Preventative care for women is crucial for maintaining good health and detecting potential health problems early on. One important aspect of preventative care for women is regular gynecological exams and breast cancer screenings. These exams and screenings can help detect and prevent a variety of health issues, including cancer, sexually transmitted infections, and other conditions that can impact women's reproductive health. A gynecological exam is a routine check-up that includes a pelvic exam and a pap smear. During a pelvic exam, a healthcare provider will examine a woman's reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. A pap smear, also known as a cervical cancer screening, is a test that looks for abnormal cells on the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Regular pelvic exams and pap smears are important for detecting cervical cancer and other conditions, such as endometriosis and ovarian cysts, in their early stages. In addition to gynecological exams, regular breast cancer screenings are also an important part of preventative care for women. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and early detection is key to survival. There are two main types of breast cancer screenings: mammograms and clinical breast exams. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast, and a clinical breast exam is a physical examination of the breast by a healthcare provider. Both types of screenings can help detect breast cancer early, when the chances of treating it are higher. It is recommended that women between the ages of 50 and 74 have a mammogram every two years, and women over the age of 75 should continue to have mammograms as long as they are in good health. Women between the ages of 40 and 49 should talk to their healthcare provider about when to start having mammograms and how often to have them. Regular gynecological exams and breast cancer screenings can be a daunting prospect for some women, but they are important for maintaining good health. It is important to remember that these exams and screenings are not just about detecting cancer, but also about detecting and preventing other conditions that can affect women's reproductive health. It's important for women to make sure they are aware of their body and any changes that happen. It's also important for them to communicate with their healthcare provider about any concerns they have. They should be aware of the different types of screenings and tests that are available to them and understand the benefits of these tests. *Image by Alisa Dyson from Pixabay
Following on from our post last week on what to expect during a physical examination, today’s blog will explain some of the laboratory and screening tests you may also undergo. Now it’s important to note that there are no standard laboratory or screening tests during a physical exam, so what you are advised to have will depend on your physician and health history. Laboratory tests during a physical exam The main laboratory tests you are likely to undergo during a physical exam are: – Complete blood count (CBC) – A CBC is a blood test that helps evaluate your overall health and detect a wide range of conditions, including anemia, infection and leukemia. – Chemistry panel – A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) will include an electrolyte panel (which measures levels of sodium, chloride, potassium and bicarbonate), kidney function tests, liver function tests and also measures glucose and calcium. – Blood glucose – To look for signs of diabetes or pre-diabetes. – Urinalysis – Using a sample of your urine, this test can detect a range of conditions, including urinary tract infections, kidney disease and diabetes. – Fecalysis – A stool sample test (fecalysis) can detect certain conditions affecting your digestive tract, including parasites, viruses, bacteria, poor nutrient absorption and even cancer. Screening tests during a physical exam In addition to the laboratory tests outlined above, you may also undergo the following screening tests: For women: – Mammogram – A screening test for breast cancer, usually recommended for women 40 and over – Pap smear – A screening test for cervical cancer, usually recommended for women 21 and older For men: – Prostate exam – A digital rectal exam is the most common method used for physically checking your prostate, while a PSA test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in your blood – both of which can flag early signs of prostate cancer. – Testicular exam – A physical exam that checks both testicles for signs of abnormality, including lumps, changes in size, and tenderness. – Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening – This simple ultrasound looks for a bulge or swelling in the aorta, and is usually recommended for men 65 and over, as they are most at risk. Both men and women: – Cholesterol test – Also called a ‘lipid panel’, this checks your cholesterol levels to see if you are at risk of heart attack or stroke. – Osteoporosis - A bone density scan can help reveal potential issues relating to weak bones. – Hepatitis – Everyone should be tested for hepatitis C at least once to find out if they have ever been infected with the virus. – Colorectal – A colonoscopy is usually used to check for colorectal cancer and other abnormalities in your colon. If you are a smoker, or have a family history of certain conditions, your physician may also recommend further tests in addition to those above. * Image by Ernesto Eslava from Pixabay
In 2018, there were nearly 50,000 confirmed cases of prostate cancer in England – around 8,000 more than in 2017, which makes it the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the country, overtaking breast cancer for the first time. Now Public Health England says that the reason why more cases of prostate cancer are being confirmed is simply because more men are getting tested, and not because the cancer has seen a sharp rise. With 49,029 confirmed cases, prostate tops the list of common cancers in England, followed by breast with 47,476 cases. Lung and bowel cancers are the next most commonly diagnosed. The head of the NHS, Simon Stevens, says that celebrity prostate cancer stories, like actor and comedian Stephen Fry’s, have helped raise awareness of the importance of having prostate cancer tests. Fry was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, which he says was “thankfully caught in the nick of time". He subsequently underwent prostate cancer surgery. Prostate cancer has a high survival rate, with Cancer Research UK statistics showing that more than 8 in 10 (84%) men diagnosed with the disease in England and Wales survive for 10 years or more. But the key to successfully treating prostate cancer is to detect it early and begin treatment as soon as possible, which is why it’s crucial for men to get tested on a regular basis. Cancer tsar Prof Peter Johnson said: “As people live longer, we're likely to see prostate cancer diagnosed more often, and with well-known figures like Rod Stewart, Stephen Fry and Bill Turnbull all talking openly about their diagnosis, more people will be aware of the risk.”
