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15 Procedures You Can Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Here are some ways you can arm yourself with the best defense against this terrible disease.

Breast cancer affects us all

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The numbers are staggering. One in 8 (12.4 percent) U.S. women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that approximately 255,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. this year alone, and more than 40,000 lives will be lost to this disease. These are numbers we feel every day, as most people, regardless of who they are or where they live, are impacted by breast cancer in some way, whether it be a family member, friend, or colleague who has or knows someone who has this disease. While there’s much left out of a woman’s control when it comes to getting breast cancer, especially considering most cases appear randomly and do not always run in families, there are several important steps that can reduce this risk substantially. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, doctors share the steps you can take every day, week, month and year to put your best foot forward towards lowering your risk.

First things first: Know your family history

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It’s standard procedure nowadays for nearly every type of doctor you see to inquire about your family history, as genetics have been proven to be a key contributor to an individual’s cancer risk and it’s especially important when it comes to breast cancer. Some women (and men) have an especially high risk of developing breast cancer related to inherited predisposition, history of radiation treatments to the chest wall during adolescence or early adulthood, or because of ‘overactive’ breast tissue that is sometimes detected on breast biopsies,” explains Lisa Newman MD, MPH, a member of Komen’s Scientific Advisory Board and director of the Breast Oncology Program for the Henry Ford Cancer Institute. Red flags that she says suggest possible inherited predisposition include having multiple relatives with breast or ovarian cancer, male relative(s) with breast cancer and relatives that were diagnosed with breast cancer at young ages. “Patients who are found to have an increased risk of breast cancer should then discuss risk-reducing options (such as medication or surgery) or more aggressive breast cancer screening options (such as mammograms starting at younger ages or a special breast imaging test called an MRI), adds Dr. Newman.

Perform self breast exams monthly

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While the American Cancer Society recently revised its guidelines on self breast exams, noting that there’s not enough research to support their clear benefits, experts agree that they’re still important and there’s absolutely no downside. Knowing what your baseline ‘lumps’ are so you’ll be able to immediately recognize when something feels new or different is key, says Phoebe Harvey, MD, chief of hematology/oncology for Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Oregon. Women who have naturally lumpy breasts often say they find it hard to know what’s ‘normal. Her best advice is to pay attention to lumps that feel unlike the rest of your breast tissue, for example, that are harder or just seem out of place. These should be checked out by your provider. There can also be visual clues as well, like a change in the size or shape of your breast, or dimpling of the skin, she adds. And if you do find a lump, don’t freak out.

Schedule yearly mammograms

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Women who have an average risk of breast cancer should begin having annual mammograms, basic x-rays of the breast, according to the American Cancer Society. However, there’s been a great deal of controversy in recent years with regard to the age and frequency. Experts recommend discussing your risk factors with your doctor to determine if a mammography before the age of 40 is right for you. Although getting screened for breast cancer does not reduce your risk, it can help identify the proper screening methods you should be using based on your risk factors and can help to identify cancer early when it is easiest to treat, explains Jane Kakkis, MD, medical director of breast surgery at MemorialCare Breast Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. If you are old enough to have a screening mammogram, Dr. Kakkis recommend also asking your doctor whether or not you have dense breast tissue. If you have dense breast tissue, then your risk of breast cancer is increased and, depending on other risk factors that you might have, your doctor may recommend supplementing your mammogram screening with ultrasound or MRI.

Maintain a normal body weight

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Among the laundry list of reasons why a healthy BMI (body mass index) is beneficial is that it has been known to significantly reduce your risk of cancer, as well as several other diseases including heart disease and diabetes. “One reason for this is that body fat produces estrogen, which increases the risk of developing breast cancer,” explains Dennis Holmes, MD, breast cancer surgeon and researcher and interim director of the Margie Petersen Breast Center at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. This is even more important as we get older, as Dr. Newman notes that women who are overweight or obese after menopause have a 30 to 60 percent higher breast cancer risk compared to those who are lean. Aim for a BMI that is between 18.5 to 24.9, as anything above is considered overweight and anything above 30 is considered obese.

