Early Detection of Breast Cancer Still Matters

6 October 2015 As we’ve learned more about tumor biology, and as our treatments have improved, the question of whether or not early detection is still important has been raised. Tumor stage has historically been the most important factor in determining overall prognosis. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the survival rates. As we’ve gained a better understand the various breast cancer…

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Chemotherapy Can Be Avoided in Certain Patients

29 September 2015 One of the most common questions asked by a newly diagnosed cancer patient is “Will I need chemotherapy?”. Almost everyone is aware of the toxicity related to chemotherapy, and the fact that it is a common component of cancer treatment. A recent study sheds some light on which patients can safely avoid chemotherapy. We have known for many years that…

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Preoperative Breast MRI

24 September 2015 It is not uncommon that after a breast cancer diagnosis, a breast MRI is recommended. We know that there are limitations to mammography – it might not show everything of concern, especially in women with dense breast tissue. The idea behind preoperative MRI is that if there are other lesions, better to know about them and determine…

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Olive Oil and Breast Cancer

14 September 2015 A study just published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that a Mediterranean diet (MeDiet) supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) was associated with a lower rate of breast cancer. Dr. Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez and co-authors were studying the effects of dietary interventions in men and women at high risk of cardiovascular disease. While the study was not initially designed to…

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Prophylactic Mastectomy for Male Breast Cancer

08 September 2015 Rather write another post about increasing mastectomy rates (see Science vs. Personal Choice) I asked Dr. Oliver Bogler to provide his perspective as a male breast cancer patient and cancer researcher.  Guest post by Dr. Oliver Bogler The observation published in JAMA Surgery (doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2015.2657) that prophylactic contralateral mastectomies are on the rise in men with breast cancer…

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DCIS Treatment and Survival Rates

24 August 2015 A study published in JAMA Oncology raises more questions regarding appropriate treatments for ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS). I wrote about surgery for DCIS about a month ago. The controversy continues. The JAMA Oncology study by Dr. Steven Narod and colleagues used the SEER Database to try to determine if treatment for DCIS improves the death rate. They found that breast cancer-specific mortality was…

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#ILookLikeASurgeon

14 August 2015 It was hard not to get swept up in this one. Anyone who has frequented You Tube knows that certain posts go “viral”. Everyone gets caught up, there is a period of intense conversation and attention, and then it’s gone, replaced by the next trend. While I’ve been amused by some of these “current events”, I’ve never been…

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How can we improve breast cancer surgery?

31 July 2015 The majority of patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer are candidates to undergo what is known as breast conserving surgery, or lumpectomy. However, one challenge is obtaining a clear margin – a rim of normal tissue around the tumor. While we have gotten better at visualizing the extent of the tumor by using mammograms, ultrasound and MRI,…

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Twitter Social Media an Effective Tool for Breast Cancer Education and Support

30 July 2015 A study published today in the Journal of Medical Internet Research demonstrated that breast cancer patients participating in an online support community based on twitter had increased knowledge and decreased anxiety regarding their condition. The Breast Cancer Social Media (#BCSM) community was founded in 2011 by two breast cancer survivors. Weekly tweet chats are held on various topics…

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Do I Need a Mammogram? (Part II)

20 July 2015 This is not a new question, and I promise there will be many parts to this story. The latest: Breast Cancer Screening, Incidence and Mortality Across US Counties, published in the July 2015 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine. The authors of the study noted that rates of early breast cancer detection have increased with the widespread use…

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