Cancer Blood Tests For Breast Cancer
Weve talked before about Circulating Tumor Cells which can be detected in blood samples and offer a convenient way for us to develop cancer blood tests. Companies like Illumina see the potential here, and have invested in startups like Grail which is incidentally looking to IPO in Hong Kong instead of Wall Street. We talked about some of the other companies playing in this space in our article on 8 Blood Tests for Cancer Being Developed by Startups.
While Grail mulls over where they want to raise even more capital, another startup is already selling the first protein-based blood test of its kind to provide early and accurate detection of breast cancer.
Founded in 2007, New Yawwk startup Provista Diagnostics has taken in $34 million in funding from an undisclosed number of investors to develop a blood test for breast cancer. The test is meant to provide clarity for cases where the results of imaging are inconclusive. These cases present a sticky situation for both patients and doctors where the likely outcome is erroring on the side of caution, which of course means that we can expect to see lots of false positives:
Does Breast Cancer Affect Women Of All Races Equally
All women, especially as they age, are at some risk for developing breast cancer. The risks for breast cancer in general arent evenly spread among ethnic groups, and the risk varies among ethnic groups for different types of breast cancer. Breast cancer mortality rates in the United States have declined by 40% since 1989, but disparities persist and are widening between non-Hispanic Black women and non-Hispanic white women.
Statistics show that, overall, non-Hispanic white women have a slightly higher chance of developing breast cancer than women of any other race/ethnicity. The incidence rate for non-Hispanic Black women is almost as high.
Non-Hispanic Black women in the U.S. have a 39% higher risk of dying from breast cancer at any age. They are twice as likely to get triple-negative breast cancer as white women. This type of cancer is especially aggressive and difficult to treat. However, it’s really among women with hormone positive disease where Black women have worse clinical outcomes despite comparable systemic therapy. Non-Hispanic Black women are less likely to receive standard treatments. Additionally, there is increasing data on discontinuation of adjuvant hormonal therapy by those who are poor and underinsured.
In women under the age of 45, breast cancer is found more often in non-Hispanic Black women than in non-Hispanic white women.
How Do I Know Which Breast Cancer Treatment To Choose
Your doctor will think about a few things before they recommend a treatment for you:
- The type of breast cancer you have
- The size of your tumor and how far the cancer has spread in your body, called the stage of your disease
- Whether your tumor has things called receptors for HER2 protein, estrogen, and progesterone, or other specific features.
Your age, whether youâve gone through menopause, other health conditions you have, and your personal preferences also play a role in this decision-making process.
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Living With Breast Cancer
Dealing with breast cancer can be very hard for a woman and her family. A woman who has breast cancer surgery or treatment may not feel well for a while. She may be depressed if she had her breast removed. If a woman needs chemotherapy, she may lose her hair and she may feel sick to her stomach. She also may worry that the cancer will return and she’ll get sick again.
The good news is that many times, especially if a lump is caught early, women with breast cancer go on to live full, healthy lives after treatment. Some join support groups so they can talk to other women with breast cancer who are feeling the same emotions.
There are even groups that kids or other family members can join to talk about their feelings when someone they love has breast cancer. Find a trusted adult to talk with if you’re worried about a loved one.
What Is Breast Cancer And How Does It Form
Before we dive into alternative therapy treatments and how to cure breast cancer without surgery, its important to talk about how it starts.
Breast cancer forms in tissues of the breast. The most common type of breast cancer is known as ductal carcinoma in situ. This type of cancer begins in the tubes that carry milk from the lobules of the breast to the nipple the milk ducts. These abnormal cells are isolated in the milk ducts and have not spread to the breast tissue.This is a form of non-invasive breast cancer, however, if left untreated, can spread into the breast tissue.
Lobular carcinoma is another type of breast cancer that begins in the lobules of the breast. Like ductal carcinoma in situ, lobular carcinoma is not a form of invasive breast cancer. Since these abnormal cells have not spread to breast tissue, they are not a severe form of cancer and will only need surgical removal. However, they can increase your risk of other types of breast cancer later on down the road.
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What Is The Treatment For Metastatic Breast Cancer
Treatments include many of the same treatments as other stages of breast cancer:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy For patients diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer that is hormone receptor positive, hormonal therapy may be the first line of defense against the disease. As long as the drugs are keeping the cancer from progressing, the patient may be kept on the medication for some time. If scans show the progression of the cancer, the medical oncologist may switch to another form of hormonal therapy or possibly stop this therapy and pursue a different line of systemic treatment, such as chemotherapy or biologic targeted therapy.
