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Breast Health & Disease Archive

Articles

If it’s not breast cancer, should you worry?

Published November 1, 2021
Most breast lumps are not cancerous. Some 80% of biopsies are negative. But some women develop noncancerous breast conditions that may raise their risk of a future cancer. For women with these conditions, doctors may recommend additional monitoring. This might include additional screenings, or screenings using other technology, such as MRI or breast ultrasound.

Cancer report shows a mixed bag

Published October 1, 2021
Women are being diagnosed with cancer at a higher rate than in the past—but death rates for women with the disease are down, says a report published July 8, 2021, in JNCI: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Reducing heart risks in the wake of breast cancer treatment

Published August 1, 2021
Hormone therapy is a highly successful breast cancer treatment for women, but it can elevate cardiovascular risk. Women can reduce those risks by being vigilant about their heart health and working closely with their doctors. Women who have taken or are taking these medications as part of breast cancer treatment should focus on adopting a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and keeping close tabs on their blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.

Breast centers out of step with federal mammography recommendations

Updated June 1, 2021
Breast centers and the federal government often differ when it comes to breast cancer screening recommendations.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect my mammogram?

Updated June 1, 2021
The COVID-19 vaccine may cause a harmless temporary swelling of lymph nodes that could be mistaken for cancer on a mammogram or other imaging test.

Can taking aspirin regularly help prevent breast cancer?

Updated February 1, 2021

Experts say there's little evidence that low-dose aspirin therapy brings benefits, and there are some risks.

In recent years, there's been a lot of talk about the potential benefits, and risks, of a regular regimen of low-dose aspirin. While much of the discussion has centered on whether taking low-dose aspirin can head off cardiovascular disease, some of the focus has also been on breast cancer. Can regular doses of this over-the-counter pain reliever reduce your risk of this common cancer?

For a while there were hints that the evidence was leaning that way. Back in 2017, this area of research, while still inconclusive, was somewhat promising. For example, a 2017 study published in Breast Cancer Research found that among some 57,000 women, those who reported taking low-dose aspirin (81 mg) at least three times a week had a 16% lower risk of breast cancer over all and a 20% lower risk of a specific type of hormonally driven breast cancer.

Don’t delay cancer treatment during the pandemic

Updated February 1, 2021

News briefs

The pandemic may have you feeling reluctant to seek medical treatment. But when it comes to cancer care, even a short delay in treatment may lead to deadly outcomes, according to a review of 34 studies published online Nov. 4, 2020, by BMJ. Researchers evaluated treatment delay and survival in more than a million people who had cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, rectum, lung, cervix, or head and neck. Each four-week delay in treatment — whether surgery, radiation therapy, or medication (such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy) — was associated with an increase of 6% to 8% in the likelihood of dying during the study period. Scientists say delays of up to eight weeks and 12 weeks further increased the risk of death. For example, in women who delayed breast cancer surgery by eight weeks, there was a 17% increased death risk; women who delayed surgery by 12 weeks had a 26% increase. Keep in mind, there are lots of unavoidable reasons why cancer treatment might be delayed, such as not being strong enough to undergo procedures or scheduling issues at a treatment center. But if there isn't a good reason to delay, it's best to get treatment as soon as possible.

Image: FG Trade/Getty Images

More intensive treatment of DCIS reduces the risk of invasive breast cancer

Updated January 21, 2021
With increased rates of diagnosis of very early breast cancer known as ductal carcinoma in situ, there has been controversy about treatment. A recent study found that having DCIS was likely to lead to invasive breast cancer later, and also that women who chose more intensive treatment early were less likely to have invasive breast cancer.

Women with DCIS at increased risk for breast cancer death

Updated December 1, 2020

Research we're watching

Treatment for women with a type of early breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) might not be doing enough to prevent deaths from the disease, says a study published online Sept. 16, 2020, by JAMA Network Open. The study sought to determine whether women diagnosed with DCIS had a higher risk of dying from breast cancer than women who did not have the disease. They looked at 144,524 women who were diagnosed with DCIS from 1994 and 2014 and then treated for the condition. Researchers compared them against women without DCIS from the general population. They found that the women with DCIS had three times the risk of dying of breast cancer in the follow-up period, which ran until December 2016, than women without DCIS. Study authors suggest ways that might identify which women with DCIS need more aggressive therapy to prevent breast cancer death.

Image: © belchonock/Getty Images

Aspirin and breast cancer risk: How a wonder drug may become more wonderful

Updated October 23, 2020
Over the years, the list of aspirin’s potential benefits has grown: a number of studies suggest that taking aspirin regularly can lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Now recent studies suggest that aspirin may also reduce the risk of breast cancer.

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