breast cancer

Photo courtesy of Gabriel and Sarah Bosslet

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Physicians Gabriel and Sarah Bosslet have been married almost 20 years. Sarah was diagnosed early this year with breast cancer. Soon, the world began dealing with another health crisis: the coronavirus pandemic. 

Paige Pfleger, Side Effects Public Media

The Midwest is home to one of the largest Amish populations in the nation. And many of these settlements overlap with rural Appalachian counties, where access to healthcare is hard to come by. But a project in Ohio aims to help by bringing cancer screenings to Amish women. 

When it comes to breast cancer deaths, place and race matter

Jul 9, 2018
Creative Commons/Pixabay

For breast cancer patients, race and geography can mean the difference between surviving and succumbing.

Washington University researchers have identified distinct hot spots in the U.S. where women are more likely to die from breast cancer. For African-American women and Latinas, these hot spots are predominantly clustered in specific regions across the southern U.S.

Tattoo Artists Offer Mastectomy Patients Another Way To Heal

Mar 12, 2018
Alex Stern / WHYY/The Pulse

“The first time I looked in the mirror and saw myself after my double mastectomy, it was kind of shocking,” Maureen Matteis-Bilbee says.

Cancer-Coaching Grandmothers Hold Hands, Lift Spirits

Oct 26, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

When a new friend threatened to cancel her mastectomy, Ella Jones’ mothering instincts kicked in.

“I went over to the bed, and I rubbed her and talked to her, and explained in general terms what was going to happen,” said Jones. “If she had gotten up out of that bed and left, she would have never done any treatment.”


Many Breast Cancer Patients Receive More Radiation Therapy Than Needed

Oct 23, 2017

When Annie Dennison was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she readily followed advice from her medical team, agreeing to harsh treatments in the hope of curing her disease.

"You're terrified out of your mind" after a diagnosis of cancer, said Dennison, 55, a retired psychologist from Orange County, Calif.

In addition to lumpectomy surgery, chemotherapy and other medications, Dennison underwent six weeks of daily radiation treatments. She agreed to the lengthy radiation regimen, she said, because she had no idea there was another option.

Jill Sheridan / IPB News

The world’s only normal breast tissue bank marked its 10th year collecting and researching healthy women’s breast tissue last week.

Women in their 40s at average risk for breast cancer should talk to their health care provider about the risks and benefits of mammography before starting regular screening at that age, according to guidelines released Thursday by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Called Back After A Mammogram? Doctors Are Trying To Make It Less Scary

Oct 15, 2015

When I left my first mammogram appointment a few weeks ago, I felt fine.

Everything had gone smoothly, the technologist hadn't made a concerned face when she looked at the screen, and I was convinced I'd get the all-clear from my primary care doctor in a week or so.

Then came the phone calls the following day — first from my doctor's office, then from the mammography center — telling me the radiologist had seen something that didn't look quite right. I needed to come back for another mammogram and this time an ultrasound exam, too.

Treatment Changes For DCIS Haven't Affected Breast Cancer Deaths

Oct 14, 2015

The number of women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, abnormal cells that sometimes become breast cancer, has soared since the 1970s. That's mostly because more women have been getting screening mammograms that can detect the tiny lesions.

The vast majority of women diagnosed with DCIS have surgery, even though there's considerable debate whether it's needed, since DCIS sometimes never becomes invasive cancer.

A new study that uses blood samples collected more than 50 years ago finds that women who were exposed to the pesticide DDT in the womb have a four-fold increase in breast cancer risk today.

A new California company announced Monday it is offering a much cheaper and easier way for women to get tested for genetic mutations that increase their risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Color Genomics of Burlingame, Calif., has begun selling a $249 test that it says can accurately analyze a saliva sample for mutations in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, as well as check for 17 other genetic variants that have been associated with a somewhat increased risk for cancer of the breast or ovaries.

Researcher Natascia Marino seated next to a microscope
Sandy Roob

Any biologist worth her salt knows that to properly study abnormal cells – say, cancer cells – you need normal healthy cells for comparison. Before the Komen Tissue Bank opened in Indianapolis in 2007, cancer researchers would take “normal” breast tissue from a cancer patient – two centimeters from her tumor-- or from breast reduction surgeries, according to executive director Dr. Anna Maria Storniolo. “As you might imagine, two centimeters away from a cancer molecularly speaking can’t possibly be really normal,” she says.

