Breast Health Newsletter | Newsletter 2000 | Imaginis - The Women's Health & Wellness Resource Network

The Women's Health Resource. On the web since 1997. Breast Health Newsletter

February 17, 2000 - Volume 2, Issue 4

Comprehensive Information of Breast Cancer and Breast Health Issues


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February 17, 2000

1. In the News:
- Humorous Breast Cancer Songs Help Raise Money for Research...
"With A Little Help From My Friends" is a new CD that features seven breast cancer survivors singing light-hearted songs about hair loss, drug therapies, and other aspects of breast cancer. The 13 songs that appear on the album were written by Pat Opatz, a member of the St. Cloud Breast Cancer Support Group in Minnesota and a breast cancer survivor who has battled six cancer recurrences (returns) over the past decade. The purposes of the album, the group says, are to raise much needed money for breast cancer research and to provide "healthy laughter" to breast cancer patients and their families who struggle with this serious disease on a daily basis. All proceeds from the album help fund breast cancer research.
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- Bicyclist Lance Armstrong Starts "Cycle of Hope" Cancer Campaign...
Lance Armstrong, Tour de France bicycling champion and cancer survivor, has recently launched "Cycle of Hope," a national cancer education campaign for cancer patients and those at risk of developing cancer. The goals of "Cycle of Hope" are to encourage early cancer detection, to reduce anxiety associated with cancer, to encourage a team approach to cancer treatment, and to give hope to cancer patients and their loved ones.
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- Calcium Deposits on Breast Cancer Tumors May Determine Survival...
A preliminary study conducted by a team of international researchers reveals that women who have calcium deposits (calcifications) on their small breast tumors may be at greater risk of dying of breast cancer and should be given more aggressive treatments than women whose tumors do not contain calcifications. On the flip side, women whose tumors do not contain
calcifications may be able to safely avoid more aggressive therapies, according to the researchers.
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- FDA Approves Digital Mammography...
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved General Electric’s "full-field" digital mammography system on January 31, 2000. Studies of 635 women showed that printouts of digital mammographic images are as effective in detecting breast cancer as standard film mammograms. The advantages of digital (computerized) mammography include faster image acquisition, shorter exam, easier image storage, and physician manipulation of breast images for
more accurate detection of breast cancer. Digital images can also be manipulated to correct for under or over-exposure.
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- Most Breast Cancer Patients Try Alternative Treatments...
A recent study by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco revealed that more than 70% of breast cancer patients try alternative treatments in addition to standard therapies established by their medical physicians. The study also showed that the majority of patients do not tell their physicians about the alternative treatments because they do not believe mainstream physicians have any interest in non-traditional therapies. Researchers believe this lack of communication between physician and patient puts women at greater risk for drug interactions and serious setbacks in cancer treatment.
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2. Lumpectomy
Lumpectomy is the surgical removal of a cancerous lump (or tumor) in the breast along with a small margin of the surrounding normal breast tissue. The procedure is also called breast-conserving therapy and is attractive to many women because it allows them to maintain most of their breast after surgery. Lumpectomy is usually performed on women with early stage breast cancer and is almost always followed by at least six weeks of radiation therapy. This article discusses how a lumpectomy is performed, possible side effects, and who is a favorable candidate for the procedure.
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3. Treating Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)
Ductal carcinoma in situ (or DCIS) refers to the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer in women. The term, in situ, or "in place," describes a cancer that has not moved out of the area of the body where it originally developed. With DCIS, the cancer cells are confined to milk ducts
in the breast and have not spread into the fatty breast tissue or to any other part of the body (such as the lymph nodes). The most common forms of treatment for DCIS are lumpectomy (removal of the breast lump) or mastectomy (removal of the affected breast). Additional therapies may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or drug therapies. The cure rate for DCIS is nearly 100% regardless of treatment. This article explains in detail what DCIS is and how it is treated.
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4. Screening Mammography
All women 40 years of age or older (and those at high risk for breast cancer) should receive annual screening mammograms. Mammography is a breast imaging exam that helps detect cancer at an early stage and greatly improves a woman's chances for successful treatment. Currently, mammography is the only exam FDA approved to screen for breast cancer in women with no complaints or symptoms of breast cancer. The goal is to detect cancer when it is still too small to be felt by a physician or the patient. This article explains who should receive an annual screening mammogram, the cost of a mammogram, and what the exam can show.
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5. Advanced (Metastatic) Breast Cancer
The term, metastatic, describes a tumor that has spread to distant organs. Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage (stage IV) of breast cancer. Cancer cells have spread past the breast and axillary (underarm) lymph nodes to other areas of the body where they continue to grow and multiply. The most common region breast cancer spreads to is bone, followed by lung and liver. This article describes what metastatic breast cancer is, and how it may be diagnosed and treated. A list of selected resources to help patients and loved ones cope with the disease is also provided.
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