Exercise several times a week

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According to Marc Hurlbert, Ph.D, breast cancer specialist and chief mission officer for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, physical activity may be the most potent lifestyle factor in reducing the risk of breast cancer, especially after menopause. “It not only helps in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, but exercise also reduces the levels of metabolic hormones including insulin and leptin, and it reduces levels of estrogen, all of which promote tumor growth,” he says. “Exercise may be most beneficial in overweight women who may have high levels of insulin and estrogen.” The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity, activity each week, preferably spread throughout the week.

Watch your diet

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When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, diet goes hand-in-hand with exercise. “Changes to your body as you age, and especially after menopause, make it necessary to change lifestyle and eating habits to maintain a healthy weight,” Dr. Kakkis explains. She recommends the Mediterranean diet, which incorporates a lot of fresh vegetables, healthy sources of fats, lean protein sources, and whole grains. “All of these, especially when coupled together, benefit your cardiovascular system and lead to a substantial amount of health benefits.” She does note, however, that even with a healthy diet, portion sizes should be appropriate, with the largest food group in each meal being vegetables. Also, do your best to eliminate preservative-laden foods, especially nitrates, as well as hormone and pesticide additives. “Soy concentrated products should be avoided by high-risk persons or breast cancer survivors, (soy supplements, soy milk, etc.) and natural food sources of soy, such as tofu should be limited to three small servings per day,” she says. “Using proper oils for deep frying is important, as oils that are heated past their optimal temperature develop chemicals known to cause cancer to enter the food.” Peanut oil is an example of oil that can be used for deep frying.

Cut down on the cocktails

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While it’s not exactly clear why, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests as little as one alcoholic beverage a day is enough to increase an individual’s risk of breast cancer. “Among other things, alcohol is thought to raise estrogen levels and can also contribute to weight gain,” explains Dr. Harvey. This can be a tough pill to swallow for those who enjoy a nightly cocktail or glass of wine, but Dr. Harvey urges that the correlation is strong enough. She advises people to strongly consider reducing their intake, especially since alcohol is a known risk factor for a number of other cancer types as well.

Quit smoking, stat

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Recent studies show that smoking, especially heavy smoking, may increase the risk of certain breast cancers,” says Dr. Hurlbert. “The effect may be stronger when a woman starts smoking before her first child.” Second-hand smoke plays a role in increasing a person’s risk too. “In animal studies, chemicals from first or second-hand smoke caused breast tumors and was found in the milk of nursing rodents,” he says. Bottom line: Smoking is terrible for your health and may be a catalyst for increasing your breast cancer risk. Quitting is your only option to reduce this risk.

Take aspirin or ibuprofen regularly

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Seriously! Research has found that women who take two or more tablets of aspirin or ibuprofen each week for at least five years have a 20 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. “Taking these medications for more than 10 years lowers the risk even further,” notes Dr. Holmes. “Either mediation is capable of reducing chronic inflammation within the body, which can predispose some women to develop cancer.” While the ideal dose and frequency of use of aspirin or ibuprofen have not been determined, Dr. Holmes recommends women to consider taking a low dose of aspirin (81 mg) or ibuprofen (200 mg) twice a week if they’re not already doing so for other reasons.

Have children earlier in life (if possible)

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While the reasons aren’t totally clear, research suggests that women who conceive children earlier in life have a lower risk of breast cancer. The Nurses’ Health Study, for one, shows that women who give birth in their 20s compared to those who give birth in their 30s or later, have a reduced risk of breast cancer. “It is believed that the hormonal and other cellular effects of pregnancy influence the breast tissue positively and is protective against cancerous transformation,” explains Jack Jacoub, MD, medical oncologist and medical director of MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. Additionally, women who have multiple children see a decreased risk. One reason for this, notes Dr. Jacoub, is that pregnancy limits the periods of “incessant ovulation” over a woman’s lifetime. “This is when ovaries are functional and producing high levels of sex hormones, namely estrogen.

Breastfeed your baby

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While this isn’t always easy, or feasible, for all women, research shows that women who breastfeed, when compared to those who don’t, have a modestly decreased risk of breast cancer. “The effect is greatest in women who breastfeed for one and a half to two years,” notes Dr. Hurlbert. “Breastfeeding delays the return of menses after childbirth and this lowers the lifetime exposure to estrogen.” He also notes that total exposure to estrogen over a lifetime can increase the risk of breast cancer after menopause. “That’s one reason why having children is also protective, as a woman’s estrogen levels drop during pregnancy.

