Best of Breast: news for week ending 10 January 2014

A summary of the latest medical developments in breast cancer, culled from Google Alerts, for the week ending Friday 10 January 2014.

I realise that some of the developments I’m posting have been published earlier in 2013 which means they’re not exactly new or germane to 2014; however, they have just recently been released by some news-sites in Google Alerts, so I have chosen to include them.

MichaelMoorcock

Whadya know … someone beat me to it! Pity it’s only science-fiction …

I’m conscious that Best of Breast is beginning to resemble a sci-fic novel with a formulaic plot and one-dimensional characters:

  • there’s always the mwah-ha-ha VILLAIN (one, if not more) like a MUTANT gene (with unpronounceable acronym) that causes cancer,
  • the HERO (new drug or improvement in treatments or group of scientists that promise to curb cancer),
  • the WAR – sadly, it’s still classed as a “war against cancer” with victors and losers,
  • the VICTIMS (the long-suffering and heroic cancer patients who are waiting patiently for a cure that doesn’t involve the death rays of radiotherapy and chemotherapy),
  • the WEAPONS (immunotherapies, vaccines, targeted treatments, magic bullet cures, death rays, chemical warfare)
  • DEATH (like in Terry Pratchett novels) who lurks too close for comfort.  (Also has bit part as RECURRENCE),
  • the REVELATION/MOUSE CONSPIRACY (new drug only works on mice/rats, or is in a trial and will take years before it’s available for commercial use).
  • All that’s missing is a really good save-the-world ending – some ALIEN species or OBI-WAN character descending down on earth with the Cure for Cancer … .

So Roll-On 2014, and please bring me the cure for cancer!

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 13 December 2013

A weekly round-up of Google Alerts on the latest medical developments in Breast Cancer.  I was puzzled as to why there was such a surge this week, and realised that it was due to studies being released at the San Antonio Breast Cancer symposium 2013 (http://www.sabcs.org/PressReleases/Documents/2013/b3c6acef3fe26baa.pdf)

There’s fantastic news that the aromatase inhibitor, anastrazole (aka Arimidex), can cut the risk of breast cancer in women by 50% and with fewer side-effects than drugs like tamoxifen.  But please note (and this is not being made clear in newspaper headlines), anastrozole is usually only used in post-menopausal women (because the ovaries in premenopausal women produce too much aromatase for the inhibitors to block effectively).  There’s also little discussion on the side-effects which may make it difficult for women to comply with taking the medication.

The FDA has issued a warning about nipple aspirate tests being used as a substitute for mammograms.  The message is:  they’re not reliable, and don’t.  They sound awfully like thermograms to me – I had a thermogram done about 3 days’ after my initial diagnosis, and the practitioner who conducted the test told me that without the mammogram, he wouldn’t have diagnosed breast cancer from my thermogram. (part of the issue is that the thermogram machines in the UK are not sophisticated enough to give the detailed results required for such diagnosis).

smart-bra

404 error … Windows cannot recognise the software … one or both servers is not working … please reinstall drivers … image credit: nytimes.com

1A.  Microsoft working on a smart bra that detects breast cancer and measures moods

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