Best of Breast: news for week ending 19 September 2014

Medical developments and research from the world of breast cancer and cancer, for the week ending 19 September 2014.


Ionising Radiation – Dose Ranges.  Image credit:

After a year in which I’d had four Pet-CTs and was starting to glow in the dark, I asked my surgeon for an MRI instead of a Pet-CT and was told that he wasn’t familiar with this method of imaging for breast cancer.  This week, a study shows that the combination of Pet plus MRI is more effective than Pet plus CT, which is vindication, to some extent.  MRIs are also more effective than mammograms in diagnosing breast cancer, but of course, they are also more expensive, so for the time being, mammograms are going to rule.

The second item is about spontaneous remissions.  According to wikipedia, a spontaneous remission

“also called spontaneous healing or spontaneous regression, is an unexpected improvement or cure from a disease that appears to be progressing in its severity. These terms are commonly used for unexpected transient or final improvements in cancer.”

I’ve only met three people who had spontaneous remissions.  One is Anita Moorjani, another was a woman with inoperable breast cancer who used QiGong to heal her cancer [she still had her tumour, but it was indolent and she’s still hale and hearty 20 years on, at the age of 80!], and a third was a woman with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who used QiGong, nutrition and heavy supplementation and enemas. Kelly A. Turner has written a book about spontaneous remissions.  She is not the first person to write about spontaneous remissions, but what’s handy about her book is how she categorises common lifestyle choices in people who experienced spontaneous remissions.


image credit:

1.  PET/MRI improved detection of metastases in breast cancer

  • Whole-body PET/MRI improved the detection of metastases and reduced the occurrence of false positives compared with PET/CT imaging.
  • Scientists compared PET/CT with the new hybrid technology PET/MRI, which delivers less radiation.
  • When patients underwent PET/MRI imaging, researchers identified two bone, three liver, two lymph node and five brain metastases in 10 patients that were not detected by PET/CT. These included one liver and two brain metastases that were previously unknown.
  • “Our preliminary data suggest that PET/MRI outperformed PET/CT in detecting metastases in the liver, brain, lymph node and possibly bone.  Prospective studies of PET/MRI are warranted to determine whether early detection of metastases, including occult brain metastases in HER-2–positive patients, impacts survival.”

For more information:  American Society of Oncology 2014 Breast Cancer Symposium, Abstract 15, Detection of metastases in breast cancer: Is whole body PET/MR better than PET/CT?


2.  Spontaneous cancer remission rare, but worth study


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