Limit oral contraceptive use


Following on the discussion about exposure to estrogen, oral contraceptives increase this exposure,” says Dr. Hurlbert. In other words, women who use oral contraceptive have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer compared to those that don’t. “The risk decreases over time after stopping contraceptive use and women who have not taken contraceptives for more than ten years are no longer at increased risk from contraceptive use.” He recommends that women discuss their use of hormone-based contraception with their doctors to determine what is best for their particular health concerns and situation

Quit menopausal hormone use

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The practice of using menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) to relieve symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances, has been used for more than a century, but recently it’s been linked to an increase in breast cancer risk. “The combination of estrogen plus progestin for several years increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer and can make mammograms more difficult to interpret,” explains Dr. Newman. “You can reverse some of this risk by discontinuing these hormones.” She recommends talking with your doctor about safe alternatives to control menopausal symptoms.

Preventative surgery

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Although all women are at risk of developing breast cancer, some women are at particularly high risk because of personal health factors and family history. These “high risk” women, many of which are carriers of the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genetic mutations, should consider taking preventative action, which often involves surgery, to dramatically reduce their risk of breast cancer. “If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, genetic testing is highly recommended so you can better understand your options,” says Nikita Shah, MD, breast cancer specialist at the Breast Care Center at Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center. If someone in your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer, especially before age 40, ask your doctor about getting tested for the BRCA gene. In some cases, your doctor may recommend you go ahead with a preventative surgery, such as removal of the breasts, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes, to reduce your risk of getting cancer.

Understand how your community and identity can affect your risk

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Research suggests that those with certain ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds may be at a predisposition to be diagnosed with breast cancer, for example, Ashkenazi Jewish families have a significantly higher risk of carrying mutations or abnormalities, Dr. Newman notes. “We also know that breast cancer mortality and death rates are significantly higher among African American compared to white American women.” She explains that this disparity is related to socioeconomic disadvantages and healthcare access barriers that are more prevalent in the African American community, but it has also been shown that a biologically more aggressive pattern of breast cancer (triple negative breast cancer) is twice as common among African American compared to White American women. Breast health awareness and early detection or screening programs, as well as research, are essential to address and eliminate these disparities, so use what is available to you and use it wisely.

Also Read: FIVE BREAST CANCER MYTHS YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF

Article Source: Reader’s Digest

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Support more funding for research of metastatic breast cancer

This month marks the two-year anniversary of my first breast cancer diagnosis and just one year since the cancer spread beyond my breasts and to my bones. With four children — ages 3, 5, 7 and 11 — I can’t begin to describe how it felt to be told that my cancer is incurable.

Metastatic breast cancer is stage IV breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Someone with this cancer dies every 13 minutes in the U.S.

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to an end, I ask that you not forget about the 155,000 men and women in America living with metastatic breast cancer and fighting for their lives each day. While 20 percent to 30 percent of people initially diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will develop metastatic breast cancer, the funding to support research specific to this cancer is greatly disproportionate to the number affected. Only 7 percent of the $15 billion of funding for breast cancer research is specifically allocated to finding a cure for metastatic breast cancer.

For me, there is no time to debate funding and policy issues within our country’s health care system. My life with cancer depends on access to regular treatments, and it depends on advances in research for new treatments and someday, a cure. I’d like more time with my kids, my family and my friends — which means we cannot just recognize this disease in October.

Please sign the It’s About Time campaign’s petition, which reminds our state leaders to protect our access to treatment through affordable insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs. If it gives even just one person with metastatic breast cancer more time to be with the ones that they love, it’s worth it.

Read more: FIVE BREAST CANCER MYTHS YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF

Article Source: ST.Louis Post-Dispatch (Stltoday)

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Breast cancer study uncovers new genetic variants for increased risk

Researchers hope new discoveries will help explain why some women are predisposed to breast cancer, as well as why certain forms are harder to treat.

