Under the Hood

Breast Cancer Prevention 2017: Latest Medical Advice On Mammograms, Biopsies And Prevention

This year, more than 318,000 cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed, according to the non-profit organization Breastcancer.org. Of those, approximately 40,000 cases will be fatal. As with all cancer diagnoses, early detection is key in combating the disease. The American Cancer Society states that the five-year survival rate for women with stage 0 or stage 1 breast cancer is close to 100 percent. However, the debate about overdiagnosis was reignited last month following a Danish survey that showed one in three women had breast cancer detections from mammograms and were treated unnecessarily. This is due to the fact that some tumors detected are slow growing and harmless or shrink altogether, reports CNN.

ReadBreast Cancer Treatment 2017: Drug May Halt Metastasis In Triple-Negative Tumors

With all of the confusion, we’ve rounded up the latest breast cancer prevention news and advice in 2017.

october-pink Breast cancer screening advice is hazy as medical professionals offer differing views. Pixabay

Screening and Detection

Medical professionals have different views on when to get mammograms. The American College of Radiology recommends annual screenings for women 40 years and older. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has a less stringent recommendation, urging women ages 50 to 74 to get a screening every other year. According to the panel of independent health care experts, the rate of false-positive results and unnecessary biopsies is higher for women under 50. The American Cancer Society recommends regular screening for women starting at 45 years old, with screenings every other year for those between 45 and 54 years old. Women over 55 should receive screenings annually or every other year, according to the organization.

New technologies are being used to make breast cancer detection more accurate. A new study from Johns Hopkins University showed that a blood test could detect cancer-linked DNA in patients with advanced breast cancer. Researchers believe this could help identify breast cancers that have a higher risk for recurrence and determine which treatments are most successful. The team is looking into advancing this finding into using blood tests to predict early-stage breast cancer, reports Science Daily.

After tumors are detected, biopsies are typically performed to determine whether the cells are cancerous. While there are various types of biopsies using needles or incisions, new 3-D biopsies are an alternative, minimally invasive procedure using X-ray imaging to locate the mass.

Read:5 Of The Biggest Breast Cancer Breakthroughs Of 2016

Prevention

According to BreastCancer.org, denser breasts, which have less fatty tissue and more gland and supportive tissue, are six times more likely to develop cancer. Their makeup also makes it more challenging to detect cancer. A study last month from the University of Adelaide in Australia revealed that chronic, low-level inflammation can increase breast density. Researchers are hopeful that this is a starting point to study the best ways to reduce inflammation to prevent breast cancer.

While researchers say that certain anti-inflammatories, like aspirin, can reduce the cancer risk, they are not a recommended form of prevention due to side effects.

Another study from January 2017 found that women with breast cancer had higher mortality rates if they consumed large amounts of  grilled, smoked and barbequed meats, reports Fox News. The researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where the study was conducted, attribute this to the carcinogens in meats prepared by these cooking techniques.

Of course, there are many factors associated with breast cancer, some of which can’t be changed (like family history). However, there are things you can do to lower the risk of breast cancer, advises the Mayo Clinic. These include limiting alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, participating in physical activity, refraining from smoking and limiting hormone therapy.

See Also:

Breast Cancer Awareness 2016: 10 Facts You Should Know About The Disease

Breast Cancer Awareness Quotes 2016: 15 Inspirational Quotes To Share With Friends And Family​

 

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