5 Ways Science and Modern Medicine Are Fighting Back Against Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Hope

Unfortunately, we all have seen and felt the horrible effects of breast cancer. Whether you’ve personally struggled with the disease or witnessed the battle that others have faced, it can often feel hopeless. However, as the years have passed, scientists and researchers continue to prioritize research and technology developments, laboratory tests, treatments, and medicines to help women currently fighting breast cancer, as well as, those presenting a high risk for developing the disease.

Ongoing research discoveries in combination with new advancements continue to be implemented at a brisk pace, offering encouragement and hope to all, especially the 33 million breast cancer survivors living within the U.S.

New Developments in Breast Cancer Treatment and Technology

  • CTS5 online calculator – This online assessment tool predicts risk of Hormone Receptor Positive (HRP) breast cancer returning elsewhere in the body. HRP breast cancers reappear five years or more from initial diagnosis in 50-percent of recurring HRP cases.   
  • Targeted therapies – Doctors are fine-tuning treatments for women at high risk for the disease and those diagnosed:

The identification of tumors’ genetic changes and inherited factors driving tumor development now enable doctors to use PARP inhibitors to treat BRCA-positive breast cancers. Studies show PARP inhibitorshave reduced the chance of progression of advanced BRCA-related breast cancer by 42-percent and delayed disease progression by 2.8 months. These encouraging results are pushingfurther exploration of PARP inhibitor usage beyond BRCA-related breast cancer treatment, especially for treating Triple Negative breast cancer. 

Studies on aromatase inhibitors (exemestane and anastrozole) are very effective in breast cancer prevention. Clinical trials are underway to determine non-hormonal drugs’ effectiveness for reducing breast cancer, including those currently used to treat osteoporosis, bone matastases, COX-2 inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and cholesterol-lowering statins. 

  • Gene mutations identified increase breast cancer risk – Studies have discovered additional gene mutations that inhibit DNA repair and/or allow tumor growth to continue: PALB2, ATM, CHEK2, and MSH6.  Findings concluded women with a PALB2 mutation had a breast cancer risk 5.5 times higher than average. Men with a PALB2 mutation had a breast cancer risk 22.7 times higher than average.
  • Molecular breast imaging (scintimammography) – This developing technology uses a mildly radioactive tracer injected into the vein. The tracer attaches to breast cancer cells. A special camera locates tagged breast cancer cells. The technology is being honed to aid doctors finding suspicious areas via traditional mammography and as a specialized screening tool for young women with dense breast tissue.    
  • New laboratory tests – Researchers are developing sensitive lab tests using information about Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) which break away from tumors and enter the blood in many breast cancer patients. The test focuses on determining risk of disease metastasis. Some studies are looking at the extraction and analysis of CTCs to further develop new therapy treatments.   

For additional information on breast cancer, visit https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org or https://www.breastcancer.org 

Talk to your Capital Women’s Care team to discuss your breast cancer risk and a plan for monitoring breast health.

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