Research at Breast Cancer Foundations Tackling Recurrence

Jan 27, 2014 by

Many women will experience a myriad of changes throughout their physical lives. Some women’s bodies and entire lives will change after they give birth to children. Other women will undergo significant change after they marry and launch their own careers, some starting multi-million dollar enterprises.

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Image: flickr.com/photos/nexus_6

However, a breast cancer diagnosis will be the most impactful event in thousands of women’s lives during a single year. One way to reduce the numbers of women who receive the diagnosis is to become more aggressive with research conducting by medical organizations and breast cancer foundations.

Now is the time to stop working toward longer lasting cures. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women in the United States, will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. The American Cancer Society also reports that, “About 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.”

Not only are women receiving a first time diagnosis, there are also women who are receiving a second or third diagnosis, meaning that the disease went into remission then recurred or became active again. Researchers that receive funding from breast cancer foundations and medical oncologists like Dr. Mark Clemons, are realizing that traditional cures for recurring breast cancer may not be the best option.

The National Post reports that, “Today, about 85% of women with breast cancer will be cured of their disease thanks to advances in research and the introduction of new treatment regimes. However, 15% will experience a recurrence of the disease elsewhere in the body. For the majority of this group, recurrence happens in the bone.”

Previously, work by researchers supported by breast cancer foundations focused on the properties of the original tumors rather than on newly developed tumors. However, as Dr. Clemons says, “But cancers can change with time and treatments have the potential to further affect the tumor. If change does occur, it’s possible that in using traditional options patients are receiving sub-optimal treatment.”

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Image: flickr.com/photos/philandpam

Clemons credits breast cancer foundations, namely the funding that he receives from a foundation, with giving him the ability to advance his research and help patients. Part of the research involves operating clinical trials. As it is for researchers, staff at breast cancer foundations and medical professionals, so it is with women who choose to participate in clinical trials. A recent trial funded by donors who give to foundations has shown that studying biopsies differently and/or more aggressively could have a positive impact on breast cancer treatments.

Women who had their biopsies studied did so in the hopes that the work would reduce the chances of the disease reappearing. As the National Post reports, “The results of the study showed that in 14% of cases where these biopsies were done and examined disease management changed. In some instances, results revealed that the patient did not in fact have recurrent cancer – the biopsy was benign. In others the cancer had changed, negating the need for chemotherapy or resulting in less toxic anti-cancer drug treatments.”

Researchers that receive funding from breast cancer foundations and medical oncologists like Dr. Mark Clemons, are realizing that traditional cures for recurring breast cancer may not be the best option.

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