November 2010 Imaginis Newsletter
- Understanding the Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer
- Promising Breast Cancer Prevention Research: Fewer Side Effects from Raloxifene
A current congressional resolution (HR 6073) nominates Dr. Ernie Bodai, the renowned breast cancer surgeon, for the Congressional Gold Medal. Dr. Bodai serves as a medical advisory board member to Imaginis. He was instrumental in introducing the breast cancer research semi-postal stamp, which has raised millions for breast cancer research. Please nominate him.
In recent years, several studies have examined the most appropriate age for women to begin getting mammograms, the x-ray exam that screens for breast cancer. Last year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued new guidelines for breast cancer screening that recommended against routine screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years. Now, a new study has reached different conclusions: that women who receive mammograms in their forties may be less likely to die from breast cancer than women who wait until their fifties or beyond to get mammograms. The study seems to add confusion to when is the best age for women to get mammograms and underscore the fact that breast cancer screening is an individual medical issue that may best decided between a woman and her physician, based on individual medical factors.
Ovarian cancer is often referred to as the silent killer because many women develop the disease without warning. Research has shown that the majority of women who develop ovarian cancer have no known risk factors. Also, many women who have some of the risk factors for ovarian cancer never develop the disease. Nonetheless, researchers have identified several risk factorsâ€”some of which can be controlled and others which cannot be controlledâ€”which appear to increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Understanding these risk factors can help women seek medical consultation early.
Results from an ongoing study examining two drugs to prevent breast cancer found that the drug raloxifene (Evista) was as almost effective as the standard drug tamoxifen (Nolvadex) and also produced fewer side effects. Earlier results of the study had shown that raloxifene was as effective as tamoxifen in reducing non-invasive breast cancer in post-menopausal women at high risk of developing the disease. For both drugs, women experienced a 50 percent reduction in breast cancer risk after 4 years. These latest results show that tamoxifen continues to reduce risk for both invasive and non-invasive breast cancer by about 50 percent after 5 years of drug use, and raloxifene reduces risk for invasive and non-invasive breast cancer by about 38 percent.