Artificial Intelligence is better at diagnosing breast cancer than human doctors. That’s the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Nature. For the research, an international team, including representatives from Google Health and Imperial College London, used anonymous X-ray images of 29,000 women to train a computer model so that it could spot breast cancer. When put to the test against six radiologists in reading mammograms, the algorithm came out on top. In fact, it was even proven to be as good as two doctors working together – the current system for assessing mammograms. And unlike the human experts who had access to the patients’ medical history, the AI had just the X-rays to go on. Specifically, the AI resulted in a reduction of 1.2% in false positives - when a mammogram is incorrectly diagnosed as abnormal – and a 2.7% reduction in false negatives, where a cancer is missed. While we’re not likely to see AI being used to diagnose or clear breast cancer patients any time soon, the technology could be used to assist radiologists and speed up diagnoses going forward. Speaking about the findings of the research, Dominic King, from Google Health, said: “Our team is really proud of these research findings, which suggest that we are on our way to developing a tool that can help clinicians spot breast cancer with greater accuracy.”
The hormone oestrogen fuels the growth of many different types of breast cancer. And to reduce a woman’s risk of developing the disease, a drug called anastrozole is often used to block oestrogen production in post-menopausal ladies. But now new research has revealed that anastrozole actually continues to work long after a woman has stopped taking it. According to the research by a team at the Queen Mary University of London, the findings of which are published in The Lancet, anastrozole continues to reduce a woman’s cancer risk by 49% even seven years after they stop taking it. This is in addition to it halving a woman’s risk during the five years they take the drug. In other words, the benefits of taking anastrozole continue after treatment has stopped. Trials are now focussing on whether anastrozole can be used to prevent the onslaught of breast cancer and not just used once a woman has developed the disease. Speaking about the findings of the research, Prof Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, said: “Up until now we only knew that tamoxifen has long-lasting benefits, so it's reassuring that this study looking specifically at anastrozole, which has fewer long-term side-effects, gives better protection to women years after they stopped taking the drug.” Anastrozole is currently available on the NHS in England, but only about 10% of women who should be taking the drug actually are.
While it’s been known for quite some time that increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays increases a person’s chances of developing skin cancer, no link has ever been found between precipitation and cancer risk, until now… A new study has revealed a potential link between living in cold, wet regions and increased cancer prevalence. The study, the results of which are published in the journal Environmental Engineering Science, is the first in the United States to check if a relationship exists between cancer rates, precipitation, and climate zone. To find out, the scientists collated data on breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer. They also used county-level data relating to cancer incidence, climate, and demographics. Having adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, income level, population age, and diversity, the scientists identified a strong association between increased precipitation and an increase in incidence of all cancers. While it is important to note that not all cancer types were included in the analysis, the findings are still significant and strongly suggest climate zone is a risk factor for many cancers.
