Breast Cancer News: Is Dietary Starch Connected To Recurrence?
Researchers from the University of California presented results from a database analysis that linked breast cancer recurrence to increased starch intake.
The database tracked 2651 breast cancer survivors for seven years. The women were participating in the Women's Healthy Eating and Living Dietary Intervention Trial.
When the researchers analyzed starchy carbohydrate consumption separately from other dietary factors like vegetable, fruit, or fiber intake, they found that women who decreased their starch intake the most experienced only 9.7% recurrence.
Women who increased their starch intake showed a recurrence rate of 14.2 percent.
This research is considered preliminary and was limited to women with low grade tumors.
Starchy foods include grains like corn, wheat, and rice, as well as vegetables like potatoes and cassavas.
These results were presented at the December 2011 Breast Cancer Symposium in San Antonio, Texas (CTRC-AACR).
Breast Cancer News: Breast Cancer And Alcohol
A new study has found that even moderate alcohol consumption (averaging 14 drinks a week, or two drinks daily) may increase a woman's risk of breast cancer by 24% compared to non-drinkers.
Now a closer look at their data finds that red wine did not provide a lower risk than white wine regarding breast cancer.
This study compared 6327 women with breast cancer and a matched group of 7558 women without breast cancer (Newcomb P, No difference between red wine or white wine consumption and breast cancer risk, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, March 2009).
Research on red wine has shown some health benefits from resveratrol.
Fortunately for women seeking to avoid additional health risks from alcohol consumption, resveratrol is also found in concord grape juice and supplements.
Breast Cancer News: Jasmine And Breast Cancer
Both cis-jasmone and methyl jasmonate from the jasmine plant have increased the death of breast cancer cells.
During tests with two different cell lines, researchers found increased cancer cell death. Methyl jasmonate, in particular, activated both extrinsic and intrinsic biochemical pathways that promoted cancer cell apoptosis (death). These pathways included increased expression of TNF receptor 1, activation of protein kinase, caspase-8, and caspase-3 while decreasing the mitochondrial membrane potential (Yeruva L, Methyl jasmonate decreases membrane fluidity and induces apoptosis through tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 in breast cancer cells, Anticancer Drugs, September 2008).
This research is considered preliminary.
Breast Cancer News: Rehabilitation After Breast Cancer
Extended rehabilitation interventions also improve the survival of breast cancer patients.
An 11 year study at Ohio State University comprehensive Cancer Center found that longer interventions after breast cancer treatment reduced the risk of dying by 56% and reduced breast cancer recurrence by 45%.
The program followed 227 women being treated for Stage II and Stage III breast cancer. Half the participants were assigned to extended intervention and the other half received regular check-ups. Both groups continued with their prescribed breast cancer treatment program.
The extended program included a weekly program for four months and monthly meetings for eight months. Intervention areas included group counseling for stress reduction, diet, exercise, dealing with chemotherapy side effects, outside support, and treatment education (Andersen B, Cancer, December 2008).
Researchers also found that the participants in the extended program had improved immune function.
Learn more about breast cancer survival rate here.
Breast Cancer News: Vigorous Exercise Reduces Breast Cancer Risk
A recent study of 32,269 postmenopausal women found that vigorous activity reduced their risk of breast cancer by 30%. This U. S. study followed the women for approximately 11 years.
Vigorous activity included strenuous housework like scrubbing floors, strenuous outside work like digging and chopping wood, and strenuous exercise like running, biking up hills, or fast dancing.
This reduced risk was apparent only for women of normal weight. (Leitzmann M, Prospective study of physical activity and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, Breast Cancer Research, November 2008).
Here's more information on women who reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence through dietary changes and exercise.
Breast Cancer News: Stress And Breast Cancer
Can stress increase your risk of cancer?
A new study suggests that it might.
In a case-controlled study, 622 women were interviewed about their life experiences, levels of happiness, depression, anxiety, and optimism.
Young women with previous adverse events like death of a close relative or divorce had an increased risk of breast cancer compared to women reporting general feelings of happiness and optimism (Peled R, Breast cancer, psychological distress and life events among young women, BMC Cancer, August 2008).
While this study is preliminary, it reinforces the complex relationship between external events, psychological behavior, and the immune system.
Breast Cancer News: Estrogen And Benign Breast Disease
A new study shows an increased risk of benign breast disease in women taking the commonly prescribed form of estrogen, conjugated equine estrogen.
During the Women's Health Initiative Study, 10,739 postmenopausal women took either conjugated equine estrogen or placebo after hysterectomy.
