breast 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/

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.