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.

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Ionising Radiation – Dose Ranges.  Image credit: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/16/going-bananas-over-radiation/

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.

PET_MRI

image credit: hjd.med.nyu.edu

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

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 29 August 2014

The latest news from the world of Breast Cancer and Cancer, aggregated from Google Alerts, for the week ending 29 August 2014.

Last week’s Best of Breast (week ending 22 August 2014) highlighted the issue of screening, or over-screening of breast cancer, and the dangers of high levels of cumulative radiotherapy as a result of Pet-CTs.  According to an article this week, European hospitals are using a variety of scanning methods, including breast MRIs.  That’s news to me.  About a month back, when I asked my surgeon for an MRI instead of a Pet-CT [as I’d had 4 in the past year] he expressed ignorance of this method of screening for breast cancer.  Back to the drawing board … [Update 24 Sept 2014 – miracle of miracles – in a recent consultation, I asked if a Pet-CT should be done at this stage, and was told … let’s see about an MRI!!???  So if you’re reading this, print off the chart about radiation levels and unless you need a Pet CT for staging, please ask for an MRI instead]

CureForCancerGenieCartoon

Funny how no-one ever asks for the Cure for Cancer …

This week’s can of worms is the debate on whether or not cancer is curable or not.  A scientist who has done research into a primitive life form claims that cancer has been around since the dawn of time, and because of that, it is designed by evolution to survive, rather like the cellular version of a cockroach.

Another scientist echoes this view, and believes that we should stop trying to cure cancer, instead treating it as a chronic disease, or better still, trying to prevent it, or even try to slow down its onset using drugs like aspirin.

[Update 24 September.  Please check out these links on aspirin which were kindly sent to me by a reader:

Aspirin pharmacokinetics – sepia.unil.ch/pharmacology/index.php?id=83
Useful “reverse guide” of food high in Salicylate – salicylatesensitivity.com/about/food-guide/]

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 4 October 2013

A round-up of the latest medical developments in breast cancer from Google Alerts, for the week ending 4 October 2013.

[Google Alerts doesn’t always have the most up-to-date research developments, and is heavy on the first-person stories, Angelina Jolie, fund-raising and charity events, so if I’ve missed something out, my apologies. You are always welcome to post any new developments that I’ve missed out in the comments box and I’ll include them in the compilation, with grateful thanks and an acknowledgement.]

photo credit:  technorati.com

photo credit: technorati.com

1.  Teenage girls who eat peanut butter twice a week ‘reduce their risk of breast cancer by 39%’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2438566/Teenage-girls-eat-peanut-butter-twice-week-reduce-risk-breast-cancer-39.html#ixzz2gwnjDph3

  • Nine to 15-year-olds who eat peanut butter twice a week are much less likely to develop benign breast disease by the age of 30
  • Some benign breast diseases increase risk of breast cancer later in life
  • The findings also suggest beans, lentils, soybeans and corn also help prevent benign breast disease

Why peanut butter, I asked myself? I’d been told to avoid peanuts because of the alleged levels of aflatoxin, a natural toxin produced by certain strains of a mold.  Aflatoxin is a potent carcinogen, known to cause liver cancer in laboratory animals. The jury is still out regarding the danger of long-term exposure of low levels of aflatoxins.  In countries where peanuts are a staple food, it may contribute to liver cancer.  According to Dr Andrew Weil, commercial peanut butter (in the US) is generally safe:

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA115491

I suppose peanut butter is ubiquitous so it was easy to run the study on a staple food, rather than, say almond butter or cashew butter.  Peanuts are not really nuts, they are a legume.  if you have to eat a nut butter, go for almond butter which has a better fatty acid profile.  And if you have to eat peanut butter, make sure it doesn’t contain any hydrogenated vegetable oil and is low in sugar.

[Note:  aflatoxin imay also occur in maize, rice, figs and other dried foods, spices and crude vegetable oils, and cocoa beans – it’s a minefield!]

2.  Walking an hour a day can cut risk of breast cancer: Brisk stroll can reduce chance in over-50s by 14%

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2443016/Breast-cancer-risk-50s-cut-14-walking-hour-day.html#ixzz2gwuHVMnw

  • Women who do more vigorous activities get almost double protection
  • Scientists claim this is the first study to examine walking benefits
  • It is thought to cut down the body fat that nurtures cancer hormones

3.  New breast cancer imaging technique could cut down on false positives

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