What’s New in Breast Cancer Research?

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Discovery of causes, reduction of risk the focus of recent studies

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month winds down, here’s a quick summary of ongoing efforts to stop or slow the disease.

Causes

  • Several studies are looking at the effect of exercise, weight gain or loss, and diet on risk.
  • Studies on the best use of genetic testing for breast cancer mutations continue at a rapid pace.
  • Scientists are exploring how common gene variations (small changes in genes that are not as significant as mutations) may affect breast cancer risk. Gene variants typically have only a modest effect on risk, but when taken together they could possibly have a large impact.
  • Possible environmental causes of breast cancer have also received more attention in recent years. While much of the science on this topic is still in its earliest stages, this is an area of active research.

Reduction of Risk

  • Hormone therapy drugs are typically used to help treat breast cancer, but some might also help prevent it. Tamoxifen and raloxifene have been used for many years to prevent breast cancer. More recent studies with another class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors (exemestane and anastrozole) have shown that these drugs are also very effective in preventing breast cancer.
  • Other clinical trials are looking at non-hormonal drugs for breast cancer reduction. Drugs of interest include drugs for osteoporosis and bone metastases, COX-2 inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and statins (used to lower cholesterol).

Further developments include new imaging tests, treatment, and supportive care. To learn more, visit the American Cancer Society’s site dedicated to breast cancer research.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society

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Rob Senior
Rob Senior

Rob has 15 years of experience writing and editing for healthcare. He previously worked for ADVANCE from 2002 to 2012.

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