Weekly and Monthly Newsletter

Can Milk Thistle Help Heal Breast Cancer?

The daily lives of most individuals are filled with exposure to toxic chemicals in food, the air, the water and home products. Some of these toxins convert into “fake estrogens” in the body, which can build up and overpower the system, leading to cancers of the reproductive system. Milk Thistle has the ability to metabolize excessive amounts of aggressive estrogens such as estradiol (which xenoestrogens tend to mimic).

Study: Radiation Therapy Can Make Cancers 30x More Malignant

Following on the heels of recent revelations that x-ray mammography may be contributing to an epidemic of future radiation-induced breast cancers, in a new article titled, “Radiation Treatment Generates Therapy Resistant Cancer Stem Cells From Aggressive Breast Cancer Cells,” published in the journal Cancer July 1st, 2012, researchers from the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center report that radiation treatment actually drives breast cancer cells into greater malignancy.

Mental Health And Cancer Survival: Your Mood May Be Important 

Researchers from University College London and the University of Edinburgh recently examined how mental health might affect cancer survival by analyzing 16 studies that included 163,000 people. They found that people who reported being the most distressed were 32 percent more likely to die by the end of the study than those who reported the best mental states. For this reason, health advocates have continually stressed the importance of treating not just cancer itself, but also the mental health burden that accompanies the diagnosis for the patient, as well as the patient’s family and supporters.

Breast-cancer Mouse Model May Help Identify New Treatment Paths

Metaplastic breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer, but researchers have long lacked models that would help them determine the molecular alterations underlying the disease and identify potential treatments. Now they have developed a novel mouse model that lacks the CCN6 protein in mammary glands and that develops tumors resembling human metaplastic breast cancer. The model shares several deregulated genes that could be used to develop therapies against the cancer.

Protein Key to Breast Cancer Cell Growth, Treatment Resistance Identified

Tumor-initiating cells, thought to give rise to cancer, are often associated with treatment resistance and disease recurrence. Now researchers have identified a protein, called G3BP2, that is essential to the survival of these cells in breast cancers. Targeting this protein with a chemical compound the researchers also identified effectively reduced the numbers of these cells in various breast cancer models, suggesting this approach may lower treatment resistance and improve outcomes for patients.

Why Are So Many Women Getting Unnecessary Mastectomies? 

Many American women with breast cancer undergo a mastectomy to remove the affected breast, but a growing number are opting to remove the noncancerous breast, too—a surgery known as contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM). A new study in Annals of Surgery suggests that this second procedure, while risky, does nothing to improve a woman’s chances of survival.

Research Worth Watching: When Does a Tumor First Start to Metastasize?

The standard story of metastases follows a linear model. According to this model, breast cancer starts in the milk duct or lobule and then grows gradually, acquiring more and more mutations until it gains the ability to break away from the tumor mass and move into the blood stream and spread to other organs. Two new studies, conducted in mice, have turned our accepted wisdom upside down. The findings suggest that cells that first leave the tumor are actually better at starting metastases than the ones that have acquired more mutations and leave the tumor later. This suggests that we need to change the story we have been telling. This may seem like bad news. But it’s not. Rather, it means that this new understanding of cancer can help us to develop more successful approaches to treating metastases.

Cancer Antigen 27.29 (CA 27.29) Test for Breast Cancer

Cancer antigen 27.29 (CA 27.29) is a blood test that is done specifically for people with breast cancer. It is one of the “tumor markers” that can be used to monitor the course of the disease. If your treatment for breast cancer has been completed, this test may be done at regular intervals to detect an early recurrence of your cancer. An elevation of CA 27.29 occurs, on average, around 5 months before a recurrence is evident based on symptoms or imaging studies alone. Despite this, there is still debate over whether or not finding a recurrence of cancer before symptoms make a difference in the treatment and outcome of the disease.

Chemo Brain Could Be Worse With This Type of Chemo Drug 

Women treated with anthracycline chemotherapy drugs had lower verbal memory skills compared to other forms of chemotherapy or no chemotherapy at all. This includes the ability to immediately remember facts. MRIs indicated that connections in the brain were lower in patients treated with chemotherapy compared to those who received no chemo during treatment for breast cancer, which means the brain processes information less efficiently after undergoing chemo. Patients self-reported greater psychological distress due to chemo treatments versus nonchemotherapy regimens.