Common inherited genetic variants that together increase the risk of breast cancer by about a fifth have been identified by scientists.
A huge team of researchers working together around the world uncovered 65 new variants. On their own, they contribute around 4% of the two-fold heightened risk of women with a strong family history of breast cancer developing the disease.
Adding these variants to the list of 180 already known is thought to account for an estimated 18% of the relative familial risk.

In addition, a further 10 genetic variants specifically linked to stubborn breast cancers that do not respond to hormone treatment were found. They could be responsible for as much as 16% of the increased risk of this cancer sub-type in women from affected families.

The OncoArray Consortium project involved 550 researchers from around 300 different institutions on six continents. The scientists analysed genetic data from 275,000 women, including 146,000 who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Professor Doug Easton, one of the lead investigators from Cambridge University, said: These findings add significantly to our understanding of the inherited basis of breast cancer.

As well as identifying new genetic variants, we have also confirmed many that we had previously suspected.

There are some clear patterns in the genetic variants that should help us understand why some women are predisposed to breast cancer, and which genes and mechanisms are involved.

Genetic studies of this sort look for loci – regions of DNA that increase the risk of disease. The loci may contain rogue genes, or DNA sequences that do not contain instructions for making proteins but regulate gene activity.

Pinpointing specific genes is difficult, but the OncoArray scientists were able to make predictions about many target genes a first step towards designing new treatments.

However most of the new variants found were in gene-regulating regions. When the researchers took a closer look at these, they found distinct patterns specific to breast cancer.

US co-author Professor Peter Kraft, from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said the findings revealed a wealth of new information about the genetic mechanisms underlying the disease.

This should provide guidance for a lot of future research, he added.

Approximately 70% of all breast cancers are fuelled by the hormone oestrogen and respond to hormone therapies such as tamoxifen.

Others, known as oestrogen-receptor negative, are not affected by the hormone and are more difficult to treat. Ten new genetic variants linked to these cancers were identified.

The new studies, published in the journals Nature and Nature Genetics, underscored the fact that the two cancer types are biologically distinct and develop differently.

Mutant versions of the two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 have by far the biggest impact on breast cancer risk. Inheriting either of these genes raises the lifetime risk of developing the disease by as much as 90% for BRCA1 and 85% for BRCA2. It also increases the risk of ovarian cancer to a lesser degree.

Other genetic variants linked to breast cancer are much less potent on their own, but their effects add up. Those identified in the new studies are relatively common some carried by one woman in 100 and others by more than half of all women. The combined effect of these variants is likely to be considerable said the researchers.

They estimate that 1% of women have a risk of breast cancer more than three times greater than that of women in the general population. Combining the genetic factors with hormonal and lifestyle influences was likely to increase the risk further, they said.

Professor Jacques Simard, from Laval University in Quebec city, Canada, another member of the international team, said: Using data from genomic studies, combined with information on other known risk factors, will allow better breast cancer risk assessment, therefore helping to identify a small but meaningful proportion of women at high risk of breast cancer.

These women may benefit from more intensive screening, starting at a younger age, or using more sensitive screening techniques, allowing early detection and prevention of the disease.

Also Read: FIVE BREAST CANCER MYTHS YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF

Article Source: The Guardian

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Five Breast Cancer Myths You Should be Aware Of

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual occasion to increase awareness of the disease. If you perform a quick search on the disease, you will find tremendous information on contributing factors to the risk of breast cancer, including some types of food, drinks, cleaning materials and even devices. This information leads to confusion on what to believe as fact and what to ignore as a myth.

Marking this important awareness-raising month, we present to you this information on five of the most circulated myths about the disease.

Myth No 1: Drinking milk (or dairy) causes breast cancer

some early studies raised concerns about the correlation between drinking milk from cows treated with hormones and the risk of cancer. The truth is that over many decades, studies failed to find a clear link and have shown that dairy consumption does not increase the risk of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Moreover, the International Journal of Epidemiology published in 2002 the results of 20 studies on the relationship between dairy and increased risk of cancer. All the studies showed that there is no significant association between intakes of total dairy fluids or solids and breast cancer.

