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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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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Acupuncture for Joint Pains

7 December 2017 An abstract presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium found that acupuncture can be very helpful in patients who develop joint pains related to aromatase inhibitor (AI) treatment. The study evaluated the use of acupuncture in post-menopausal women who had been treated for early stage breast cancer. 226 patients were enrolled. 110 underwent true acupuncture, 59…

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Cancer Risk Factors and Financial Impact of Cancer Treatment

24 October 2017 A national survey performed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology showed that many Americans are unaware of key cancer risk factors, including obesity, alcohol, lack of exercise, tobacco use and sun exposure. While doing “everything right” certainly is no guarantee of a healthy life (for example, many patients who develop lung cancer do not smoke) being…

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Comparison of Treatments for Cancer-Related Fatigue

1 August 2017 A meta-analysis recently published in JAMA Oncology evaluated studies that reported on therapies for cancer-related fatigue (CRF). CRF is very common, can persist for years after treatment, and is exacerbated by depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and pain – which can also be long-term effects of cancer therapy. The authors focused on papers that reported the effects of pharmaceutical…

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Extended Endocrine Therapy – Not So Fast?

26 December 2016 Approximately 75% of breast cancers express the estrogen receptor – we term these breast cancers ER positive (ER+) or hormone-sensitive. Endocrine therapy refers to using medications to exploit this cancer cell property. Tamoxifen is used in premenopausal women and it blocks the estrogen receptor. In post-menopausal women, aromatase inhibitors (AI) are used which prevent estrogen from being produced…

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Do Social Connections Predict Breast Cancer Outcomes?

13 December 2016 A study published in the journal Cancer concluded that women with larger social networks have better breast cancer (BC) outcomes. In noting that large social networks predict lower overall mortality in healthy populations, the researchers analyzed a group of women who were already participating in four cohort studies. They evaluated associations between social networks within 2 years…

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Accelerated Aging Due to Cancer Treatment

28 November 2016 Cancer treatment takes a physical and mental toll. As patients progress from active treatment into the survivorship phase, many become frustrated that they cannot “bounce back” as quickly as they would like. Getting back to “normal” may not be realistic – many of us are doing way too much even on a good day, and ignore the…

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A Crucial Catch to Address Breast Cancer Disparities

25 October 2016 For the past several years, the NFL has gone pink in October. At first glance, it appears that the “Crucial Catch” campaign is simply another pinkwashing project. The campaign message: screening saves lives. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Proceeds from the auction of pink apparel, commemorative coins and other items are donated to the American Cancer Society’s CHANGE program –…

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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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