Breast Cancer Research

New Article - Breast Cancer Advice Refuted

Glimmer of Hope funds study in premenopasal women. In 2004, close to a quarter million women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States, making it the most common malignancy in women. Not just a disease of older women, approximately 15% of new cases of breast cancer occur annually in women of reproductive age.

Next to accidental death and homicide, breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women of childbearing age. Younger women with breast cancer are more likely to die from their disease compared to older women.

Younger women are more commonly diagnosed with advanced disease compared to older women. For example, one out of every three women less than 40 years old will have positive lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis compared to only one out of every ten women greater than 70 years of age at diagnosis.

Younger women are more likely to be diagnosed with more aggressive tumor types.

Breast cancer treatment often has a greater impact on the quality of life of younger women. For example

* younger women are more likely to receive chemotherapy than older women
* younger women often have children in the house to care for during treatment
* infertility can result secondary to chemotherapy
* sexual dysfunction secondary to chemotherapy is more common in younger women
* depression occurs more frequently in younger women with breast cancer, than in older women
* younger women worry about what will happen to their children if they don't survive

There are many questions left unanswered in the treatment of breast cancer in younger women. For example, we do not really know how much chemotherapy for breast cancer impacts fertility. In fact, there is very little data on whether or not if it is even safe to get pregnant after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Given the fact that tens of thousands of women of reproductive age are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and that women are increasingly postponing childbearing, finding answers to these questions and raising the awareness of younger women and physicians about breast cancer in younger women should be a national priority.

Research Papers

Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation

Investigators at Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) are participating in studies that are revolutionizing the care of breast cancer. Our researchers have found that removing small amounts of healthy breast tissue along with the breast tumor can be just as effective as removing the entire breast.

Magee investigators have also discovered that the drug Tamoxifen reduces the risk of recurrent breast cancer. MWRI is conducting additional studies with the drug Raloxifene, which may prove to be even more effective.

Studies to perform breast imaging with MRI have started recently. Results suggest that MRI can detect early forms of breast cancer that cannot be found using other methods.

The evenutal elimination of breast cancer will require increased mechanistic understanding. Numerous studies concentrating on environmental and genetic risk factors are ongoing at MWRI. These include studies of abnormalities of DNA repair, identification of toxin effects, and studies examining women with breast cancer for evidence of increased spontaneous mutations.

The Magee-Womens Research Institute was founded to focus on issues related to the improvement of women's and infants' health.