Best of Breast: news for week ending 22 August 2014

Updated 16 September 2014

The weekly summary of medical news developments for Breast Cancer and Cancer for the week ending 21 August 2014.

This post focuses on screening.  Call it coincidence, but there were three articles on different ways to screen for breast cancer, this week.  The first is a trial into using dogs to sniff out breast cancer. I’ve covered dogs being used to sniff out cancer in previous posts, but this time, scientists are finally testing this on breast cancer.  Perhaps one day the gold standard in screening could be a golden labrador!

Dog

Dr Claire Guest and Daisy Photo: Janine Warwick

Item number 2 is a study that shows that MRIs are more accurate than ultrasound and mammogram in detecting recurrent tumours.  I wonder how MRIs compare to Pet-CTs in terms of radiation exposure.  There is no ionizing radiation in an MRI.  The dose for a typical PET-CT scan is 25 mSv for a 70-kg person.  The dose for a mammogram is 0.4 to 0.7 mSv.  The PET-CT gives 625 times more radiation.  CT scans alone produce 7 mSV, 10 to 15 times the dose of a mammogram.

RadiationDoseChart

From http://xkcd.com/radiation/. With thanks to Steve for this chart.

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 9 May 2014

News from Google Alerts, for Breast Cancer and Cancer, for the week ending 9 May 2014.

Lots 0f goodies this week, from the importance of sleep in survival rates to screening techniques, to more discoveries of genetic triggers for breast cancer.  But what stands out is news from Australia.  Graham Kelly, chief of Novogen, who is using a breakthrough cancer treatment for his own prostate cancer promises to deliver the drug at an affordable price.

One of the main criticisms of Big Pharma is how it overcharges for cancer drugs, leading to the accusation (and conspiracy theories) that all they want to do is exploit cancer patients who are desperate for a cure.  True, the path from discovery to trials to commercial release is expensive, but Graham Kelly of Novogen accuses Big Pharma of overpricing, and vows to do better with a fair price.  Whether this remains to be seen is debated, but it’s refreshing to see someone who’s in the business put his money where his mouth is, and to fess up to what critics of Big Pharma have been saying all along.  Good luck to him, is all I can say, long may he live and prosper.

Novogen

Superhero outfit optional. “We believe innovative medicine can be developed without the obscene price tags that make families mortgage their homes or strain federal health budgets” … Novogen boss Graham Kelly. Picture: Jim Trifyllis Source: News Corp Australia

1A.  Breakthrough cancer cell treatment from the University of NSW offers new hope

1B.  Novogen CEO Graham Kelly says he will make an anti-cancer drug at an affordable price

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