- Biologic targeted therapy
- Breast surgery It is controversial whether surgery should be done on the breast in the presence of known metastatic disease. In most cases, however, the knowledge of metastasis is discovered after the breast cancer surgery and other treatment has been performed. The cancer returns as a distant recurrence.
What Will Happen After Treatment
Youll be glad when treatment is over. For years after treatment ends, you will see your cancer doctor. Be sure to go to all of these follow-up visits. You will have exams, blood tests, and maybe other tests to see if the cancer has come back.
At first, your visits may be every few months. Then, the longer youre cancer-free, the less often the visits are needed.
If you still have a breast , youll need to get a mammogram every year. Depending on your treatment, you might need other tests as well, such as yearly pelvic exams or bone density tests.
Having cancer and dealing with treatment can be hard, but it can also be a time to look at your life in new ways. You might be thinking about how to improve your health. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or talk to your cancer care team to find out what you can do to feel better.
You cant change the fact that you have cancer. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life making healthy choices and feeling as well as you can.
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Talk To Your Doctor To Find Out What Your Breast Cancer Stage Is And How It Is Used To Plan The Best Treatment For You
After surgery, your doctor will receive a pathology report that describes the size and location of the primary tumor, the spread of cancer to nearby lymph nodes, tumor grade, and whether certain biomarkers are present. The pathology report and other test results are used to determine your breast cancer stage.
You are likely to have many questions. Ask your doctor to explain how staging is used to decide the best options to treat your cancer and whether there are clinical trials that might be right for you.
The treatment of breast cancer depends partly on the stage of the disease.
For treatment options for stage IIIB, inoperable stage IIIC, and inflammatory breast cancer, see Treatment of Locally Advanced Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
For treatment options for stage IV breast cancer or breast cancer that has recurred in distant parts of the body, see Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer.
Progression While Being Treated With Hormone Therapy
For hormone receptor-positive cancers that were being treated with hormone therapy, switching to another type of hormone therapy sometimes helps. For example, if either letrozole or anastrozole were given, using exemestane, possibly with everolimus , may be an option. Another option might be using fulvestrant or an aromatase inhibitor , along with a CDK inhibitor. If the cancer has a PIK3CA mutation and has grown while on an aromatase inhibitor, fulvestrant with alpelisib might be considered. If the cancer is no longer responding to any hormone drugs, chemotherapy is usually the next step.
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If You Are Age 55 Or Over:
Mammograms are recommended every other year. You can choose to continue to have them every year.
Clinical breast exams and self-exams are not recommended. But you should be familiar with your breasts and tell a health care provider right away if you notice any changes in how your breasts look or feel.
Will There Ever Be A Cure For Breast Cancer
The well-known website wikiHow.com has even jumped into the cure game with an article published just last year entitled, How to Cure Breast Cancer. Yep, thats the actual title and so this is one of the first articles that appears when you do an Internet search for curing breast cancer.
It details seven methods for curing breast cancer, with not a one an actual cure. The title is misleading, and the article has little to do with curing breast cancer, spending most of its words talking about medical treatment, surgery, chemo, and scheduling regular screening visits. The authors are very loose with their definition of the word cure, implying that if the chemo kills the breast cancer, you have been cured.
There are literally hundreds of these articles online, many of them as misleading as the wikiHow article.
On the other end of the curing spectrum, we have the natural cure websites. One of these is earthclinic.com and they have published articles claiming that supplements such as Turmeric, Flaxseed, Calcium, and even Baking Soda, may actually cure breast cancer. These are all great supplements and might indeed help to prevent breast cancer, but there is no evidence that these or the many other supplements that are out there will cure breast cancer.
Probably the most well-known event that is associated with curing breast cancer in the U.S. is the Run For The Cure.
Now, did you catch what is missing from their official statement? Yep, its the word cure.
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Herbal Products Used For Treatment Of Breast Cancer
A recent population-based survey showed that almost 80% of the women suffering from breast cancer use some form of complementary or alternative medicine for the treatment of cancer . Herbal remedies are the most common and popular form of alternative medicine among them, which is frequently used by women suffering from breast cancer. Here is some evidence that can help to treat breast cancer and its associated toxicity:
Breast Cancer Requires Expert Care
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women, affecting one in eight women who live to the age of 80. The disease forms when breast cells mutate and multiply uncontrollably, forming a tumor. If untreated, cancerous cells may spread to other parts of the body. Women who have a family history of the disease, who are obese or who have dense breasts have a higher risk of the disease. Symptoms include a lump, skin changes, nipple discharge and pain.
