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May 31, 2006, 9:08 PM CT

Energy Balancing Therapy For Breast Cancer Patients?

Energy Balancing Therapy For Breast Cancer Patients?
Catherine Palter recalled being skeptical as she began her first session of a complementary treatment, known as Healing Touch, to try to ease the nausea, fatigue and feelings of fear and worry that accompanied her breast cancer therapy. "I didn't expect to feel anything," said Palter, a resident of San Mateo and a Stanford University environmental planner, who was in for a surprise. "I almost immediately felt energy flowing through my body. It was like magic".

Magic, medicine or placebo effect?

That's the issue that Kathy Turner, RN, a nurse practitioner in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, wants to investigate. Last year she established Healing Partners, a program that offers the treatment through Women's Health @ Stanford. She said it is modeled on programs in Hawaii and Colorado and described it as involving a noninvasive form of energy-balancing work that aims to promote deep relaxation. So far Healing Partners has paired more than 30 breast cancer patients, including Palter, with volunteer providers who have been trained in the technique.

Healing Touch is based on the Eastern medicine concept that a person's body is surrounded by a field of energy, and unblocking the body's energy flow can help or prevent illness. During a session, the clothed patient lies on a massage table while the practitioner assesses the patient's energy field by placing her hands a few inches above the body. She then lightly touches or moves her hands above the blocked areas, in an effort to increase energy flow.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 30, 2006, 11:37 PM CT

MR Spectroscopy Reduces Need For Breast Biopsy

MR Spectroscopy Reduces Need For Breast Biopsy
In a study featured in the recent issue of Radiology, scientists found that imaging suspicious breast lesions with magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy reduced the need for biopsy by 58 percent. The investigators, from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, discovered that with the addition of MR spectroscopy to their breast MR imaging (MRI) protocol, 23 of 40 suspicious lesions could have been spared biopsy, and none of the resultant cancers would have been missed.

"All cancers in this study were identified with MR spectroscopy. There were no false-negative results," said Lia Bartella, M.D., lead investigator and assistant professor in the Department of Breast Imaging at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. "With the addition of MR spectroscopy to our breast MRI exam, we found that the number of biopsies recommended on the basis of MRI findings decreased significantly. These results should encourage more women to take this potentially life-saving test."

MRI is playing an increasingly important role in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer. One drawback of the technology, however, has been a considerable number of breast biopsy procedures recommended on the basis of imaging findings, which turn out to be benign. With MR spectroscopy, the radiologist is able to see the chemical make-up of a tumor, so in most cases, he or she can tell without biopsy whether or not the lesion is malignant.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 30, 2006, 6:39 AM CT

Shorter Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer

Shorter Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer
Currently radiation therapy extending to 5 weeks or more is often given to breast cancer patients after lumpectomy. This prolonged course of radiation therapy often causes hardship for many breast cancer patients. Over the years researchers have been trying various alternative methods of delivery of radiation, aimed at cutting the duration of radiation therapy of breast cancer.

In a recently published article a team of researchers from U.K. is showing that fewer but larger doses of radiotherapy may be a safe and effective way to treat breast cancer. These UK researchers have found that giving 13 larger doses was as effective for breast cancer prevention compared to the regular way of treating with 25 small doses extending over a period of 5 weeks. This new research finding could lead to more convenient way of radiation therapy of breast cancer for thousands of breast cancer patients.

This study, which spanned for a period of 10 years was done by researches from Cancer Research UK and involved 1,410 women. These research findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Lancet Oncology.

The research was a collaboration between the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the Gloucestershire Oncology Centre, The Institute of Cancer Research and the University of Wisconsin. ........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 26, 2006, 7:03 AM CT

Stroke Risk From Raloxifene

Stroke Risk From Raloxifene
Couple of weeks ago I wrote about Raloxifene (a drug usually used in the prevention of osteoporosis), and discussed a study, which showed significant reduction of breast cancer risk associated with this drug. This drug was hailed as a breakthrough for breast cancer prevention. National Cancer Institute has recently reported that one of the largest breast cancer studies ever done showed that the osteoporosis drug Raloxifene (Evista) is as effective as tamoxifen in the prevention of breast cancer.