An innovative new blood test can detect breast cancer up to 5 years before symptoms appear, researchers say. Developed by a team at the University of Nottingham, England, the new blood test identifies specific immune system ‘autoantibodies’, which are produced when tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) are present – like those produced by breast cancer cells. While the test is still only partially effective, it could eventually provide the best chance of detecting breast cancer early, enabling faster treatment and a greater chance of success. In the pilot study, the researchers took blood samples from 90 breast cancer patients when they were diagnosed with breast cancer. They then matched these samples with ones from 90 patients without breast cancer. Then, they used a technology called protein microarray to test the blood samples for the presence of autoantibodies and 40 TAAs associated with breast cancer, plus another 27 TAAs that were not known to be linked with the disease). The researchers used a technology called protein microarray to rapidly test the blood samples for autoantibodies against 40 TAAs associated with breast cancer, plus another 27 TAAs that were not known to be linked with the disease. Speaking last Sunday at the U.K. National Cancer Research Institute conference in Glasgow, Scotland, researcher Daniyah Alfattani, a Ph.D. student at the University of Nottingham's Centre of Excellence for Autoimmunity in Cancer (CEAC), said: “The results of our study showed that breast cancer does induce autoantibodies against panels of specific tumor-associated antigens. We were able to detect cancer with reasonable accuracy by identifying these autoantibodies in the blood.” At present, annual mammograms are the best way for doctors to detect the presence of breast cancer while in its early stages.
Male breast cancer is pretty rare. In fact, it accounts for just 1% of all breast cancer cases. That’s why very few studies have looked at what factors can lead to more positive outcomes for patients. To address this reality, researchers from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, have conducted one of the largest male breast cancer studies to date, the findings of which are published in the journal Cancer. The researchers found that 51% of male breast cancer diagnoses occurred between the ages of 50 and 69, and that the average age of diagnosis was 64. In fact, only 15% of the patients were diagnosed before the age of 50. Interestingly, the study authors found that black men, older patients, individuals with other ongoing health issue and those with higher tumor grade and stage had poorer prognoses. Furthermore, they found that patients who underwent a full mastectomy also had poorer outcomes. The prognosis was better for patients who lived in wealthier areas, whose tumors carried the progesterone receptor and men who received radiation therapy, chemotherapy or anti-estrogen therapy. While female breast cancer treatment has improved dramatically over the years, the study authors say it is unclear whether these advancements have been applied to the management of male breast cancer too. Two of the reasons for this are because male breast cancer usually occurs later in life and it commonly spreads to the person’s lymph nodes. The researchers hope their paper will shine some more light on this little known condition and lead to better outcomes for patients going forward.
A new tumour-agnostic drug has been approved for use in Europe. The revolutionary drug, experts say, has the potential to cure more cancer patients and reduce side-effects. Called larotrectinib, the new drug does not care where the cancer is growing in the body and instead looks for a specific genetic abnormality, which means it can be used to treat a wide range of tumours. Doctors in the UK have said the new drug is “a really exciting thing” and marks a move away from having ‘drugs that treat breast cancer’, ‘drugs that treat bowel cancer’ and ‘drugs that treat lung cancer’, to having drugs that target the genetic make-up of each patient’s tumour. However, the decision by European regulators does not mean that any cancer patient can take advantage of larotrectinib right away. Its approval for use right now only applies to patients with solid tumours that have been caused by a genetic abnormality known as an NTRK gene fusion. This rare abnormality happens when part of an individual’s DNA accidentally merges with another, leading to an alteration in the body’s blueprint that allows cancer to grow. Speaking about the drug development, Dr Julia Chisholm, a children's cancer consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, said: “It is a really exciting thing, as is it works across a range of cancers. It's not confined to one.”