Myth No 2: Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer

The truth is that there is no conclusive evidence on links between the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Some people have concerns that deodorants and antiperspirants block the body from sweating toxin which might build up in the lymph glands under the armpit causing breast cancer. But the human body has several other ways of disposing of toxins that do not involve the lymph glands. Furthermore, the “Breast Cancer Care” initiative explained there is also no evidence ingredients used in deodorants and antiperspirants like aluminum or parabens cause breast cancer.

Myth No 3: Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer

The truth is that only a small percentage of breast lumps are cancer. However, it is very important to see a physician for a clinical breast exam if you notice a persistent lump in the breast or any changes in breast tissue. A physician is the only one who can determine whether this lump or change is of concern or not. Furthermore, it is essential to keep the habit of performing routine breast self-exams and getting an annual clinical breast exam, including scheduling routine mammograms.

Myth No 4: Men do not get breast cancer, it is a women’s only disease

While the percentage of breast cancer occurrence is small among men, they are also affected by the disease. In fact, breast cancer leads to higher mortality among men compared to women as a result of the lack of awareness that they can also be affected by the disease, which leads to delay in seeking treatment.

Men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam in the shower to discover any hard lump underneath the nipple and areola so that they can report these changes to their physicians.

Myth No 5: A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread 

The truth is that any breast compression while getting a mammogram cannot cause cancer to spread. Also, the benefits of mammograms outweigh the potential harm from radiation exposure as they require very small doses of radiation, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The standard recommendation is an annual mammographic screening for women and men, in addition to any other recommendation by the physician.

Myth No 6: Breast cancer is contagious

Breast cancer cannot transfer to someone else’s body. The disease results of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that begin to spread into other tissues within the breast. Everyone can reduce their risk of being affected by the disease by practicing a healthy lifestyle and being aware of the risk factors and following an early detection routine.

There are some things that can help us avoid breast cancer like keeping a healthy weight, paying attention to your alcohol consumption, stop smoking and keeping active. While there are some factors that we cannot control like aging and exposure to high levels of radiation can increase the risk of breast cancer.

Read More: About Breast Cancer

Article Source: Egypt Today

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The Institute Of Cancer Research (ICR), London

Breast Cancer Research Aid’s support of the work carried out at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, helps ensure discoveries made in our laboratories lead to new treatments for breast cancer. At the ICR we discover new cancer drugs and combination therapies.

We uncover new insights into the causes of breast cancer and how it becomes resistant to treatment, and we develop novel ways to image tumors. But to embark on our innovative research, we need your support. This is where Breast Cancer Research Aid plays such an important role.

Through your funding, our scientists are able to continue their research with access to the latest technology and cutting-edge infrastructure. This will allow them to continue making significant steps towards improving the lives of breast cancer patients around the world.

Read more: ICR’s research into liquid biopsy tests

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Wear it Pink this October in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This month you most likely will have noticed an abundance of pink. This is because the pink ribbon is the international symbol of breast cancer awareness and support.  Since 1985, October has been known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign organized by different breast cancer charities to increase awareness and fundraising for medical research into the disease.

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. According to ‘Cancer Research UK’, around 55,200 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. That is a staggering 150 people every day. ‘Breast Cancer Now’, the UK’s largest breast cancer research charity, estimates that 11,500 women die each year from the disease. The terrifying reality of the disease is shocking, and all breast cancer charities maintain that the most important part of prevention is awareness and education; the main focus of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign.

According to ‘Worldwide Breast Cancer’, 39 per cent of women who are diagnosed discover symptoms on their own, so being able to check yourself properly is vital. Consequently, ‘Worldwide Breast Cancer’ created a global campaign called ‘Know Your Lemons’. The campaign used the fruit to illustrate the twelve key symptoms of breast cancer: thick mass, indentation, skin erosion, red or hot, new fluid, dimpling, bump, growing vein, sunken nipple, new shape or size, orange peel skin, or invisible lump. As well as self-examination, mammograms are used to check breasts before symptoms are seen or felt.

The ‘American Cancer Society’ suggests that annual mammograms should be arranged after the age of 40. In fact, according to ‘Cancer Research UK’, more than 90 per cent of women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer survive their disease for at least five years, compared to 15 per cent of women diagnosed at the most advanced stages. These figures highlight the importance of self-examination, knowledge of possible symptoms and early detection.

