Reporting of Chemotherapy-Related Side Effects

27 December 2015 Patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer frequently experience side effects. These are normally recorded by physicians and nurses using standardized scoring systems. In a study reported in JAMA Oncology, researchers compared these physician-reported adverse effects with patient-reported side effects and toxicity. They found that physicians and nurses frequently under-estimated the frequency and severity of treatment-related side effects. In the…

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Am I Cancer Free?

11 December 2015 This past week, two well known public figures made announcements regarding their cancer. The actress Rita Wilson, who underwent a bilateral mastectomy in March, stated that “I am cancer free” and “100% healthy”. Former President Jimmy Carter, who is being treated for melanoma with metastasis to his liver and brain, announced that on a recent scan, “they didn’t find any cancer…

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ACS / ASCO Breast Cancer Survivorship Guidelines

7 December 2015 The American Cancer Society and the American Society of Clinical Oncology have just released updated guidelines for breast cancer survivors. The purpose “is to provide recommendations to assist primary care and other clinicians in the care of female adult survivors of breast cancer”. Patients and physicians are well aware that health concerns do not end when cancer treatment…

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Are False Alarms Cause for Alarm?

5 December 2015 Approximately 60% of women undergoing annual screening mammography over a 10 year period will be called back for additional views. Often these are in women with dense breast tissue, which can make it more challenging to read mammograms. Many of these callbacks are false alarms, also known as false positives – the abnormality may resolve with additional…

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Breast Density and Breast Cancer Risk

3 December 2015 Dense breast tissue has been linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer, although studies report a variable influence of breast density compared to other known risk factors.  A new study published in the journal European Radiology calls into question the association of breast density and breast cancer. Researchers evaluated MRI scans to determine breast density…

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The Celebrity Effect, Part II

27 November 2015 Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach has just published a book about her breast cancer experience. This is not something I would normally write about – two years ago, I discussed countering misconceptions and false statements brought up by celebrities who went public with their breast cancer stories. While celebrities are to be applauded for increasing awareness,…

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New Patient Information Website

  9 November 2015 The American Society of Breast Surgeons has just launched a patient information website – Breast360.org. The site was developed by breast surgeons, and patient advocates have had input and oversight during the entire process. Please take a look, and feel free to provide feedback if you have a suggestion for additional content. DISCLAIMER: Dr. Attai does not…

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If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…

29 October 2015 We’ve all seen the headlines noting a “blockbuster” or “groundbreaking” new drug for cancer treatment. It can be very difficult to sort out whether or not the hype is indicated. A study published in JAMA Oncology evaluated how news articles described new cancer medications. They evaluated the use of the superlative terms “breakthrough”, “game changer”, “miracle”, “cure”,…

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American Cancer Society Updates Screening Mammography Guidelines

25 October 2015 The American Cancer Society has issued new guidelines for screening mammography, and they are sparking a lot of discussion. Previous guidelines, which have been in place since 2003, have recommended: Annual mammography beginning at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health Clinical breast exam (CBE) [exam by a physician] about every 3…

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Race and Breast Cancer

15 October 2015 A recent study has noted that African American and Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive forms of breast cancer. Drs. Lu Chen and Christopher Lee published their findings, Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment by Hormone Receptor and Her2 Status, in a recent issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and…

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