While there was no increase in breast cancer risk during the 7 year follow-up, there were 155 cases of benign breast disease among the women who took estrogen compared to 77 cases in the placebo group, more than double the risk of proliferative benign breast disease.
Current information suggests that benign breast disease may be an initial step in the development of breast cancer, and these women may have increased risk (Rohan TE, Conjugated equine estrogen and risk of benign proliferative breast disease: a randomized controlled trial, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, April 2008).
What is the breast cancer survival rate?
What is the risk of breast cancer recurrence?
Breast Cancer News: Genes And Breast Cancer Chemotherapy
Selecting chemotherapy for breast cancer should become more reliable when it includes individual genetic information.
New studies are finding ways to incorporate individual gene expression responses to chemotherapy mixtures prior to therapy.
Scientists at Duke University, North Carolina, found that adding gene expression profiles to the breast cancer patient's total clinical assessment helped improve predicting a patient's response to therapy. It also added information to help choose more effective drugs for chemotherapy (Acharya CR, Gene expression signatures, clinicopathological features, and individualized therapy in breast cancer, Journal of the American Medical Association, April 2008).
This work was especially reliable in predicting relapse or breast cancer recurrence.
Here's more information on breast cancer prevention research.
Breast Cancer News: HRT And Breast Cancer Recurrence
Female hormone replacement for menopause symptoms began in the 1930's but was not seriously promoted until the 1960's. Over the decades, the variety of suggested uses increased to include most signs of aging and HRT became one of the most widely prescribed drugs in history.
While some red flags were raised during the 1970's, it was not until after 2000, when studies like the Women's Health Initiative showed that HRT had increased women's risk of heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer, that HRT usage decreased.
Now a new study confirms increased risk of breast cancer recurrence in breast cancer survivors on HRT.
In a matched sample of women in the HABITS (Hormone Replacement After Breast Cance--Is It Safe?) study, researchers examined breast cancer recurrence during a four-year follow-up.
They found that women receiving hormone replacement had 17.6% breast cancer recurrence compared to 7.7% recurrence in women not receiving HRT.
The absolute risk was calculated at a 14.2% increase in breast cancer recurrence or malignancy when HRT was used (Holmberg L, Increased Risk of Recurrence After Hormone Replacement Therapy in Breast Cancer Survivors, Journal National Cancer Institute, March 2008).
While this study is small, many researchers believe it confirms a pattern of harm from hormone replacement.
Breast Cancer News: Bisphenol A and Aggressive Breast Cancer
Bisphenol A is a chemical used in plastic that leaches into food and beverages. It is used in many plastic water bottles, plastic baby bottles, food can linings, and in dental sealants.
Most people are exposed to it on a regular basis. A 2004 CDC study found that 95% of people tested have bisphenol A in their urine.
It acts like an xenoestrogen in our bodies.
A new study used fresh noncancerous human breast cells and exposed the cells to bisphenol A in the laboratory.
Researchers screened 40,000 genes and found that extremely small amounts of bisphenol A (less than one tenth of a millionth of a gram per milliliter) caused a highly significant increase in activity in genes associated with aggressive breast cancer, increased drug resistant breast cancer, increased breast cancer recurrence, and lower breast cancer survival rate (Dairkee SH, Bisphenol A induces a profile of tumor aggressiveness in high-risk cells from breast cancer patients, Cancer Research, April 2008).
Previous studies have shown that bisphenol A increases the rate of breast cancer and prostate cancer, reduces sperm count, and impacts the immune system.
While this study is not considered proof that bisphenol A causes breast cancer, it adds significant information to understanding the development of cancers.
Breast Cancer News: Stress And Breast Cancer
Previous studies have suggested a relationship between severe stress, such as family death, and increased breast cancer risk.
Now a new study has discovered a biochemical pathway that could help understand this association.
A study using mouse breast cancer tissue has found that the stress hormone cortisol or hydrocortisone down-regulates or reduces the activity of the BRCA 1 gene in breast tissue.
The BRCA 1 gene helps suppress breast cancer tumors. When the activity of the gene is reduced, there may be an increased risk of breast cancer. If the gene is mutated, there may be increased family breast cancer risk.
This study showed that the greater the amount of stress hormones, and the longer they were present, increased the effect on the BRCA 1 gene. This study is considered preliminary (Antonova L, Hydrocortisone down-regulates the tumor suppressor gene BRCA1 in mammary cells: a possible molecular link between stress and breast cancer, Genes Chromosomes and Cancer, April 2008).
Severe stress can happen to anyone and there are many actions that can help people live through tragic situations. Talking with family members, a social network, and psychological or religious counselors are some of the more helpful actions.