In 2013, Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative mastectomy after discovering she was very likely to develop breast cancer. In the following year, research by ‘Prevent Breast Cancer’ showed that the number of women in the UK receiving referrals for genetic counselling and testing for breast cancer risk has doubled. This response was called ‘The Angelina Effect’. In further positive news, within the next six months a genetic test that accurately calculates the risk of developing breast cancer will be introduced in some hospitals around the UK. This technology seeks to reduce the number of women getting unnecessary preventative mastectomies, and increase the number of women getting effective, risk-reducing surgeries.

This month, there are countless opportunities to get involved, be it raising awareness of the disease, increasing education, or fundraising for research-based charities.

In 2002, ‘Breast Cancer Now’ initiated ‘wear it pink’, a fundraising day encouraging people around the UK to wear pink to work, school or university to raise money. Since its initiation, the event has raised over £30 million for life saving breast cancer research.

This year, ‘wear it pink’ day is on Friday 20 October, so get organizing a fun-filled event with your friends and family! ‘Breast Cancer Now’ is also currently running a campaign called ‘Good Enough?’, which is based on a policy report revealing that opportunities are being missed to save more lives from breast cancer. The charity claims that governments in the UK can and should attempt to take action against issues impacting the care of people with breast cancer. You can easily join us or donating with us at (https://bcra.charitycheckout.co.uk/), and sending a pre-written email to your local politicians and news sources asking them to take action.

If you’re looking to get involved or raise awareness in Edinburgh, ‘CoppaFeel Society’ is a breast cancer awareness charity on campus, aiming to educate people about the severity of the disease in a light-hearted way. All money raised goes towards making students and young people aware of how to check themselves properly and to learn how to spot early signs and symptoms. Their vision is to give everyone the best possible chance of surviving breast cancer and detecting it quickly, as well as having a little fun in the process. They throw hilarious events such as glitter parties, fun brunches, and games of boob-ball (dodgeball).br

News Source: (Students News Paper)

Also Read: Cell shape ‘maps’ could point to new cancer treatments

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New myeloma clinical trial launches with aim to transform treatment from one-size-fits-all approach

People with newly diagnosed high risk myeloma will be treated based on the results of genetic testing as part of a new UK-first clinical trial.

The evidence from the trial, launched today by Myeloma UK, will help doctors move from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating myeloma to one that is more targeted to specific patient groups.

The MUK nine trials is one of the first trials of its kind in the world and experts predict it could transform myeloma treatment on the NHS and in healthcare systems around the world.

The trial will deliver on the aspirations set out in the recent Life Sciences: industrial strategy which calls for the UK to lead innovation in clinical trial methodology, and to embed routine genomic analysis to make trials more targeted and effective.

High risk myeloma patients make up around 20% of all people with myeloma and generally have a worse prognosis than other patients. More evidence is required to ensure that high risk myeloma patients get access to the best possible treatments.

MUK nine has been designed to address this evidence gap, and to incorporate genetic tests as a way of identifying this group of patients, a process which is also known as stratified medicine.

Access to state of the art diagnostics

Hosted by the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds, patients taking part in the trial will have access to state of the art diagnostics and remission profiling which has been investigated and developed, in part, through Myeloma UK-funded research at The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

Up to 700 newly-diagnosed patients will be recruited and screened by genetic analysis of their bone marrow samples. This analysis is conducted by Myeloma UK-funded researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). Those patients who are identified by the genetic analysis as being of high risk will be then offered a chance to take part in MUK nine.

MUK nine is a Phase II trial to assess the effectiveness of a new treatment combination in conjunction with an autologous stem cell transplant: bortezomib (Velcade®), lenalidomide (Revlimid®), daratumumab (Darzalex®) and dexamethasone in combination with low dose cyclophosphamide will be used to treat these newly diagnosed, high risk myeloma patients.

Daratumumab is currently only available in a restricted setting on the NHS, to patients in Scotland. So the results of this trial could quickly affect access to the treatment.

The trial also aims to increase understanding of the genetic basis of myeloma in general, and to find disease markers which could be helpful when looking towards stratified medicine that benefits all myeloma patients.