Now there are some setbacks uncovering for Raloxifene. But now, Eli Lilly, who makes Raloxifene, says it has uncovered an increased risk of deaths from stroke in users of Raloxifene. This unexpected finding was seen in the course of a study looking for effectiveness of Raloxifene in reducing the risk of heart disease and breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

In this study involving about 10,000 women, scientists found that the incidence of stroke mortality was 1.5 per 1,000 women per year taking a placebo, compared to 2.2 per 1,000 per year for raloxifene according to a warning sent by the company to physicians. However incidence of stroke, myocardial infarction, cardiovascular mortality and overall mortality were comparable between for Raloxifene and placebo which was used in the above said trial.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink


May 25, 2006, 6:46 AM CT

Five Women, Five Stories, Five Breast Cancer Survivors.

Five Women, Five Stories, Five Breast Cancer Survivors.
A year and a half ago, these women gathered for the first time for a writing and performance workshop. Having been through the world of oncology, they arrived needing to express their feelings of fear and powerlessness - as they would say, to Get It Off Our Chests. They joined the workshop to reclaim their power and use their voice and words to help other women who would follow them through the world of cancer. They knew they had a powerful message to share - there is life after cancer; there is hope; you are not alone.

Facilitated by a theatre director (me, Leah Carey) and a writing coach (novelist Jodi Picoult), the group spent three months writing, sharing their stories with each other, and learning new skills that would help them share their stories onstage. I developed a script from their writing, and three nights of performances were planned for their family, friends, and medical teams. What happened next took us all by surprise.

The response to our show, by both media and audiences, was astounding. Word spread. We were invited to perform in three states. The women jumped at the chance to take their message of hope and healing on the road (on weekends only, since all of the women have jobs and families). At each stop, audience members urged the group to record the show so it could be seen by a wider audience. ........

Posted by: Leah Carey      Permalink


May 24, 2006, 6:58 AM CT

Women With High Risk Should Have MRI of the Breast

Women With High Risk Should Have MRI of the Breast
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast is a much more sensitive test for detecting breast tumors when compared to mammogram. A recent study has observed that women who have genetic mutation and high risk of developing breast cancer should receive MRI of the breast rather than mammogram as the screening test for breast cancer.

Women who inherit BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations have about 60 to 80 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the best screening test for those women who have BRCA mutation. MRI is expensive and costs 10 times more than mammography but is capable of detecting small tumors, which may be missed by mammogram giving a chance to treat such tumors earlier. However the high sensitivity of MRI causes significant false positive results, by showing a number of non-malignant breast abnormalities.

Scientists used computer models that set a threshold of $100,000 spent for each year of life gained and demonstrated that use of MRI in high-risk women is cost effective for young women (35 to 54 years) who carry BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink


May 18, 2006, 7:01 AM CT

Tailored Chemotherapy For Her2 Positive Patients

Tailored Chemotherapy For Her2 Positive Patients
Scientists from Canada have reported that chemotherapy may be most effective when choices of drugs are tailored to the specific gene mutation or gene amplification. They report that when treating Her2 positive breast cancer, patients who have HER2 gene amplification respond better to chemotherapy regimen containing anthracyclin group of drugs.

This study that is reported in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that breast cancer patients who have HER2 gene amplification are best treated with a combination of cyclophosphamide, epirubicin and fluorouracil (CEF) rather than with a combination of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluorouracil (CMF). The study showed that use of CEF resulted in reduction of 10-year risk of death by about 48 percent in women who have HER2 gene amplification compared to therapy with CMF.

This study actually builds up on a prior study, which showed that CEF outperformed CMF in women with node-positive breast cancer. With these results the scientists went back to that study and reinvestigated the outcome of women with HER2 gene amplification.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink


May 17, 2006, 0:11 AM CT

Cholesterol-lowering Drugs Do Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Cholesterol-lowering Drugs Do Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk
A report being reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women who took statins--the widely used cholesterol lowering drugs--do not face an increased breast cancer risk as had been suggested by some prior studies. In fact, the study, which was led by a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), found that women who took hydrophobic statins, named for their inability to dissolve readily in water, had an almost one-fifth lower incidence of invasive breast cancer compared to women who did not take statins.