National Cancer Institute

At UC San Francisco and other hospitals and clinics around the nation, “shared decision making” programs encourage doctors and patients to work together in making tough choices about care.

Rose Gutierrez has a big decision to make. Gutierrez, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring, had surgery and 10 weeks of chemotherapy. But the cancer is still there. Now Dr. Jasmine Wong, a surgeon at UC San Francisco, is explaining the choices .

Living With Cancer Without Letting It Define Me

Mar 10, 2015

Last week a friend of mine messaged me, asking how I was.  I had just had some tests and another treatment for my third recurrence of cancer and he wanted to check in.

I’d met my friend when we were both serving on a public affairs steering committee, affiliated with the National Cancer Institute. I was working at the Indiana University School of Medicine and he was at the City of Hope Hospital in Southern California. During the time we served together, I developed breast cancer for the second time, in 2008, after a 25-year hiatus from my first diagnosis. Four years later, my breast cancer metastasized and I began an innovative treatment path that included proton therapy to my skull, followed by monthly injections to prevent the cancer from forming in my other bones and organs.

Pregnant With Cancer: One Woman's Journey

Feb 11, 2015

After years of debating whether to have a second child, my husband, Mark, and I decided to give it a try. Two weeks later, we found a lump. I was 35.

Women and their doctors have a hard time figuring out the pluses and minuses of screening mammograms for breast cancer. It doesn't help that there's been fierce dissent over the benefits of screening mammography for women under 50 and for older women.

Jason Armstrong/Flickr.com

DURHAM, N.C. – Women over the age of 70 who have certain early-stage breast cancers overwhelmingly receive radiation therapy despite published evidence that the treatment has limited benefit, researchers at Duke Medicine report.

The study suggests that doctors and patients may find it difficult to withhold treatment previously considered standard of care, even in the setting of high quality data demonstrating that the advantages are small.

Radiation treatment for breast cancer could take less time and cost less for many women, but doctors aren't putting that knowledge into practice, a study finds.

And one reason is that the doctors in charge of radiation treatment will make less money, according to Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a study author and chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cancer doctors want the best, most effective treatment for their patients. But it turns out many aren't paying attention to evidence that older women with early stage breast cancer may be enduring the pain, fatigue and cost of radiation treatment although it doesn't increase life expectancy.

A Personal Story About Cancer

Nov 13, 2014

This is a reflection from Here & Now’s Alex Ashlock on how cancer has touched his family.

It was a cloudy Monday morning in normally sunny Southern California. People were shuffling into the University of California San Diego Health Center in La Jolla.

Some pushed walkers. Some wore masks.

In the waiting room, a man sat next to a woman in a wheelchair. She looked really sick. He was fighting back tears and losing the fight. She patted him softly on his shoulder.

The lump first surfaced in my breast in 1989, when I was 36 years old.

To many young women, a small lump like that wouldn't be cause for alarm because most breast lumps are benign. But there's a long history of breast cancer in my family, so I immediately consulted a renowned breast surgeon. "It's nothing to worry about," she said. My mammogram was completely normal. She thought the lump was merely normal breast tissue.

But four years later I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer.

HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Oct 31, 2014
stock photo

“We talk about breast cancer and other forms of cancer often here on Sound Medicine. And we can sometimes get into the weeds in discussing different genes and treatments and whatnot. So we thought we’d take a step back now and dig a little deeper into one particularly common form of breast cancer, and how treatments for it have really been transformed in the past decade. Out of an estimated 200 thousand cases of breast cancer each year, every one in five falls into the category of “HER2” cancer… Joining me to discuss what that means and how it’s treated is Dr. Eric Winer. Dr. Winer is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and director of the breast oncology center at the Dana Farber Institute in Boston.”

Genetic Screening Could Reduce Number Of Breast Cancer Cases

Oct 31, 2014
Susana Fernandez/Flickr.com

Should every newborn baby girl be genetically screened for breast-cancer risk? That isn’t cost-effective — yet. But if it were, would it be worthwhile?

A previous study said no. But in a paper published Oct. 23 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers at the School of Medicine suggest otherwise.

Stat: Skirt Size

Oct 10, 2014
Maureen Didde/Flickr.com

There could be a link between waist size and risk of breast cancer, according to a recent study. 

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