Metastatic Breast Cancer

13 October 2016 The 13th of October is designated for metastatic breast cancer awareness. Metastatic, or Stage IV breast cancer, is when the cancer has spread outside of the breast or underarm lymph nodes. The most common sites of spread are the bones, liver, lung and brain.  Later stage of disease at the time of diagnosis is a risk factor, as…

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Pinktober

2 October 2016 October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), which means pink is everywhere. Stores start setting out pink merchandise towards the end of September, and the displays often rival Christmas merchandising. How did this happen? The original pink ribbon was actually peach. A woman by the name of Charlotte Haley made them in her home, and handed them out with cards…

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Surveillance in Patients with Metastatic Breast Cancer

25 August 2016 Patients with metastatic (Stage IV) breast cancer often undergo frequent blood tests and scans to monitor for disease progression. But is there such a thing as too much testing? A study recently published in the Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology evaluated the use of blood tests (tumor markers) and body imaging scans (such as PET,…

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Do I Need Chemotherapy?

25 August 2016 A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine reports on the 5 year results of the MINDACT (Microarray In Node-negative and 1 to 3 positive lymph node Disease may Avoid ChemoTherapy) trial. This study was designed to evaluate the use of a tumor gene signature test (MammaPrint) compared with standard factors to assess the…

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Breast Cancer Screening – Risk Assessment and Breast Density

23 August 2016 A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine evaluated screening mammography taking into account breast density and breast cancer risk. For women age 50-74, the conclusion of the authors was that for women of average risk with low breast density (fatty or scattered fibroglandular), triennial (every 3 year) mammography screening averted the same number of breast cancer…

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SSO – ASTRO – ASCO DCIS Margin Guidelines

15 August 2016 A consensus statement was released today by the Society of Surgical Oncology,the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It addresses the issue of surgical margins for patients undergoing breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy) for ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS).The press release provides a summary of the important findings. We know from many years of…

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Did a 3D Mammogram Save Her Life?

An Oklahoma mayor underwent a 3D mammogram (tomosynthesis) as part of a hospital promotion. She was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS, also known as Stage 0 breast cancer) and she stated that the study “…saved my life.” She also recommended that women make sure to obtain a 3D mammogram. The story noted that tomosynthesis “virtually eliminates” the need for…

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Social Media Use and Breast Cancer Treatment Decisions

1 August 2016 A study published in JAMA Oncology demonstrated that women who were engaged in social media after being diagnosed with breast cancer were more likely to express positive feelings and satisfaction related to their treatment decisions. The authors surveyed 2460 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients about their social media use including texting, email, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.…

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Cryoablation for Fibroadenomas & Breast Cancer

1 August 2016 Some patients with benign breast fibroadenomas are candidates for a non-surgical therapy called cryoablation. This involves freezing the benign lump within the breast, and the mass reabsorbs without the need for surgical removal. The in-office procedure is performed under local anesthesia, and usually takes about 15 minutes. Ideal candidates are patients who have fibroadenomas less than 2cm in…

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ASBrS Issues CPM Consensus Statment

During the April 2016 meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS), a consensus conference was held to discuss contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM). CPM is the removal of the healthy, opposite breast, and the rates of CPM have been increasing, for various reasons. A patient’s decision to undergo a CPM is very difficult and is unique to each individual with breast cancer.…

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