The future in all areas of cancer lies in the research that is being done today. In medical centers across the world, important steps are being taken in researching Breast Cancer to improve prevention, make diagnosis easier and more precise, and find better treatments for the disease. With the medical field being more advanced than ever, new information is being discovered every day to help combat this deadly disease that will affect 1 in 8 American women.
Lifestyle- Ongoing studies continue to look into daily habits and lifestyle factors that may increase the risk of breast cancer. In addition to exercise, diet and weight loss and gain, there has been more research into environment in recent years. Studies in this area, as well as studies into genetic testing for mutations that may cause breast cancer, are still in early stages.
Chemoprevention- Retinoids, or drugs related to vitamin A, are continually being researched on their effect on cancer cells. The retinoid named fenretinide is being studied to uncover its effects as a drug to reduce the risk of Breast Cancer. There are several other drugs, including tamoxifen, that continue to be tested as preventative medicines for Breast Cancer.
Self-exams- Because women are not recommended to go in for a mammogram until after the age of 40, younger women are often diagnosed with Breast Cancer late. Detecting breast cancer in its early stages increases the likelihood of survival. With one in eight women in America at risk of developing Breast Cancer during their lifetime, it is vital to establish healthy practices early. New prevention techniques urge all young women to conduct monthly self-exams in order to recognize changes or lumps in your breasts.
The Sister Study- This large, long-term study being carried out through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), is a project that is examining 50,000 women whose sisters have had breast cancer. Started in 2004, the study still needs about 23,000 individuals to sign up to participate in questionnaires and samples, taking a closer look at how genes and the environment influence breast cancer risk.
Vitamin D- Another study is being conducted by cancer prevention specialists at the Moore’s Cancer Center located at the San Diego Medical Center at the University of California. The research is being done on the effects of vitamin D intake connected to Breast Cancer risk. It appears that a regular daily intake of 1,000 IU’s of vitamin D can help lower the risk of developing a number of different cancers including breast, ovarian and colon cancer by up to 50%.
Microsphere therapy- It is becoming increasingly common for Breast Cancer to metastasize to a woman’s liver. Microsphere therapy is being looked at as a potential treatment for women who experience this spread of the disease. All participants who received a single treatment of SIT-Spheres showed response to the treatment on CT and PET scans every three months. There was reduction in both the size and number of lesions across the board as a result of this treatment.
Blood tests- New treatments related to those living with advanced forms of Breast Cancer have also been discovered. Using a new blood test that quickly targets better treatments, oncologists and medical professionals have come up with a treatment named CellSearch that captures, identifies and counts tumor cells in the blood. As the first FDA-approved test, this exam counts cancer cells that have detached from the tumor, making it the fastest and most accurate test created yet.