Transforming myeloma treatment

Chief Investigator for the MUK nine trials and Senior Researcher at the ICR, Dr Martin Kaiser said:

“It’s vitally important that people with myeloma get the most effective treatment for them, particularly people with the highest risk forms of the disease. But we urgently need the evidence to show which therapeutic approaches are right for different groups of patients.

The MUK nine trials will give patients access to innovative new treatments and state-of-the-art molecular testing. We hope it will transform myeloma treatment from a one-size-fits-all approach to a stratified one driven by disease characteristics.

Speeding up access to promising new treatments

MUK nine will initially open in 35 Clinical Trial Network (CTN) centre across the UK. It is part of the Myeloma UK CTN, a portfolio of early stage trials co-ordinate and sponsored by the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds, which aims to test and speed up access to promising new treatments for patients.

Myeloma UK Director of Research Dr Simon Ridley added:

Around 20% of myeloma patients are characterized as having high risk myeloma, yet there is relatively little research looking at high risk disease and treatment. This trial is looking to the future – we are trying to gain more insight into which treatment combinations might work best in different groups of high risk patients.

“It also offers patient access to novel combination treatments that they cannot currently get access to through routine commissioning. The data this trial will generate can be used in the UK and beyond to support patient access to the most innovative and effective combination treatments.”

Myeloma UK is funding MUK nine with both funding support and drugs provided by Celgene UK & Ireland (lenalidomide) and Janssen Oncology (daratumumab).

Daratumumab is a novel monoclonal antibody that is not currently available for use on the NHS. Skyline Dx’s prognostic tool, MMprofiler, will be used in combination with other genetic prognostic tools to risk-stratify patients on this trial.

Also Read: ICR’s research into liquid biopsy tests

Official article Source: Institute of Cancer Research ICR London

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Test For Breast Cancer Risk Could Reduce Pre-Emptive Mastectomies

A genetic test that accurately predicts the risk of developing breast cancer could soon be used on high-risk groups.

Researchers behind the test say it could reduce the number of women choosing pre-emptive mastectomy surgery as they will be able to make more informed decisions about their care.

The blood test looks at 18 genetic variations, or single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), known to affect the chances of getting breast cancer.
It will initially only be available at St Mary’s hospital and Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester to women having tests for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.

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A consultant analyses a mammogram: the research suggested the number of women choosing to have a mastectomy could be reduced from 50% to 36%. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

A study carried out by researchers at the hospitals and the University of Manchester analysed the DNA of 451 women with a family history of breast cancer who had developed the disease, using the information alongside other factors to predict an overall risk estimate.

Many of the women who were originally in the high-risk category were reclassified to a lower risk category, where risk-reducing breast removal surgery is not recommended.

The study suggested the number of women with BRCA1 and 2 mutations who choose to have a mastectomy could be reduced from 50% to about 36%.

Becky Measures, who had a mastectomy at Wythenshawe hospital 11 years ago after learning she carried the BRCA1 gene mutation, said: When they find that they have the BRCA1/2 gene, many women fear that they have to take action immediately. The new test will give women more options and help them to make a more informed decision.
Probably the most famous person to have undergone the surgery is actor Angelina Jolie, who made the decision after learning she had an up to 87% chance of developing breast cancer, a disease her mother had died of.

Following the revelation, referrals for the gene mutation tests more than doubled in the UK, which doctors described as the Angelina effect.

While all women with a BRCA gene mutation are given this same risk figure of 87%, it is actually much more complex and different for every person.

A breast cancer charity described the more tailored approach as an exciting development.

Lester Barr, the chairman of Prevent Breast Cancer, which partly funded the research, said: With more accurate genetic testing, we can better predict a woman’s risk of developing the disease and therefore offer the appropriate advice and support, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Read more about: Breast Cancer Latest Research

Source: The Guardian

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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month | Key Terms You Should know

Mammogram. “Triple-negative.” “Tumor stage.”

Patients may hear some or all of these words while speaking to their doctors about breast cancer. Understanding these terms and how they can affect you may be key to getting the help you need.
Below are their definitions, as well some other common breast cancer-related terms and what they mean.

Benign: When something is not cancer.

