Two Major Steps for Breast Cancer Research

Research presented at the annual Radiological Society of North American suggests earlier mammograms for women are needed. Currently, breast cancer screening guidelines recommend that women begin mammography starting at age 50, repeating every other year. Previous studies have had conflicting results as to the most appropriate age to begin regular screenings. Significantly a 2009 study by the US Preventive Services Task Force which concluded there was insufficient data to prove that starting mammography at a younger age would significantly improve a patient’s outcome. Screenings at a younger age were only recommended for women who had a family history of the disease of dense breast tissue.

The new study, conducted by researchers at the University of California San Francisco, examined the cases of 136 women ages 40 to 49 who were diagnosed with breast cancer following a mammogram. Of the women, the majority of women did not have a strong family history of breast cancer nor Researchers concluded 75% of breast cancer cases could be potentially missed if women in their 40s do not receive regular breast cancer screeners. Many physicians have not adopted the Task Force guidelines. One such physician is Dr. Holly Phillips, CBS news medical contributor who claims she prefers to adhere to guidelines recommended by the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association. As quoted by CBSNews, Phillips says,

However, I recognize that screening is not without risk itself… More than any change in guidelines this year, I look forward to more research offering us a better overall understanding of this devastating disease — from risk factors, to preventive efforts, to diagnosis and treatment.”

In other breast cancer research news, early trials of the vaccine to stop the disease have shown early signs of success during the preliminary trial stage. The trial included 14 women who were injected with the vaccine which targets mammaglobin-A, a protein often found in high amounts in breast tumors.

Co-author of the study, Dr. William Gillanders, says as quoted by a CBSNews news article,

I don’t want to oversell this. This is a small clinical trial. But we can say confidently that the vaccine was safe… We can also say with confidence that we were able to generate an immune response in almost all the patients who were vaccinated. And there is preliminary evidence that the vaccine may have an impact on breast cancer progression. But that needs to be studied further to be confirmed.”

These latest developments reflect great progress for in breast cancer research.


Read more here- “Breast Cancer Researchers Recommend Early Mammograms for Better Prognosis,” (Jamie Hacking, The Westside Story)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.


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