Cutting down on meat is something many people say they are striving to do nowadays. Initiatives like Veganuary and Meat-free Mondays are helping to drive the trend and highlight the benefits of consuming less meat. But what’s the reality? Has meat consumption gone up or down over the past 50 years? Well, according to UN Food and Agriculture Organization data, meat production today is nearly five times higher than it was in the 1960s. That is down to two main factors: first, there are more people to feed today. Second, people around the world have become richer, which is associated with a rise in meat consumption. In a nutshell, there are more people in the world and more of those people can afford to eat meat. This is highlighted when you consider the countries that eat the most meat. For example, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina all have annual meat consumption levels of more than 100kg per person. In fact, most countries in Western Europe have annual meat consumption levels of between 80kg and 90kg per person, while individuals in lower-income nations eat considerably less meat. For example, annual meat consumption levels in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Nigerians are 7kg, 8kg and 9kg per person respectively. The bottom line is that meat is still a luxury in many countries today. So, despite the initiatives and the seeming shift to people consuming less meat, the reality is that meat consumption isn’t falling. One point that is worthy of note, however, is that meat eating habits are changing. For example, in the West, people are eating more poultry and less red meat (namely beef and pork). Have your meat eating habits changed in recent times? If they have, was it a conscious decision on your part? [Related reading: Major study finds eating processed meat raises risk of breast cancer]
We are often told that being overweight increases our risk of cancer. In fact, in the UK, obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking, according to Cancer Research UK. But why does being overweight increase a person’s likelihood of developing cancer? A group of scientists say they now know. The team from Trinity College Dublin say the reason overweight people are at greater risk of developing cancer is because a certain cell in the body that’s used to destroy cancer gets clogged with fat and stops working as a result. Publishing their findings in the Nature Immunology journal, the team said they were able to show that the body’s natural cancer-fighting cells get clogged by fat. They are hopeful that new drug treatments can be developed that will reverse the effects and restore the cancer-killing ability of said cells. Until then, though, the best advice remains to stay a healthy weight, stop smoking and cut down on alcohol. Speaking about the findings of the research, Dr Leo Carlin, from the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, said: “Although we know that obesity increases the risk of 13 different types of cancer, we still don't fully understand the mechanisms underlying the link. “This study reveals how fat molecules prevent immune cells from properly positioning their tumour-killing machinery, and provides new avenues to investigate treatments.” [Related reading: Major study finds eating processed meat raises risk of breast cancer]
Women who are larks, otherwise known as “morning people”, have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, a study has revealed. While the exact reason why remains unknown, the team of researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK say their findings are important and add to the growing understanding of how sleep affects our health. A person’s body clock (also known as their circadian rhythm) regulates when a person feels sleepy or awake over a 24-hour period. So-called morning people wake up earlier, peak earlier in the day and feel sleepy earlier in the evening. In contrast, “evening people” (night owls) get up later, peak later in the day and go to sleep later in the evening. Using a data analysis technique called Mendelian randomisation, the researchers looked at DNA snippets of more than 400,000 women. They discovered that women who were larks were less likely to have breast cancer than their night owl peers. Speaking about the findings of the research, Dr Rebecca Richmond, a researcher from the University of Bristol, told the BBC: “The findings are potentially very important because sleep is ubiquitous and easily modified. “Previous research has looked at the impact of shift work, but this is showing there may be a risk factor for all women.” Nevertheless, many questions still remain. For example, more research now needs to be conducted to see whether the body clock itself is directly impacting a person’s risk of developing cancer, or if factors like night owls breaking their natural circadian rhythm to accommodate jobs is having an impact. [Related reading: Major study finds eating processed meat raises risk of breast cancer]
A major study has found that eating processed meat, like bacon and sausages, may raise the risk of breast cancer in women. According to the review of studies involving more than one million women, eating higher levels of processed meat could result in a 9% greater risk of developing breast cancer. The research by a team from Harvard University’s T H Chan School of Public Health reviewed 15 related studies. It supports previous findings by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which suggest processed meats cause cancer. However, while the study has identified a potential link between processed meat and breast cancer, there is no clear evidence to show these types of foods are actually the cause. Furthermore, as outlined by the study authors in the International Journal of Cancer, their findings only relate to processed meat, not red meat. Bacon, sausages, salami, ham, hot dogs and corned beef are all examples of processed meat. And while it is not fully known why these foods are associated with a greater risk of cancer, it is thought that preservatives, like salt, may react with protein in the meat turning it carcinogenic. But rather than eliminating processed meat from your diet completely, the advice is simply to cut down. At present, current NHS guidelines recommend eating no more than 70g of red and processed meat a day. If you’re eating more than that on a regular basis, maybe it’s time to make some dietary changes.
One in five men and one in six women will develop cancer in their lifetime. That’s one of the stark predictions revealed in a new report from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is based in Lyon, France. This year alone, there will be 18.1 million new cases of cancer and 9.6 million people will die with the disease worldwide. This represents a significant increase from 14.1 million cases and 8.2 million deaths in 2012. The report also predicts that by the end of the century, cancer will be the number one killer globally and the single biggest barrier to people living long lives. Looking closely at data from 185 countries, the researchers focussed on 36 different types of cancer. Lung cancer, colorectal (bowel) cancer and female breast cancer are thought to be responsible for a third of all cancer cases worldwide. Researchers have attributed the rise to the world’s growing and ageing population. That’s because more people equals more cancer, and as people get older their cancer risks grow. Moreover, as countries become wealthier, more of the people living in them develop lifestyle-related cancers. Speaking about the report, Dr. Christopher Wild, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, said: “These new figures highlight that much remains to be done to address the alarming rise in the cancer burden globally and that prevention has a key role to play.” “Efficient prevention and early detection policies must be implemented urgently to complement treatments in order to control this devastating disease across the world.”
