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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Decline in Cancer Deaths

9 January 2019 The American Cancer Society has just published their updated “Cancer Facts and Figures”, documenting cancer incidence and mortality rates. When combined by disease site, cancer death rates have decreased by 27% from 1991-2016, resulting in approximately 2.6 million cancer deaths avoided. From 2007 – 2016, cancer death rates have declined approximately 1.8% per year for men, and…

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Recent Pregnancy and Breast Cancer Risk

19 December 2018 A study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine noted that breast cancer risk increases after childbirth, peaking at about 5 years after delivery. The increased risk was seen to persist for over 20 years. The Annals study pooled the results from 15 prospective series. They found that in women with prior pregnancy, who had their…

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Body Fat, BMI, and Breast Cancer

10 December 2018 Being overweight after menopause is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. But a new study suggests that our traditional measure of overweight, the body mass index (BMI) may not tell the whole story. A recent study, published in JAMA Oncology, performed detailed body composition analysis on 3000 women who were of normal BMI. They found…

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Breast Cancer Updates from ASCO 2018

14 August 2018 I was honored to participate in a Sharsheret national webinar, where breast cancer research that had been presented at the June 2018 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology was reviewed. The webinar video and transcript are linked below. Dr. Sharyn Lewin, a gynecologic oncologist, presented ovarian cancer research updates. Transcript Link Additional Sharsheret Symposia Transcripts DISCLAIMER: Dr.…

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Tailoring Chemotherapy Decisions – TAILORx Study Results

4 June 2018 The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, a gathering of over 40,000 oncology specialists, was held this past weekend in Chicago. One of the studies that received a significant amount of press attention was the TAILORx study. There are several genomic tests which evaluate a tumor’s DNA to better determine how aggressive that tumor is,…

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Does Breast Cancer Surgery Cause Metastatic Disease?

15 April 2018 Press coverage of a study recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine has raised a lot of eyebrows and may be causing unnecessary worry in patients. The headline in USA Today noted “Healing process after breast cancer surgery may trigger cancer to spread, study says.” Not mentioned in the headline: the study was performed in mice.…

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Direct to Consumer Genetic Testing

8 March 2018 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved an at-home test for certain DNA abnormalities known to be associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. This is the first approval for a direct-to-consumer (DTC) breast cancer genetic test. Approximately 15% of patients diagnosed with breast cancer will be found to carry a…

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Updated Breast Cancer Staging System – AJCC 8th Edition

1 January 2018 The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) has recently updated the staging system used for breast cancer. Cancer stage refers to the amount of cancer (size of the main tumor, spread to lymph nodes or other areas). The definitions of each stage vary depending on cancer type. Cancer stage often correlates with outcomes, and treatment recommendations usually…

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Hormonal Contraceptives and Breast Cancer Risk

10 December 2017 A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that birth control pills and other forms of hormone based contraception (such as some intrauterine devices (IUDs) are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. We’ve thought that the pills currently in use, which have much lower doses of estrogen and progesterone compared to…

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