Major advances for the screening of breast cancer

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the USA, affecting one in every eight women.

Breast cancer doesn't discriminate. As detailed earlier, most of the research has shown that people who increase their physical activity, improve their diet and stay at a healthy weight reduce their risk of chronic diseases and cancer.

Dr. Dana Grear is a breast imager at The Breast Center of Northwest Arkansas.

Male breast cancer is usually hereditary and if your family has history with the disease it could increase your risk.

Dr. Greer said genetic testing for women who are pre-disposed to the disease is the best way to catch it in time. "This should provide guidance for a lot of future research".

The very first National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was observed in 1985 when the American Cancer Society and a pharmaceutical company partnered to create a campaign that would promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.

The Breast Center of Northwest Arkansas said even if you don't need to get genetic testing done it is still important to do regular self exams as well as mammograms after 40.

Others, known as oestrogen-receptor negative, are not affected by the hormone and are more hard to treat.

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Possessing a broken version of either of these genes is thought to account for as much as 10 percent of all breast cancers, and about 15 percent of ovarian cancers.

Early detection and aggressive treatments have seen a decline in deaths from the disease, with survival rates now at around 90 percent after five years.

Two genes already commonly associated with breast cancer are BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Professor John Bridgewater, an oncologist at University College London Hospital, who was not involved in the study, said: 'Many patients will often go on special diets, rather than having conventional treatment.

Those identified in the new studies are relatively common - some carried by one woman in 100 and others by more than half of all women.

They estimate that 1 per cent of women have a risk of breast cancer more than three times greater than that of women in the general population.

"Many women are offered mammogram screening when they are middle-aged, but if we know a woman has genetic markers that place her at higher risk of breast cancer, we can recommend more intensive screening at a younger age", says Chenevix-Trench. The studies identified genetic regions specifically associated with either oestrogen-receptor positive or oestrogen receptor negative breast cancer, underscoring the fact that these are biologically distinct cancers that develop differently.

  • Ismael Montgomery