In the UK, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. It’s also overtaken breast cancer in recent years to become the third most common type of cancer. That’s why any news when it comes to potential prostate cancer breakthroughs is always exciting. Immunotherapy has been revolutionising the treatment of cancer and now a team from the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London have conducted a trial, the results of which they say are "spectacular" and a "big deal". The trial focussed on drugs that boost a patient’s immune system, saving the lives of some men with terminal prostate cancer. Immunotherapy works by helping a person’s immune system recognise and subsequently attack cancer cells. One of the study participants, Michael English, 72, was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone-based therapies did not kill his cancer, however. Then, two years ago, he started taking the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab. Today, he is effectively cancer free, with scans no longer showing any signs of the tumour. However, it’s an approach that will not, unfortunately, help all men. In fact, only between 10% and 15% of patients had any response to the therapy at all. This is not something that’s unusual for immunotherapy. Nell Barrie, from Cancer Research UK, said: "The next step will be to find out how to tell which men will benefit from taking this drug. "This is important as although immunotherapy is exciting, it can have severe side effects".
Around 70% of women with the most common type of breast cancer could be spared chemotherapy, a new study has found. Following trials of a genetic test that analyses the danger of a tumour, it was discovered that thousands of women could avoid chemo using under a new “precision medicine” approach. The genetic test, Oncotype Dx, gives women a score between 0 and 100. Currently, women who get a low score are advised they do not need chemo. Those with a high score are told they definitely do. However, most women get a mid-range score and generally have chemotherapy. But the new study has revealed that these women have the same survival rates with or without chemo. This was particularly the case for women aged over 50. The nine-year-survival-rate was 93.9% without chemotherapy and 93.8% with chemotherapy. Cancer doctors said the findings would change practice in UK clinics on Monday, while charities said the news, affecting 3,000 UK women a year, was "wonderful". Speaking about the findings of the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Rachel Rawson, from the charity Breast Cancer Care, said: "Every day, women with certain types of breast cancer face the terrible dilemma of whether or not to have the treatment, without hard facts about the benefit for them. "This life-changing breakthrough is absolutely wonderful news as it could liberate thousands of women from the agony of chemotherapy."
You should never ignore back pain because it could be a sign of pancreatic cancer. That’s the frank warning from charity Pancreatic Cancer UK. While pancreatic cancer often doesn’t show any symptoms in its early stages, some signs may begin to show as the disease progresses. One of the earliest signs of the disease is abdominal and/or back pain. The pain usually starts as a general feeling of discomfort in the stomach area. This then spreads to a person’s back and while it may come and go at first, it often becomes constant over time. “It can be worse when lying down, and sitting forward can sometimes make it feel better. It may be worse after eating. The tummy area may also feel tender,” said the charity. Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer include indigestion and unexplained weight loss. People with pancreatic cancer also develop jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) and may experience difficulty swallowing, vomiting and a change in bowel habits. Anyone experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above should see their doctor without delay. While the exact cause of pancreatic cancer still isn’t known, the disease does appear to mainly affect people over 75 years old. Experts say that people can lower their risk of developing it by reducing their consumption of alcohol and red meat. [Related reading: Prostate cancer deaths outnumber those from breast cancer for first time in UK]
The food you eat could influence the growth rate and spread of cancer, a new study has found. According to scientists at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, breast tumours in mice struggled to grow without the dietary nutrient asparagine, which is found in asparagus, poultry, seafood and many other foods. When mice with an aggressive form of breast cancer were placed on a low-asparagine diet or given drugs to block the amino acid, their tumours struggled to spread. Scientists hope to be able to take advantage of cancer’s so-called culinary addictions in the future and develop new treatments based on certain foods. Prof Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, said: "Interestingly, the drug L-asparaginase is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which is dependent on asparagine. "It's possible that in future, this drug could be repurposed to help treat breast cancer patients." But before you ban asparagus from your home, be aware that more research is needed, including trials in humans. Also, because asparagine is present in so many foods, it is almost impossible to avoid. Baroness Delyth Morgan, the chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said people should not drastically alter their diets as a result of this research. "We don't recommend patients totally exclude any specific food group from their diet without speaking to their doctors,” she said.