BRCA-1 and BRCA-2: These two types of breast cancer susceptibility genes usually help protect you from getting cancer,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain. “But when you have changes or mutations on one or both of your BRCA genes, cells are more likely to divide and change rapidly, which can lead to cancer.

Carcinoma: The term signifies “cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs,” according to the charity Cancer Research UK.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): It’s “essentially a cell that looks like a breast cancer but it’s confined in the ducts” of the breast, Dr. Laura Spring with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told Fox News. It’s not yet able to spread distantly in the body, she explained.
Dr. Adam Brufsky, a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine professor, stressed the importance of finding DCIS, saying that it could become invasive cancer if it’s left untreated.

HER2/neu: Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu) is a type of “protein involved in cell growth and survival and appears on the surface of some breast cancer cells, the Susan G. Komen website explains. Testing may be done to determine a patient’s HER2 status, which can indicate if there’s a high amount of HER2/neu in the cancer.
Patients may also be tested to find out their hormone receptor status, which indicates “whether or not a breast cancer needs hormones to grow,” Susan G. Komen says. HER2 status and hormone receptor status can affect the type of care someone gets.

Invasive ductal carcinoma: A type of breast cancer that begins in cells lining a duct before it “breaks through the wall of the duct, and grows into the nearby breast tissues,” the American Cancer Society (ACS) says.

Invasive lobular cancer: This breast cancer type begins in glands called lobules, according to the ACS.
Lumpectomy: When a lump and some tissue is removed from a breast.

Malignant: When something is cancer.

Mammogram: This is a low-dose x-ray that allows radiologists to look for changes in the breast, said Dr. Elizabeth Arleo, a radiologist with New York Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine. She explained that it can find breast cancer early when it’s small even before a lump can be felt and it’s easiest to treat.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) says online that it “recommends biennial screening mammography for women aged 50 to 74 years.
Women who place a higher value on the potential benefit than the potential harms may choose to begin biennial screening between the ages of 40 and 49 years, the task force says.
Arleo and others worked on a study published in August that used computer modeling to estimate the possible effects from three different screening recommendations on female breast cancer deaths, a news release said.

The team found that the recommendation of annual screening starting at age 40 would result in the greatest reduction in breast cancer–specific deaths: a nearly 40 percent reduction in deaths due to breast cancer, it said. Annual screening starting at 40 saves the most lives, Arleo told Fox News.

Mastectomy: This refers to surgery to remove a breast or part of a breast, MedLine Plus says.

Metastasis: This describes cancer extending to other areas of the body, the CDC says.

Occult cancer: This is when cancer is “hidden” and accidentally found, Brufsky explained.

Systemic therapy: This is when treatments such as hormone therapy and chemotherapy affect the entire body, according to Brufsky.

Triple-negative: This describes when tumor cells don’t have estrogen or progesterone receptors and also don’t have too much of the protein called HER2, the ACS says.

Tumor grade: It’s a measure of how quickly the tumor cells are dividing and how different they look compared to a normal cell, according to Spring.

Source: MSN News

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LETTER OF THANKS FROM THE ICR

Dear Ms Causer,

I am writing to thank Breast Cancer Research Aid for your kind donation of £2000.00. We are most grateful for your continued support of the ICR and commitment to our mission: to continue to work towards defeating cancer through our groundbreaking research and translation into real clinical trials and therapy.

The ICR continues to be at the forefront of medical breakthroughs across a variety of cancer-related medical research. Our recent research strategy reflects our commitment to being at the cutting edge. With the recent discoveries around the evolution and complex genetic variety of cancers, we are setting out to find a deeper understanding of the said complexity in order to develop kinder, smarter therapy for individual patients.

Our work makes a real difference. However, it is only with the support, passion and belief of charities like yours, Breast Cancer Research Aid, that we are able to continue our research.

As you may be aware, Michael has left the ICR in order to pursue a new career opportunity. I would like to introduce myself, Jack Mullen, as your new point of contact here at the ICR. Michael has filled me in on the history of your charity, if there is anything that I can help you with then please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you once again for your hard work and kind donation.

Kind regards

Jack Soares Mullen

Trusts and Corporate Fundraising Officer

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