Tailoring Chemotherapy Decisions – TAILORx Study Results

4 June 2018 The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, a gathering of over 40,000 oncology specialists, was held this past weekend in Chicago. One of the studies that received a significant amount of press attention was the TAILORx study. There are several genomic tests which evaluate a tumor’s DNA to better determine how aggressive that tumor is,…

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Highlights from the 2018 American Society of Breast Surgeons Annual Meeting

10 May 2018 The American Society of Breast Surgeons held their Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL from May 2nd – 6th. As usual, it was well attended – the meeting is known for being very practical and full of information that breast surgeons can bring back to their practices to help improve patient care. I’ve picked a few topics to…

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Does Breast Cancer Surgery Cause Metastatic Disease?

15 April 2018 Press coverage of a study recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine has raised a lot of eyebrows and may be causing unnecessary worry in patients. The headline in USA Today noted “Healing process after breast cancer surgery may trigger cancer to spread, study says.” Not mentioned in the headline: the study was performed in mice.…

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Why I Post, Tweet and Blog

19 March 2018 I am often asked why I take the time to post on social media sites, and the answer is simple – it’s a way to reach patients and others who are interested in the content. As physicians, one of our primary roles is patient education, and there is a limit to how many we can reach in…

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Direct to Consumer Genetic Testing

8 March 2018 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved an at-home test for certain DNA abnormalities known to be associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. This is the first approval for a direct-to-consumer (DTC) breast cancer genetic test. Approximately 15% of patients diagnosed with breast cancer will be found to carry a…

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Breast Cancer Treatment and Risk of Heart Disease

1 February 2018 February is heart health month! It is well known that some breast cancer treatments including certain chemotherapy agents, trastuzumab (brand name herceptin – used for Her2/neu over-expressed cancers), and radiation therapy have the potential to cause damage to the heart. Echocardiograms and other monitoring tests are often performed during and after treatment for patients receiving certain chemotherapy…

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Breast Biopsy after Breast Cancer Treatment

31 January 2018 In women who undergo lumpectomy for breast cancer, the likelihood of another cancer developing in the treated breast can range from 0.2 – 1.0% per year, and this rate can be decreased with the addition of endocrine therapy such as tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor. The likelihood of developing a contralateral (opposite side) breast cancer is about…

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Updated Breast Cancer Staging System – AJCC 8th Edition

1 January 2018 The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) has recently updated the staging system used for breast cancer. Cancer stage refers to the amount of cancer (size of the main tumor, spread to lymph nodes or other areas). The definitions of each stage vary depending on cancer type. Cancer stage often correlates with outcomes, and treatment recommendations usually…

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How Well Informed Do Patients Feel About Their Breast Cancer Surgery?

26 December 2017 A study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons evaluated patient perceptions regarding knowledge about their breast cancer surgery. An online survey was distributed via email to patients who had participated in previous online surveys and had agreed to be contacted again. Enrollment quotas were set for geographic area, insurance status, and income level…

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Cognitive Dysfunction after Breast Cancer Treatment

19 December 2017 Up to 70% of patients treated for breast cancer experience some degree of cognitive dysfunction (more commonly known as “chemobrain”) during and immediately after treatment, and the symptoms may persist in up to 15-25% of patients. The impact on quality of life and ability to work varies; patients may experience forgetfulness, challenges with multitasking, and difficulty finding…

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