New figures show that for the first time ever the number of men dying from prostate cancer in the UK has overtaken female deaths from breast cancer. While lung and bowel cancer remain the top cancer killers, prostate cancer is now third, according to figures released by Prostate Cancer UK. In 2015, 11,819 men died from prostate cancer, compared to 11,442 women from breast cancer – a reality that Prostate Cancer UK says is due to advances in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The charity says that the UK’s aging population is one of the reasons why more men are developing and dying from prostate cancer. Angela Culhane, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said prostate cancer survival rates could be increased by developing better diagnostic tests and using them to form a nationwide screening programme. At present, there is no single, reliable test for prostate cancer. Also, men with the disease can live for decades without showing any symptoms. Those most at risk are men with male relatives who have had the disease, black men and men aged over 50. Ms Culhane said: “It's incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years. “The good news is that many of these developments could be applied to prostate cancer and we're confident that with the right funding, we can dramatically reduce deaths within the next decade.” You can find out more about prostate cancer treatment with us here at France Surgery by visiting the oncology section of our website and selecting the prostate cancer link.
Overweight or obese women may not detect cancerous breast lumps until they are much larger and more difficult to treat, a Swedish study has found. Researchers from the Karolinksa Institute studied more than 2,000 women who developed breast cancer between 2001 and 2008, all of who had been receiving mammograms every 18 months to two years, as is standard in Sweden. They found that women with higher body mass indexes (BMIs) were more likely to have a larger tumour when detected than women who were slimmer. Lead author of the study, Fredrik Strand, said this was either because the tumours were harder to detect because overweight women have larger breasts or because their tumours grew faster. Women who are overweight are already at greater risk of developing breast cancer and, unfortunately, larger tumours carry a worse prognosis. Therefore, these women may need more frequent mammograms to help spot tumours early, say the researchers. Women who are judged to be at greater risk of developing breast cancer – such as those with a family history – are already offered more frequent screening. Speaking about the findings of the study, Strand said: “Our study suggests that when a clinician presents the pros and cons of breast cancer screening to the patient, having high BMI should be an important 'pro' argument”.
A new type of breast cancer treatment could help up to 10,000 women in the UK, according to scientists. Historically, biological therapies have been used to help fight rare, inherited genetic errors which can lead to cancer, such as the BRCA one actress Angelina Jolie carries. However, a new study has found that such therapies could also help women diagnosed with breast cancer who do not have these genetic errors. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute study suggests that such therapies could be effective in one in five breast cancers (20%). For comparison, the number of women who develop cancer and have faulty BRCA genes is 1 to 5%. For the study, the researchers analysed the genetic make-up of breast cancer in 560 different patients. They found that a significant proportion had "mutational signatures" that were very similar to faulty BRCA. Therefore, given the close similarities, these cancers could also potentially be treated with biological therapies. Clinical trials are now being called for to confirm the researchers' theory. Baroness Delyth Morgan, from Breast Cancer Now, said the initial results were "a revelation". "We hope it could now lead to a watershed moment for the use of mutational signatures in treating the disease," she said. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, avoiding cigarettes, limiting alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight can all help to reduce a woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
It's been thought for some time now that a mother's weight and diet during pregnancy has the potential to affect the breast cancer risk of her female offspring. But now new research suggests that obese father's also risk raising their children's chances of breast cancer, due to the way obesity alters the gene expression of sperm. Experts have long agreed that a woman's breast cancer risk is influenced by changes in genes, and approximately 5-10 percent of these gene changes are inherited. According to Sonia de Assis, Ph.D., from the Department of Oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Washington, D.C., who led the investigative team, said few studies have previously investigated the link between a father's weight and an offspring's breast cancer risk in later life. Presenting their findings in the journal Scientific Reports, de Assis and her colleagues outlined how they had studied how both normal weight male mice and obese male mice influence the breast tissue off their offspring. They found that female pups sired by obese males had delayed breast tissue development, and were more likely to develop breast cancer as a result. They revealed that the obese males' sperm had an altered microRNA (miRNA) signature, which was subsequently found in the breast tissue of their female offspring. The researchers now plan to conduct more studies to see if the same is true in humans.
