In the past 60 years, the landscape for those facing breast cancer has dramatically changed thanks to dedicated researchers and doctors constantly looking for new breast cancer treatments to fight the disease and techniques that improve patient quality of life.
While breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women, American Cancer Society reports that "death rates from breast cancer have been dropping since about 1989. These decreases are believed to be the results of finding breast cancer earlier through screening and increased awareness, as well as better treatments."
Each year, researchers develop new breast cancer treatments and screenings. If you have breast cancer or are at a higher risk for cancer based on your family history, here are few of the latest developments to consider with your doctor.
New Breast Cancer Screening Technology
More than half of all women have dense breast tissue, often making it difficult for mammograms to provide a clear image. For women who have a higher cancer risk, molecular breast imaging (MBI) is a newer screening tool that proving to find cancer that mammograms miss. For the MBI, a tracer is injected into a vein and then a gamma camera records the tracer's activity. The reaction of cancerous tissue can be seen in the camera's images. New studies have shown that the MBI provides a higher level of cancer detection.
New Breast Cancer Treatment Technology
New technology is giving oncologists a leg up in customizing breast cancer treatments for their patients. Gardant360 offers a "liquid biopsy," examining cancer-related mutations in genes from a single blood draw instead of a more invasive biopsy. Armed with specific information about a tumor's DNA and a detailed reports of available treatments, oncologists are able to create targeted treatment plans for the particular cancer mutations affecting their patients.
Another genomic test, MammaPrint, helps oncologists determine whether some women with early-stage breast cancer can avoid chemotherapy treatments - and the difficult side effects that often follow. A new study in The New England Journal of Medicine has shown that 46% patients who would have received chemotherapy to prevent cancer recurrence could skip that treatment with little risk of the cancer returning.
While these screening techniques and breast cancer treatments are still new, the studies for each of them are encouraging. Speak to your physician about whether they might be helpful for you.
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care supports breast cancer patients at all stages of their journey - from providing palliative care support for the newly diagnosed undergoing breast cancer treatment to compassionate end-of-life care for patients with end-stage cancer. Please call us at 1-888-564-3405 to learn more about how we can help.
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