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Permission To Use This Summary
PDQ is a registered trademark. The content of PDQ documents can be used freely as text. It cannot be identified as an NCI PDQ cancer information summary unless the whole summary is shown and it is updated regularly. However, a user would be allowed to write a sentence such as NCIs PDQ cancer information summary about breast cancer prevention states the risks in the following way: .
The best way to cite this PDQ summary is:
PDQ® Adult Treatment Editorial Board. PDQ Breast Cancer Treatment . Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated < MM/DD/YYYY> . Available at: . Accessed < MM/DD/YYYY> .
Images in this summary are used with permission of the author, artist, and/or publisher for use in the PDQ summaries only. If you want to use an image from a PDQ summary and you are not using the whole summary, you must get permission from the owner. It cannot be given by the National Cancer Institute. Information about using the images in this summary, along with many other images related to cancer can be found in Visuals Online. Visuals Online is a collection of more than 3,000 scientific images.
Breast Cancer: Types Of Treatment
Have questions about breast cancer? Ask here.
ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about the different types of treatments doctors use for people with breast cancer. Use the menu to see other pages.
This section explains the types of treatments that are the standard of care for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer. Standard of care means the best treatments known. When making treatment plan decisions, you are strongly encouraged to consider clinical trials as an option. A clinical trial is a research study that tests a new approach to treatment. Doctors want to learn whether the new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than the standard treatment. Clinical trials can test a new drug and how often it should be given, a new combination of standard treatments, or new doses of standard drugs or other treatments. Some clinical trials also test giving less treatment than what is usually done as the standard of care. Clinical trials are an option to consider for treatment and care for all stages of cancer. Your doctor can help you consider all your treatment options. Learn more about clinical trials in the About Clinical Trials and Latest Research sections of this guide.
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Biomarker Testing Is Used To Find Out Whether Breast Cancer Cells Have Certain Receptors
Healthy breast cells, and some breast cancer cells, have receptors that attach to the hormonesestrogen and progesterone. These hormones are needed for healthy cells, and some breast cancer cells, to grow and divide. To check for these biomarkers, samples of tissue containing breast cancer cells are removed during a biopsy or surgery. The samples are tested in a laboratory to see whether the breast cancer cells have estrogen or progesterone receptors.
Another type of receptor that is found on the surface of all breast cancer cells is called HER2. HER2 receptors are needed for the breast cancer cells to grow and divide.
For breast cancer, biomarker testing includes the following:
- Triple negative. If the breast cancer cells do not have estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, or a larger than normal amount of HER2 receptors, the cancer cells are called triple negative.
- Triple positive. If the breast cancer cells do have estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and a larger than normal amount of HER2 receptors, the cancer cells are called triple positive.
Does A Benign Breast Condition Mean That I Have A Higher Risk Of Getting Breast Cancer
Benign breast conditions rarely increase your risk of breast cancer. Some women have biopsies that show a condition called hyperplasia . This condition increases your risk only slightly.
When the biopsy shows hyperplasia and abnormal cells, which is a condition called atypical hyperplasia, your risk of breast cancer increases somewhat more. Atypical hyperplasia occurs in about 5% of benign breast biopsies.
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Playing An Active Role
You play an active role in making treatment decisions by understanding your breast cancer diagnosis, your treatment options and possible side effects.
Together, you and your health care provider can choose treatments that fit your values and lifestyle.
The National Academy of Sciences released the report, Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis in 2013. Susan G. Komen® was one of 13 organizations that sponsored this study.
The report identified key ways to improve quality of care:
Tamoxifen And Raloxifene For Women At High Risk
Although not commonly thought of as a healthybehavior, taking the prescription drugs tamoxifenand raloxifene can significantly lower the risk ofbreast cancer in woman at high risk of the disease.Approved by the FDA for breast cancer prevention,these powerful drugs can have side effects, sothey arent right for everyone. If you think youreat high risk, talk to your doctor to see if tamoxifen or raloxifene may be right for you.
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Relieving Symptoms Of Advanced Breast Cancer
Treatment to relieve symptoms depends on where the cancer has spread. For example, pain from bone metastases may be treated with radiation therapy, drugs called bisphosphonates such as pamidronate or zoledronic acid , or the drug denosumab . For more, see our information about the treatment of bone metastases.