By Green Shoot Media
The National Cancer Institute shared some of the latest breakthroughs in breast cancer research, including clinical research that could lead to improved care at every stage of cancer treatment. Clinical trials are often available for prevention, screening and treatment; ask your doctor for options. DETECTING BREAST CANCER Breast cancer already is one of the easiest-to-find cancers; mammograms and other imaging tools are effective and widely used in identifying and diagnosing tumors. Scientists are looking for ways to enhance the current options available for breast cancer screening, such as 3D mammography, a procedure that takes pictures from a variety of angles around the breast and then builds a 3D-like image. Assessment tools must be measured in terms of their effectiveness not only in finding malignant tumors but in not creating false positives, i.e. telling a woman she has cancer when she doesn’t. This procedure is being tested for that effectiveness. TREATMENT Breast cancer can be divided into subgroups that affect the way doctors treat them, using specific hormone therapies to target cells. A study on patients with an estrogen receptor cancer found a test that looks at certain genes can help some women safely avoid chemo. The Food and Drug Administration has approved several breast cancer treatments that target specific cell-growth molecules, and more of these treatments are being developed. There have been advances in the treatment of hormone receptor-positive advanced breast cancer that have been shown to prolong the time until chemo is needed, possibly extend survival and prevent relapse. In HER2-positive breast cancer (HER2 is a protein; elevated levels are found in some women with breast cancer), the FDA has approved a number of therapies that show positive effects in treating this type of cancer, preventing a relapse or keeping the disease from spreading to the brain. OTHER RESEARCH Researchers also are looking at the effectiveness of screening across communities, why black women are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive forms of breast cancer and are more likely to die of breast cancer than white women as well as issues related to breast cancer survivors, including their continued physical and mental health, sleep disturbances, financial impacts and more.