastic surgery. They reshape the breast at time of surgery which could possibly result in operating on the other breast to make them look alike. This surgery is still considered new and not a lot physicians are at ease with it. The main area of concern is whether or not it can leave tumor tissue behind.
Research has indicated that women who have breast implants used for breast reconstruction will not have a heightened risk of the breast cancer recurring or new cancer developing. American Cancer Society now has information available about the types of reconstruction surgery at their website Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy.
Radiation studies have revealed that giving radiation treatments over a period of three weeks works just as well as over five weeks. Other studies are investigating giving larger amounts over a shorter time span such as in the area of one week.
Women requiring lumpectomy a procedure referred to as APBI meaning speeding up partial breast irradiation may provide a simpler to receive it as in comparison to standard daily treatments that could take several weeks. There are a numerous APBI now being studied. Studies on a larger scale currently are going on to establish if these methods work equal to the standard treatments in the prevention of cancer recurring.
Brand new chemotherapy medications
Due to the fact that breast cancer in which has advanced is difficult to treat researchers are investigating brand new medications which are more improved. This category of medications are referred to as PARP inhibitors and so far have shown good results in clinical trails for treating breast, ovarian and prostate cancers in which spread and were immune to other treatments.
Targeted therapies which are a set of new medications that take benefits of gene alterations in cells which cause cancer.
Medications that aim at HER2 have two new medications authorized for use in targeting HER2 proteins of Herceptin and Tykerb. Studies are underway to see which one works better for the treatment of early breast cancer. Researchers are also examining using a vaccine in targeting HER2.
Anti-angiogenesis medications For cancers to cultivate, blood vessels have to be made to feed the cancer cells. A few studies have indicated that breast cancer that have a lot of new small blood vessels are more apt to spread faster. Avastin is one type of this medication.
Newer medications are being produced that possibly can halt breast cancer growth by maintaining new blood vessels from producing. Some of these medications are currently being tested.
Medications that aim at EGFR EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) protein discovered in large amounts on the surface of some cancer cells. There are some medications like Erbitux® which is already in use for the treatment of other kinds of cancer. Other anti-EGFR medications are still in the experimental stage. Studies are currently being conducted to see if they will work.
Additional targeting medications Afinitor® is a brand new kind of targeted therapy medication which has authorization for the treatment of kidney cancer. In a study, this medication was noted to aide in decreasing tumors prior to surgery in conjunction with the medication letrozle. Further studies of use for this medication to aide breast cancer are planned.
Bisphosphonates these are medications which aide in strengthening and decreasing the risk of fractures in the bones that have caused to weaken due to metastatic breast cancer. They also can aide in decreasing the risk of cancer recurring back in those women with early breast cancer. Further studies are warranted to discover if these medications should be part of standard therapy for early breast cancer.
Myths surrounding breast cancer
Under-wire bras do not cause toxins to accumulate in breast tissue and cause cancer.
There is no scientific evidence that deodorants cause breast cancer.
Drinking water from plastic bottles left in hot automobiles do not cause breast cancer.
Controversy of mammograms producing radiation to cause cancer is untrue. There is no evidence.
Breast that are lumpy have higher risk of cancer is untrue. It can just make it harder to locate any cancer that may have formed.
Breast cancer is totally inherited. The fact is 80% of breast cancer occurs at random even in women with no breast cancer history in family. Mammograms starting at age 40 are recommended.
Parent history whether mother or fathers side does matter. Either parent can pass on the cancer causing genetic mutation.
One in eight women get breast cancer is true based on the lifetime span of up to age 85. Breast cancer strikes one in 233 women at age thirty, one in 69 at age 40, one in 38 at age 50 and one in 27 at age 60.
Breast Cancer Prevention
Alcohol amounts There is an association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, however how strong of an association at this time is still undetermined. They type of alcohol does not matter. Limiting one drink a day is recommended.
Healthy weight There is a definite association between breast cancer and obesity. Being heavier than the suggested height and weight for your age can increase risk.
Exercise Getting regular exercise each day is important to maintain a healthy weight and it just may cut down the risk for breast cancer. Thirty minutes of exercise is recommended for most of the days each week. Try weight bearing exercises, jogging, aerobics and even cardio.
Fat intake Limit the amounts fat in your diet will not only aide in reduction for risk of breast cancer but also helps in decreased risks for other diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There has been a study that advocated a lessened risk of invasive breast cancer in women who consumed low fat diets. The results were modest at best.
Hormone therapy Do not use hormone therapy for long periods of time. Talk to your physician about other alternative treatments. A study from the W omen’s Health Initiative showed results which brought concerns about using hormone therapy for menopause. Along with other issues that can occur estrogen-progestin combinations like in the medication Prempro, added to the risk of breast cancer among women who were in the study.
Early detection Become aware of early detection. If you observe any alterations to your breasts such as new lump or changes in skin, make an appointment with your physician right away. Consult your physician for when you should start mammograms and any other screening methods for the detection of early breast cancer.
There are numerous events around the nation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here are just a few of them:
Buy and wear a pink ribbon the official for breast cancer.
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure one of the biggest fund raising events for breast cancer today. This year Yoplait® is the National Presenting Sponsor. The very first race had 800 persons running in 1983, today there are almost 120 races nationwide. For location of races see 5Komenfindarace.
Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure a 60 mile fundraiser walk over three days. The walk is held in many cities in the United States. To find your city and register see the three day.
Ride To Empower held October 21 to 24 in Springdale, Utah which is a destination bike ride raising funds for breast cancer support. The routes go up to 100 miles. For more information see network of strength.