A team of international scientists has managed to produce a near-perfect picture of the genetic events that precede and cause breast cancer in women. The study, which was published in the journal Nature, has been described by the study leader as a "milestone", which could potentially lead the way for new treatments and therapies to be developed to combat the disease. Cancer Research UK said that the findings of the study were an important stepping stone for developing new drugs for the treatment of breast cancer. In what has so far been the largest study of its kind - in which researchers analysed all 3 billion letters of people's genetic code, in 560 breast cancers - all of the errors which result in otherwise healthy breast tissue turning rogue were successfully unpicked. Prof Sir Mike Stratton, director of the Sanger Institute in Cambridge (which led the study), said it was a "milestone" in cancer research. He added the study's findings would allow universities, biotech and pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs that target the mutated genes and their proteins that cause breast cancer. "There are now many drugs that have been developed over the last 15 years against such targets which we know work," he said. One of the downsides of the study is that while the scientists have identified the mutations that cause breast cancer, the origins of many are still very much unknown. Nevertheless, many experts believe the study is a step closer to the development of personalised health care for breast cancer.
Every year, tens of thousands of breast cancer cases diagnosed in the US and Europe are linked to alcohol consumption. Moreover, alcohol has also frequently been linked to an increased risk of cancer recurrence in women with early-stage breast cancer. But now a new study has found that a direct link exists between alcohol, estrogen and a cancer-causing gene. Researchers from the University of Houston in Texas, led by cancer biologist Chin-Yo Lin, say that despite breast cancer being one of the most common causes of cancer deaths for women and alcohol consumption already identified as a modifiable risk factor, 50% of women with the disease still drink some alcoholic beverages. Lin's team discovered that alcohol promotes the expression of a cancer-causing gene called BRAF. Furthermore, it mimic and enhances the effects of estrogen, which increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Finally, the team also found that alcohol weakened the ability of cancer drug tamoxifen to suppress cancer cell growth. "Alcohol consumption is prevalent among women in the US and is a risk factor for breast cancer. Our research shows alcohol enhances the actions of estrogen in driving the growth of breast cancer cells and diminishes the effects of the cancer drug tamoxifen on blocking estrogen by increasing the levels of a cancer-causing gene called BRAF," said Lin. The team's findings were published in the journal PLOS One.
A new breast cancer combination drug treatment, which eradicated tumours in just 11 days, has been hailed as "staggering" by doctors, after it was recently reported at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam. Furthermore, experts say that the new two-pronged technique could mean that thousands of women do not need to undergo gruelling chemotherapy going forward. The drugs were tested on 257 women across 23 hospitals in the UK and target a specific weakness found in one-in-10 breast cancers. And despite the team behind the study not expecting such striking results, many experts are lauding the results as a potential stepping stone towards the development of a tailored cure for cancer. Specifically, the research team wanted to investigate how drugs could affect a tumour from the time it was discovered to the operation to remove it. In some cases (approximately 11%), when they went to operate, there was no sign at all that any tumour had even existed. In others, the tumours were found to have significantly shrunk. The drugs used were Tyverb and Herceptin, which both target a protein - known as HER2 - that fuels breast tumour growth in some women. Baroness Delyth Morgan, the chief executive of Breast Cancer Now, the UK's largest breast cancer charity, said: "We hope this particularly impressive combination trial will serve as a stepping stone to an era of more personalised treatment for HER2 positive breast cancer."
