Can Breast Cancer Be Treated Without Surgery?

13 March 2019 A recent news article has called attention to an ongoing clinical trial, which is evaluating whether certain patients can avoid surgery for breast cancer. The article has raised many questions, so with the help of the trial principal investigator, surgical oncologist Dr. Henry Kuerer from M.D. Anderson, here is some clarification. The most important point to stress…

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Digital Breast Tomosynthesis

11 March 2019 A study recently published in JAMA Oncology adds to the growing body of literature noting the advantages of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), also known as 3D mammography, compared to the more widely available digital (2D) mammography (DM). While mammography is still considered the “gold standard” for breast cancer screening, there are some limitations. Approximately 40% of women have…

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FDA Advisory on Thermography

26 February 2019 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety communication regarding the use of breast thermography as a sole means of breast cancer screening or diagnosis. Thermography has been around for many years, and as seen by the FDA communication, has been the subject of multiple warning letters. Thermography works by detecting patters of heat…

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PCP Involvement in Breast Cancer Decisions

19 February 2019  A study recently published in Cancer assessed primary care physician (PCP) knowledge about breast cancer treatment decisions, and their comfort level with having treatment option discussions with their patients.  PCPs were identified by their patients as part of a previous study. 61% of the 852 eligible PCPs responded to the survey request. Dr. Lauren Wallner and colleagues…

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Updated Breast Cancer Genetic Testing Guidelines

12 February 2019 The American Society of Breast Surgeons has issued updated genetic testing guidelines for patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The new guidelines recommend that genetic testing to include BRCA 1/2 and PALB2 mutations (and other genes as appropriate based on clinical scenario and family history) be made available to all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. They…

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Improvement in Breast Cancer Death Rates – But Much Work Remains

11 February 2019 Half a million breast cancer deaths averted! That’s certainly a headline that will get attention. A study just published in Cancer concluded that approximately 500 million deaths from breast cancer among women in the United States (US) have been averted over the past 30 years due to screening mammography and improved therapy. The most important point to…

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Breast Implant-Associated Lymphoma

6 February 2019 The US FDA just issued a letter to healthcare providers, to increase awareness of breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). BIA-ALCL is a rare type of T-cell lymphoma, not a type of breast cancer. Approximately 457 cases have been reported and there have been 9 associated deaths. It is estimated that approximately 1.5 million implants…

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Can You Trust Dr. Google?

23 January 2019 A recent New York Times article discussed some of the cautions that cancer patients should be aware of when they turn to “Dr. Google” for advice and information. According to Pew research, close to 85% of US adults are online, and 72% of internet users have searched for health information. The information patients find online can have…

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Medications to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

15 January 2019 The US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has released draft recommendations for the use of medications to reduce the risk of breast cancer development in women who are at increased risk. The draft document, which is open for public comment until February 11, 2019, is an update of their 2013 recommendation – the conclusions are similar, and…

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