Extended Hormone Therapy for Postmenopausal Breast Cancer

09 June 2016 A study presented at the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting evaluated the use of extended endocrine therapy in post-menopausal women. I’ve covered some of the basics of endocrine therapy for breast cancer in a previous post. In 2012, results of the ATLAS Trial were published, and found that when tamoxifen was given for 10 years instead of the standard…

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Reflections on An Incredible Year

On April 15, 2016, I passed the gavel of the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS) to our new President, Dr. Sheldon Feldman. The weeks leading up to the meeting were filled with anticipation, anxiety, and a few nightmares. I had dreams that I slept through my Presidential Address, and that I forgot to prepare my slides. My nightmares stopped…

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Is Dense Breast Notification Too Dense?

26 April 2016 A growing number of states have enacted so-called “dense breast” legislation – requirements that radiology facilities inform patients if they have dense breast tissue, which may limit the sensitivity of mammography. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluated the dense breast legislation for 23 states who have these requirements. They evaluated the…

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Media Reporting on Celebrity Breast Cancer

20 April 2016 I’ve written about the “celebrity effect” before –  misinformation disseminated by public features that subsequently influences patient decision making. A new study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology notes that the celebrity effect extends to media coverage as well. The authors evaluated media coverage of celebrity breast cancer stories. They found that since 2004, celebrity breast…

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Lifestyle Behaviors Among US Cancer Survivors

28 January 2016 Due to improvements in diagnosis and treatment, patients who have undergone cancer therapy are living longer than ever. The American Cancer Society estimates that there are approximately 15.5 million people living in the United States who have been treated for cancer, and that number is likely to increase. Cancer survivors not only cope with the normal effects of…

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The Final (???) Word on Screening Mammography

17 January 2016 In October 2015, the American Cancer Society (ACS) updated their screening mammography guidelines, raising a lot of questions and concerns as annual mammograms were no longer recommended for all women starting at age 40. The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new guidelines on screening mammography last week. The new USPSTF guidelines recommend an individualized risk-based approach for women age…

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To Screen or Not To Screen?

14 January 2016 Does cancer screening save lives? A study published in the British Medical Journal study noted that while many studies of cancer screenings report decreased cancer-specific mortality rates, the benchmark should be overall mortality rates, and this has not been consistently demonstrated. The 15 minute podcast is worth a listen. The lead author, Dr. Vinay Prasad, is not arguing…

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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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