A low dose of aspirin on a daily basis can halt the growth of breast cancer tumours and even prevent deadly relapses, according to a new study. Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid as it’s otherwise known, produces conditions in the human body which inhibit the reproduction of cancer stem cells. In the past, research has shown that aspirin can be used to effectively stop the spread of prostate, gastrointestinal and colon cancer, as well as other types. Dr Sushanta Banerjee, research director of the Cancer Research Unit at Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Centre, said: "In cancer, when you treat the patient, initially the tumour will hopefully shrink. The problem comes five to 10 years down the road when the disease relapses." He added: “These cells have already survived chemotherapy or other cancer treatment and they go dormant until conditions in the body are more favourable for them to again reproduce. “When they reappear they can be very aggressive, nasty tumours.” The research team exposed incubated breast cancer cells to differing levels of acetylsalicylic acid and recorded the results. They found that exposure to aspirin dramatically increased the rate of cell death. Furthermore, the cells that didn’t die were left in a state which meant they were unable to grow. The full findings of the research will be published in next month’s issue of Laboratory Investigation. Photo credit: Irish Examiner
According to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, women should have a mammogram every two years once they reach the age of 50 and, even though routing screening for women in the 40s doesn’t hurt, it brings little benefits and should be an entirely personal choice. The task force also said that there still isn’t enough evidence to say whether more modern 3D mammograms are the best option for routine screening, or if extra testing is required for women with denser breasts. However, the advice has left some individuals confused as the American Cancer Society has long recommended yearly mammograms for women once they enter their 40s. Even though medical insurance often covers the cost of a mammogram, the task force still advises women to consult with their doctors on a one-to-one basis to discuss the pros and cons of screening. Task force chairman Dr. Michael LeFevre of the University of Missouri said: “Screening is most beneficial for women ages 50 to 74.” The report also found that 576 more false alarms were recorded when women started having biennial mammograms in their 40s instead of their 50s. This causes unnecessary stress, unneeded biopsies and over-diagnosis. While the report from the government advisory panel has only just been released, it is an open draft available for public comment until May 18. Photo credit: American Cancer Society
If you’re a woman over the age of 40 you should undergo routine health check-ups, even if you aren’t exhibiting any symptoms or feeling unwell. Some of these tests will probably be new to you but they are ultimately important. The earlier that cancers and other conditions are detected, the greater chance of a full recovery. Therefore, the following screening tests for women should be carried out in addition to the ones outlined in our previous blog post. Cervical Cancer Screening Even though cervical cancer screening tests are regular occurrences for women of all ages, it is important that you continue them as you get older. During screening, a doctor or nurse will use a speculum to hold your vagina open and gently collect some cells from your cervix using a small brush. These cells are subsequently tested in a laboratory and if your sample is normal, you will be invited for another test every three years until you reach the age of 49, after which time the screening schedule is extended to every five years until you reach the age of 64. Breast Cancer Screening Depending on your medical history and country of residence, you will usually be invited for a mammogram between your 50th and 53rd birthday. However, you should get into the habit of regularly checking your breasts and seeking medical advice if you detect anything unusual. Breast cancer screening is designed to pick up any signs of breast cancer at an early stage, making any subsequent treatment more likely to be effective. During your screening you’ll be asked to undress to the waist and your breasts will be X-rayed two times. Bone Test Osteoporosis affects both men and women but it is more common in women over the age of 50. The primary symptom of the disease is a tendency for bones to fracture easily. A DEXA bone scan will help determine if you have Osteoporosis or are at risk of developing it in the future. The scan itself is a special type of X-ray that measures your bone mineral density – hence why it is also known as a bone density scan – and is quick and painless.
Clinique Saint-Jean de Dieu, Paris It is animated by the same spirit of innovation and humanity as St. Jean de Dieu, creator of the modern hospital, recognized precursor for hygiene and modern care. Magallon brother Paul founded the clinic in 1843. Today the clinic is a category A listed clinic, with: - 83 hospital beds across four medical ward - 7 posts outpatient chemotherapy, and medical oncology consultation - 7 operating rooms - 12 posts post-interventional monitoring - 1 central sterilization unit - consultation services - 1 Department of Radiology - mammography referenced for breast cancer' screening in Île-de-France And medical professionals committed to the daily well-being of patients.
Clinique Saint-Michel, Toulon La Clinique Saint Michel in Toulon is a medical-surgical clinic. It has a medical assisted procreation center with an in vitro fertilization laboratory (IVF). It provides: an orthopedic surgery service a monitoring unit a visceral, vascular and urology service a Gynecology service an operating theatre with 9 operating rooms a service of general radiology a mammography unit (screening for breast cancer) various medical practices a P.M.A. Centre a center of obesity treatment a center of treatment of varicose veins MEDICAL SPECIALTIES - GYNAECOLOGY CLINIC: Center of medically assisted procreation IVF Laboratory (in vitro fertilisation) Gynaecological surgery Breast surgery SURGICAL CLINIC General Surgery Visceral and vascular surgery Angiology Urology (http://www.uro83.fr/) Orthopaedic Trauma Stomatology Gastroenterology Respiratory Anaesthesia consultations Radiology center Cardiology stress test ENT Capacity: 72 beds