Being overweight or obese increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Waist circumference and waist to hip ratio are associated with free estradiol and free testosterone, but not hip circumference. Moving further down, lower thigh subcutaneous fat is bad and is associated with insulin resistance.
A new Texas law effective January 1, 2012 called Henda-s Law requires that if a woman-s mammogram reveals dense breast tissue, supplemental screening should be ordered. What type of supplemental screening is not specified, and this is to be chosen by the patient-s physician.
Researchers report that increased carbohydrate intake is associated with a higher rate of breast cancer recurrence in survivors of the disease. Starch intake seems to be particularly influential. The seven year study was presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
The upside of allergies: yes, there is one. People with contact allergies (skin reactions from substances like hair dyes, fragrances, poison ivy, etc.) had lower rates of breast and certain kinds of skin cancer as well as lower rates of brain cancer in a study in the journal British Medical Journal Open. While the reason isn-t entirely clear, â€œit may be that individuals with allergies have a more active immune system, and thus are better at destroying cancerous cells,â€ says a senior researcher at the National Research Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. Itchy people, rejoice!
From the journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology (September, 2011), emerging data suggest a dramatic new role for beta blockers in the treatment of breast cancer. This applies in particular to the drug Propranalol, invented in 1964. It is an old adrenergic receptor antagonist which reduces tumor metastasis, tumor recurrence, and cancer specific mortality.
A much newer drug, Exemestane, was just released. It was featured in the June 23, 2011 New England Journal of Medicine. Exemestane is taken once a day for 5 years and produces 65% protection against breast cancer for life. There is no reported toxicity and no adverse side effects. Medicare and most insurances cover it, leaving a total cost to the patient of $39 per month.
A new drug called Exemestane is now available. It lowers the risk of breast cancer by 65 percent. An article concerning Exemestane is in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study was done at Harvard and the Massachusetts General Hospital. Treatment is a once per day tablet taken for 5 years. It is safer and has fewer side effects than Tamoxifen, in addition to being much more effective. The problem is cost. At present the cash price for generic is about $388 per month but with insurance it is $39 per month.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. A study recently published in the journal Breast Cancer examined the effects of a blended natural supplement on breast health in 96 pre- and post-menopausal women not taking hormonal contraceptives, supplements, or HRT. The randomized controlled trial, published by Canadian researcher Maggie Laidlaw, used a novel biomarker called the carcinogenic ratio. A follow-up study will be funded by the Canadian government. The breast health supplement used was derived from stinging nettle and contained HMR lignan, indole-3-carbinol, calcium glucarate, and milk thistle.
I attended the 33rd annual Breast Cancer Symposium at San Antonio, Texas December 8-12, 2010. It was a huge meeting with over 9,000 delegates. One of the most important presentations (based on media response) was by Dr. Joseph Ragaz, medical oncologist and clinical professor at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia at Vancouver, Canada.
His study stunned many if not most listeners in that it contradicted previous results reported by the Women-s Health Initiative study on estrogen replacement therapy back in 2002. In the Ragaz study, women who received estrogen replacement alone showed a 30-40 percent reduction in breast cancer. These were women who had had previous hysterectomies. His conclusion was that exogenous (administered) estrogen has a protective effect, while endogenous (self produced) estrogen can be carcinogenic.
There is now a blood test available to detect circulating HER-2/neu cells in patients with late stage (IV) metastatic breast cancer. This test helps evaluate treatment and monitor periods of remission results.