Tips for safe food choices during cancer treatment 

In the past, you may have been told to follow a neutropenic diet if your white blood cell count was low during treatment. Over the past year, recommendations have changed and that’s no longer necessary. However, it’s still important to follow rules of good food safety during treatment.

Breast cancer drugs stop working when tumours ‘make their own fuel’

Scientists found that both tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors stop working in around one in three patients and assumed that tumours developed resistance in some way, but didn’t know how. However in the latest study, the team discovered that in one in four patients taking aromatase inhibitors, the tumours had increased production of aromatase in the cancer cells. The tumours appear to do this by increasing the number of aromatase genes, in a process called amplification. This allowed the cancer cells to effectively make their own oestrogen, without relying on external sources of the hormone, explained Dr Luca Magnani, co-lead author of the research from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial: “For the first time we have seen how breast cancer tumours become resistant to aromatase inhibitors. The treatments work by cutting off the tumour’s fuel supply – oestrogen – but the cancer adapts to this by making its own fuel supply.” The researchers also discovered that tumours become resistant in different ways, depending on whether tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors are used.

Is This Toxic Chemical Lurking in Your Household Products?

Triclosan is one example of a potentially hazardous chemical used in some antimicrobial products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently banned it, along with 18 others chemicals, from hand soaps because of unacceptable risks to humans and the environment. Exposure to triclosan in general is linked with disruption of hormone function and the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. But these same chemicals are still used in many other products—including plush toys, pool wings, pacifier pockets, building blocks and even craft supplies like markers and scissors—without any label required. Some of these products are marketed as being antimicrobial, but many aren’t. Because these products are not under the purview of the FDA, they aren’t subject to the ban and companies aren’t required to reveal what makes them antimicrobial. This means it is hard for consumers to know what products contain these chemicals.

Why Doesn’t Cancer Research Focus on Prevention?

I think there are two reasons that cancer research doesn’t focus on prevention, and both of them have to do with money. The first reason involves profits to the pharmaceutical industry; there is more money to be made from drugs that might extend cancer patients’ lives by a few months than there is in trying to develop drugs to prevent cancer. The second reason has to do with carcinogens spewed into the environment. If corporations were held accountable for their toxins, it would cost them billions. It’s cheaper for the corporations to lobby congress to escape accountability and to get in bed with cancer charities.

SEARCHBreast 1st Entry in Effort to Lessen Reliance on Animals in Research

As a necessary part of the scientific process, animals are often used in studies of disease causes and their potential treatment. But efforts — beginning with breast cancer studies — are being made to progressively reduce the reliance on animals in biomedical research. The framework is called SEARCH (Sharing Experimental Animal Resources, Coordinating Holdings). A prototype, SEARCHBreast, was developed with funding from the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), and is run by the University of Leeds together with the Barts Cancer Institute, the University of Sheffield, and the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute.

Mammograms Find Many Tumors That May Not Need Treatment 

For years, women have been told that regular mammograms can help reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer by catching tumors at their earliest, most treatable stages. But a Danish study is the latest research to challenge that assumption. Researchers followed thousands of women in Denmark over more than a decade and found that perhaps one-third of the abnormalities detected by mammograms may never cause health problems. “Breast screening can have some very substantial harms,” says Karsten Jorgensen, deputy director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Denmark, who led the study. “And the most important one of those is the overdiagnosis of breast cancers that would never have developed into something life-threatening.”

What Type of Breast Cancer Do You Have? The Answer May Change Over Time 

Researchers using new technologies to analyze different parts of the same tumor have shown us that different pieces of a tumor can contain different mutations. These studies suggest that tumors have a dominant type of cancer cell, but also include minor colonies that have other types of mutations. In other words, most of the tumor could be ER/PR-positive and HER2-negative but there may be some cells that are ER/PR-positive and HER2-positive.

New insights into mechanisms of breast cancer development and resistance to therapy 

In up to 70 percent of all breast cancers, the tumor has receptors for the hormone estrogen. Because these tumors need estrogen for their growth, the receptor is the target of a number of drugs that interfere with estrogen expression, bind to the receptor or speed up its degeneration. However, around a third of all patients does not react to therapy or develops resistance. So far it has not been possible to accurately predict who will respond to this therapy because the underlying molecular mechanisms are not yet understood entirely. In a comprehensive molecular study, a group of scientists at the University Hospital of Basel has now identified an important player in this process named LATS. They were able to show how this enzyme, in cooperation with other proteins, influences the development and treatment of breast cancer.

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