Another possible stress reduction technique is drinking tea. Tea contains theanine, a chemical that can reduce psychological stress. Long-term consumption (six weeks) of tea has also been shown to reduce the levels the hormone cortisol after a stressful situation (Steptoe A, The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery: a randomised double-blind trial, Psychopharmacology, January 2007).
Most of the positive results from tea studies are seen when tea consumption is around 5 cups daily and continues over many years.
Breast Cancer News: Detect Cancer Earlier
Finding cancer earlier can save your life.
If cancer is detected in the earliest stages, survival rates can stay close to 100%. If it is detected in the last stages, survival drops to below 20% or may be incurable.
Now there is new technology being developed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, that can find cancerous tissue earlier than current diagnostic techniques.
This new technology is called SURF imaging or Second Order Ultrasound Field imaging.
Using ultrasound for diagnostic procedures has helped medicine reduce the amount of exploratory surgery needed. But detailed images have been blurred at times because of multiple echo reverberations. So the technology has been limited for early detection of smaller tumors or tissue changes.
The new SURF imaging helps resolve this problem and should help with detection of smaller tumors in breast cancer, prostate cancer, and thyroid cancer, as well as enhance information using contrast agents. It can also be used with cardiovascular diseases such as aneurysms or arteriosclerosis.
Professor Angelsen in Trondheim believes the technology should be ready for use within a year (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2008).
You can learn more about breast cancer here.
Breast Cancer News: Breast Cancer Treatment Programs
One of the classes of chemotherapy drugs used for breast cancer patients is called anthracyclines.
Now a new study suggests that anthracyclines may improve survival with HER2-positive breast cancer women, but it may not help HER2-negative patients.
Researchers reviewed data from eight trials of anthracycline and non-anthracycline chemotherapy programs that also recorded HER2 status.
The anthracycline programs provided greater reduction of risk of relapse or death for HER2-positive patients, but there was no advantage for HER2-negative patients (Gennari A, Journal National Cancer Institute, 2007).
The researchers suggest that since anthracycline chemotherapy may be associated with a slight increase in heart damage and leukemia, that HER2-negative patients may want to choose other treatment programs after consulting with their health care providers.
In addition, there are subtypes of breast cancer that may require further optimization of treatment.
Here's more information about reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
Breast Cancer News: One Centimeter Breast Cancer Can Still Be Dangerous
A new study from the Mayo Clinic shows that breast cancer patients with tiny tumors of a particularly aggressive type may have worse outcomes than expected.
Women who had tiny tumors of one centimeter or less that were HER2 positive (HER2+), or triple negative type tumors had larger rates of relapse: 7.4% relapse for HER2+ tumors and 12.5% relapse for triple negative tumors compared to 1.3% relapse for HER2 negative/ER/PR+ tumors.
Although only a few women were studied, the death rate was higher for triple negative breast cancer tumors (Amar S, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, 2007).
This research is preliminary and may not be significant when studied in larger groups. No treatment protocol changes are recommended at this time based on this study alone.
Breast cancer has the highest rates of survival when detected in the earliest stages.
Please follow your health care provider recommendations for breast cancer screening.
Breast Cancer News: Advances In Breast Cancer Detection
Technological improvements are helping women and their doctors make better decisions about breast cancer.
Most breast cancer screenings involve a physical examination with palpation and may include a mammogram.
Now there is a new CAD-MRI (computer assisted magnetic resonance imaging) that provides more detailed information that could be missed in a mammogram. This test requires dye injection, then lying face down on a table with both breasts suspended in coils. The CAD-MRI takes about 30 minutes with results in 15 minutes.
The increased details provided by this technology allows earlier detection of smaller cancers.
The CAD-MRI information can help a woman and her doctor decide if surgery for breast cancer has been totally successful prior to deciding if total mastectomy or removal of the breast is necessary. It can also help in the decision process about preventive mastectomies.
For breast cancer, early detection is the primary difference between survival rates of 98-100% or survival rates of 16-20%.
Please consult with your health care provider for individual examination guidelines.
Breast Cancer News: Breast Cancer In Black Women
While most breast cancer in the United States occurs in white women, it can be more difficult to treat in black women.
A new study analyzed data on 170,079 breast cancer patients from all 50 states.
Researchers found that black women had significantly more ER-negative tumors than white women (39% vs. 22%).
Many breast cancer treatments that target estrogen receptors are not effective with ER-negative tumors, which leads to a less favorable outcome for those patients. In addition, these tumors can be more aggressive and metastasize to other parts of the body.
Black women were also diagnosed at later stages of breast cancer (M. Catherine Lee, Breast Cancer Symposium, 2007).
