Over thirty years ago the survival rate for women with breast cancer was dismal. Back then only near half the women had survived and that was just an extension of ten years longer of life. Mastectomies seemed to be the golden rule and chemotherapy choices were slim. The world of mammograms was just starting to come into light.
Currently three out of four women are still alive and living life after ten years from being diagnosed. Screening tests due catch early cancers. Mammography does a wonderful job for women age 50 and older. It is a known fact that between six and twenty-seven percent of breast cancers may be missed in a mammogram due to numerous factors including breast density. However, they do not seem to work that efficiently in younger women whereas diagnostic mammograms detect more accurately.
Breast lumpectomies are now replacing mastectomies and chemotherapy now can be adjusted to the individual.
Funding into breast cancer research has now grown immensely. Around $685 million dollars last year alone was spent by The National Cancer Institute in the study of breast cancer which was more than any other type of cancer. Millions of dollars come from government agencies and private branches.
University of Kansas cancer specialist Dr. Carol Fabian states it has been greatly wonderful to see the changes being made. She goes on to remark that as survival odds keep improving, breast cancer research is concentrating more in the area of improving treatments to decrease the side effects and bettering the patients life quality.
There is a much better chance of curing women according to Dr. Fabian however, they do not wish women to live with early heart disease or brittle bones. By targeting a treatment side effects are lessened.
Of the following new breast cancer finds some are available and some are still in clinical testing.
Some medical centers now offer nipple-sparing mastectomies for women who have had a breast removed. During surgery, the nipple and nearby areola are cut away and cleaned of breast tissue. It is reattached if the pathologist decides that no cancer cells are present. This type of surgery is gaining popularity however, due to the fact it is not easy to perform it should be limited to those women with small tumors which are not close to the nipple.
Breast-conserving lumpectomies at times leave women with different sizes or shapes. Many physicians now are using a combination of breast cancer surgery with plastic surgery to do the reshaping of breasts when the tumor is removed. It is known as oncoplastic surgery and is debatable. Some physicians have concerns that not all the tumor would be removed.
Radiation therapy usually comes after lumpectomy. Thirty percent of women are not having this extra treatment due to several noted reasons. It is costly, the frequent trips back and forth to clinic and the side effects that include fatigue and pain. However, there is hope in the future. A national clinical trail is going on to discover if radiation is concentrated just on the tumor area has the same efficiency as doing radiation on the whole breast. They hope to achieve less side effects. This type of radiation according to Dr. Fabian would work best for women with smaller tumors and in just one area.
Some cancer centers are using a procedure that sends radiation straight to the site of tumor by use of a balloon or small flexible tubes which are filled with radioactive material and inserted into breast. This treatment does require surgery in order to place the device however, therapy can be completed in a week or little less than the standard five weeks for radiation.
Researchers are examining a new method of associating chemotherapy medications to antibodies like Herceptin that search for certain types of cancers. By concentrating chemotherapy this way is developed to make it more efficient and lessen side effects.
The most popular category of chemotherapy medications just could be PARP inhibitors so far in clinical trails results have been favorable against treatment resistant tumors. These inhibitors by themselves may just be able to kill the cancer.
Alternative medicine department
Scientists from the University of Michigan Comprehensive cancer center state they have discovered a compound that could aide in prevention and possibly treat breast cancer. It is the component of broccoli and its sprouts. It seems it has the ability to target cancer stem cells. The compound is sulforaphane.
In an animal study test along with breast cancer cells in the lab, the compound had proved not only had it targeted and killed cancer stem cells but also prevented any new malignancies from forming. The study was published around May of this year in the journal of Clinical Cancer Research.
For the understanding of breast cancer, resources and more see
Susan G. Komen For The Cure
UNC Health Care
Kansas City News
Free Medical Camps
American Cancer Society