"At minimum, our findings suggest that women can now be reassured that they are not increasing their risk of developing breast cancer by taking these drugs," said senior author Jane Cauley, Dr.P.H., professor and vice chair for research, department of epidemiology, GSPH. "Eventhough we found that women who took hydrophobic statins actually lowered their breast cancer risk, we believe this finding needs to be confirmed in additional studies."

Dr. Cauley and her co-workers, representing several other research institutions, obtained their findings by analyzing breast cancer incidence over an almost seven-year period among more than 156,000 women enrolled in the long-running Women's Health Initiative study. Of this group of post-menopausal women, 11,710 were statin users; with about 30 percent taking a hydrophilic, or water soluble, statin, and the remaining 70 percent taking a hydrophobic statin.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 15, 2006, 6:57 AM CT

Shifting Trends For Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

Shifting Trends For Breast Cancer Chemotherapy
For years scientists and physicians were adding more and more chemotherapy for the therapy of breast cancer. They were trying different combinations, and different time interval between therapys. They have tried very high dose chemotherapy used for bone marrow transplant and shorter intervals between chemotherapy sessions.

After all these aggressive chemotherapy based outlooks for the therapy of breast cancer, scientists are not having a second thought for the use of chemotherapy in breast cancer. There is an increasing trend among scientists and physicians to skip chemotherapy altogether and treat women with breast cancer using hormonal treatment.

At this time this trend is just appearing, and is gaining popularity. This approach still lack solid scientific proof based on randomized clinical trials, so scientists are in the process of conducting clinical trials to prove the point. Studies with this theme are beginning to emerge.

At this time the general guidelines for therapy of breast cancer calls for postoperative adjuvant therapy of breast cancer with chemotherapy in almost all patients. Generally all women who have breast cancer tumors measuring more than 1 centimeter receives adjuvant chemotherapy.

In the new approach the decision for chemotherapy would be based mainly on hormonal status of the tumor, rather than tumor size. This would mean that a vast majority of women who have hormone receptor negative tumor would not be receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. It is not clear how the lymph node involvement would fit in to this algorithm of therapy, but is possible that women who have smaller number of lymph node involvement may also be able to skip chemotherapy in favor of hormonal treatment. The final decisions regarding these issues could only be clarified by large clinical trials.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink


May 10, 2006, 7:16 AM CT

Looking For A Pill To Prevent Breast Cancer

Looking For A Pill To Prevent Breast Cancer
Imagine someone somewhere inventing a pill that would prevent breast cancer. I am sure that all women in the world would line up for that pill. He or she who invents the pill could become an instant multimillionaire.

Sorry to disappoint you, it's not there yet. But in 1998 scientists thought they had the next best thing when a study found that tamoxifen could significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer by about 50 percent in women who have high risk of developing breast cancer.

Tamoxifen had its own problems. Among other thing tamoxifen causes hot flashes, increases the risk of blood clot in the legs and lung. Tamoxifen also increases the risk of developing uterine cancer and may increase the risk of developing stroke. Tamoxifen never became very popular among women for breast cancer prevention, and was not used except in women who have very high risk of developing breast cancer like BRCA carriers.

Breast cancer prevention was again in the center of breast cancer news last month, when the results of a new study showing efficacy of raloxifene in breast cancer were published. The National Cancer Institute held a series of news conferences and announced that the drug raloxifene was as good as tamoxifen in breast cancer prevention with lesser side effects.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink



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Breast cancer
Every year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Breast cancer ranks second as the leading cause of cancer deaths in American women. Until recently breast cancer topped the list of leading causes of cancer deaths in women, but lately lung cancer has claimed the top position. If skin cancer is excluded, breast cancer is the commonest cancer among American women.

Medicineworld.org: Archives of breast-cancer-blog

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