Receiving a positive mammogram result, then learning on follow-up that nothing is wrong, is good news.

But a false positive mammogram has a dangerous downside: It may reduce the likelihood that a woman returns for later screenings, increasing her risk for a late-stage cancer, according to a new study appearing in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, as reported in the New York Times.

“Getting a false positive can be a traumatic experience,” said the lead author, Firas M. Dabbous, an epidemiologist with the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “But it should not deter women from coming back. Mammography screening is the most common widely accepted tool for detecting early tumors. Early detection results in improved survival.”

Learn more about these results, affecting the emotional reconstruction of women everywhere as breast cancer expert Dr. Jay Harness describes it, in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, and in the New York Times.

Posted in Doctor-Patient Relationship, Emotional Reconstruction®, Information Strength, Mammograms, Prevention, Research News, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged | Comments Off

It’s no surprise that most women with breast cancer consider hair loss one of the most traumatic aspects of chemotherapy.

Earlier this week came good news. Women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer are more likely to keep most of their hair if they use devices that cool the scalp, according to two new studies, as reported by the Washington Post.

The devices work like refrigerators, sending fluid into a special helmet to cool the scalp before, during and after chemotherapy treatments. Cooling seems to protect the hair by constricting blood vessels in the scalp and reducing chemical activity.

“I think it’s a very exciting tool, because hair loss is such a horrible manifestation of chemotherapy,” said Harold Burstein, a breast cancer specialist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“Whether you’re a mom with young children, a teacher in a classroom or a corporate lawyer, the visible part of the chemo experience has really been that hair loss,” he said.

The two studies are both reported in JAMA, with the second study appearing at this link, together with this editorial.

The studies focus seperately on the DigniCap, and the Paxman System cooling cap devices.

Learn more in the Washington Post.

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‘Breast in a day’ is a treatment approach in which the mastectomy and breast reconstruction happens all in one surgery, rather than the more common multiple surgeries over an extended period, in this report from NBC’s TODAY Show.

It’s a relatively recent option for a select number of patients. Approximately one in 10 women are candidates if they want to stay the same breast size, have no other underlying medical conditions and if they are smaller than a D cup.

NYU Langone plastic surgeon Dr. Mihye Choi said the new approach means fewer surgeries and helps women cope:

“They wake up, they feel whole. They don’t have a period of prolonged grieving process with no breasts. So I think that having this type of option really makes them feel more confident that they can resume their normal life.”

Learn more from NBC’s TODAY.

Posted in Breast Cancer Surgery, Emotional Reconstruction®, Genetic Screening & Testing, Information Strength, Oncoplastic Reconstruction, Video, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged | Comments Off

A new device may hold the promise of eliminating an anguishing part of many breast-cancer surgeries: a follow-up operation to remove lingering cancer cells. Surgeons are beginning to use a tool – the Margin Probe – that shows promise in reducing the number of repeat procedures, in this report from the Wall Street Journal [paywall].

In the video above a surgeon uses the MarginProbe to examine a specimen for safe cancer margins, while others explain how the device helps reduce the rate of repeat operations.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal, or at

Posted in Breast Cancer Surgery, Emotional Reconstruction®, Information Strength, Video, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Women with breast cancer who are at high risk for having a BRCA mutation that raises cancer risk often don’t get genetic testing, or even a chance to speak with a genetic counselor who’d help them weigh the necessity of such a test, a study finds, in this report from NPR News.

Test results can help guide patient treatment, as well as future efforts to prevent more cancer.

When asked why they didn’t get tested, the majority of the 773 high-risk patients said it was because their doctor didn’t recommend it to them. Just 13.7 percent of them said the test was too expensive, and 10.7 percent said they didn’t want it. The researchers say this suggests a disconnect between oncologist and patient, whether it be assessing BRCA risk isn’t on the physician’s radar, or that they just don’t find it important. The study surveyed 2,529 women overall.

Said Allison Kurian, associate professor of medicine and health research/policy at Stanford University, breast cancer doctor, and lead author on the study, which was published in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association:

“[These results]…emphasize the importance of cancer doctors in this process, and that patients get evaluated and tested the way they should be.”

Learn more in NPR News.

Posted in Doctor-Patient Relationship, Genetic Screening & Testing, Information Strength, Prevention, Research News, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Scientists have created a ‘map’ linking the shape of breast cancer cells to genes turned on and off, and matched it to real disease outcomes, which could one day help doctors select treatments, according to a study published in Genome Research.

As reported in Science Daily:

By analysing cell shape in millions of images of more than 300,000 breast cancer cells, and data for more than 28,000 different genes, researchers found that cell shape changes, which can be caused by physical pressures on the tumour, are converted into changes in gene activity.

When they then used their maps to analyse thousands of samples taken from women who took part in the Cancer Research UK funded METABRIC study, the researchers discovered that these changes are linked to clinical outcomes for patients.

Specifically, researchers found a protein called NF-kappaB, plays a central role in this shape-gene network and could drive the growth and spread of cancer cells.

According to the study, these findings suggest that because NF-kappaB is rarely faulty in solid tumours, the surrounding mechanical forces are playing a large role in disease progression by switching the gene on.

Dr Chris Bakal, team leader in dynamic cell systems at the Institute of Cancer Research, said: “Our study reveals an exciting link between the forces that act on cancer cells and the development of the disease.

“We used ‘big data’ approaches to carry out a complex analysis that would once have taken decades, in a matter of months.

Read further in the journal Genome Research, and in this media release from Cancer Research UK.

Posted in Early Detection, Genetic Screening & Testing, Information Strength, International Authority, Research News, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged | Comments Off

It’s often viewed as a woman’s disease, but the American Cancer Society says about 2,500 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and about 500 die.

One Santa Ana [California] construction worker wants men to wake up to the fact that they can get breast cancer too, in this report from ABC7 News

“To be honest with you, I just never thought, I was never aware that it could happen to a man,” Manshack said.

Although breast cancer is 100 times more common in women, oncologic surgeon Dr. Michele Carpenter with St. Joseph Hospital in Orange says the number is growing among men.

“There seems to be some inter-relationship with estrogen. The estrogen in male fat is just like what there is in female fat stores,” she explained.

Manshack discovered he carried the BRCA2 gene mutation increasing his risk for recurrence and other cancers. He opted for a double mastectomy.

Learn more of Mr. Manshack’s story at this link.

The Breast Program at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange is also home to our own Dr. Jay Harness.

Posted in Breast Cancer Surgery, Doctor-Patient Relationship, Dr. Jay Harness Expertise, Emotional Reconstruction®, Genetic Screening & Testing, Information Strength, orange county breast cancer surgeon, orange county breast cancer surgery, Patients Speak, Video, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

You may have seen some scary headlines about meat being linked to cancer, but don’t blame protein. It turns out that eating a moderate amount of protein doesn’t appear to cause breast cancer. In fact, protein may offer protective effects in women who’ve already had the common cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This jives with previous research finding that eating a diet high in protein and low in carbs may reduce the risk of cancer and slow the growth of any existing tumors, according to an American Association for Cancer Research study. Another study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, found that soy-based proteins were particularly effective at warding off breast cancer.

While we can’t say that a specific food causes or prevents breast cancer—likely because cancer doesn’t seem to have a single, discrete cause—your diet can impact your risk of getting the disease, says Dr. Homayoon Sanati, medical oncologist and medical director of the MemorialCare Breast Center at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in California.

Read more in SHAPE magazine.

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