Breast cancer survival rates drop rapidly when cancer is detected in later stages. All studies recommend greater access to cancer screening.
Early detection is still the best tool to improve breast cancer survival.
Breast Cancer News: Startling New DDT Research
Until now, researchers have not been able to show a relationship between DDT exposure and breast cancer.
It turns out the problem may have been research design flaws.
In the past researchers measured DDE in the blood, a product of DDT breakdown, and compared results with current breast cancer.
Now a new study measured a different component of DDT called p.p'-DDT and found a five-fold increase in breast cancer.
Also as part of the experiment, the researchers located blood samples from 133 women exposed to DDT when they were young and compared them to their risk of breast cancer development after age 50.
So the question changed from asking how much DDT byproduct is in the blood now and does the woman have breast cancer now.
The new question became if a woman is exposed to DDT (as measured by a different DDT component), when she is developing, will she get breast cancer decades later even if DDT seems to be cleared from her body.
The answer was yes. The risk was five times higher (Cohn B, Environmental Health Perspectives, 2007).
This study was small and preliminary, but may open new doors for research into breast cancer prevention.
DDT is currently banned in the United States, but is used in other countries to control mosquitoes for malaria prevention.
Breast Cancer News: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.
Did you know that worldwide, over 1.5 million people will get breast cancer each year?
Did you know that each year, approximately 41,000 women and 400 men will die of breast cancer in the United States alone?
Did you know that breast cancer survival rates are improving because of better diagnosis and treatment, yet more women will acquire breast cancer in their lives?
Did you know that more African-American women will die of breast cancer than white women, probably due to postponed diagnosis?
Did you know that early detection is the single most important factor in breast cancer survival rates, with survival rates almost 100% for early detection and down to less than 20% for late stage detection?
Please see your licensed health care provider for early detection recommendations.
It may save your life.
Breast Cancer News: Booze Bad For Boobs
Just when you thought you could settle down with a little red wine habit....
A new study finds that 3 alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of developing breast cancer by 30%.
That's equal to smoking a pack of cigarettes every day.
Researchers in California followed 70,033 multi-ethnic women for up to 24 years.
For every alcoholic drink the women consumed daily, their risk of breast cancer increased by 10%. One drink daily meant a 10% increase. Three drinks daily meant a 30% increase, the same increase as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
While there are alcohol and calorie differences in alcoholic drinks, there was no added protection from wine or beer over liquor (Klatsky A, European Cancer Conference, 2007).
Some lifestyle habits have shown a reduction of breast cancer risk, including reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence. You can learn about those lifestyle habits here.
Breast Cancer News: Stress Speeds Up Breast Cancer Recurrence
In a small case-controlled study, researchers interviewed metastatic breast cancer patients in San Francisco.
They found that women who reported previous serious stress or traumatic experiences had breast cancer recurrence within 2.5 years.
Women with less stress did not have breast cancer recurrence for five years, almost twice as long without recurrence (Palesh O, Journal Psychosomatic Research, 2007).
Other studies have shown that women can change the odds of breast cancer recurrence with lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and green tea.
Breast cancer recurrence can affect 10% of breast cancer patients after treatment depending on their individual situation.
Early detection is best.
Women whose breast cancer is detected early in Stage 1 have almost 100% survival rates.
Breast Cancer News: Will Vitamin D Prevent Breast Cancer?
A recent study by Notre Dame researchers states that Vitamin D may be related to breast cancer prevention.
Epidemiological evidence from searching through human populations shows that breast cancer is lower in people that have sufficient Vitamin D. This research includes Vitamin D from dietary sources as well as Vitamin D made by the body from sunlight on the skin.
Laboratory studies also confirm that adding dietary Vitamin D reduces the number of breast cancer tumors (Welsh J, Acta Pharm Sin, 2007). These studies are considered preliminary.
There are few sources of Vitamin D. It is added to milk in the United States and is in fish oil. Your body also can make Vitamin D if you are in sunlight and have a plain oil on your skin.
While too much Vitamin D can be toxic, cases of overdose are rare.
The Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin D is 400 international units.
Breast Cancer News: Fruit Fiber And Breast Cancer
A study following 51,823 post-menopausal women in Sweden examined their diet for 10 years.
Women in the top 25% of daily fruit fiber intake had 34% less breast cancer overall, and 38% less estrogen/progesterone-receptor breast cancer, a significant difference.
Among women who were using hormone replacement therapy, those who were in the top 25% of daily total fiber including fruit fiber and cereal fiber had a significant 50% less breast cancer occurrence (Suzuki R, International Journal of Cancer, 2007)
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This page last updated by Sharon Jones.
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