Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Positive progress

While we get mired down in a pinkified world for the month, I would like to take a moment to remind people of the progress against breast cancer so far this year. While the article was written regarding progress for African American women, I think it shows progress for all races:

  1. 1. One treatment does not fit all. The study released this summer showing four separate classes of breast cancer, this shows more clearly why some races are affected differently than others.
  2. "D" Stands For Decreased Risk - A study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research in April revealed African-American women with the highest levels of vitamin D also had a specific variation in the vitamin D receptor that cut their breast cancer risk in half, compared to women without it. 
  3. Even Moderate Exercise Helps -In June, researchers at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill found that women who exercise between 10 and 19 hours each week had a 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer. And there isn't a need to break a serious sweat either.  All levels of exercise intensity were linked with a decreased risk, the study authors said.
  4. Regular Screening Are Key To Closing Racial Gaps - According to a study published in Breast Cancer Research in August, mammograms may be the key to closing the breast cancer gap between black and white women. When study participants received regular breast screening, "there was no difference in the rate of how many of them presented in the disease's later stages," researchers found.
  5. Affordable Care Is Within Reach
    In a commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness month Monday, President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius credited the Affordable Care Act with bringing on "a new day for women's health and the fight against breast cancer."
    According to Sebelius, the healthcare law "means that women can get the potentially life-saving services they need to detect breast cancer before it spreads, without worrying how a copay would affect their family budget."
  6. Existing Treatments Work
    A September study by Washington University researchers suggests basal-like breast tumors, one of the deadliest forms of the disease that has been shown to disproportionately affect younger women and those who are African-American, have a similar genetic makeup to ovarian tumors and could potentially be treated with the same drugs. 
  7. Triple-Negative Treatments Are Closer
    The notoriously fatal triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) may have met its match, according to researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York who found that a form of the small pox virus can be used against TBNC.
    In the study released this week, researchers found that a certain form of smallpox vaccine was able to kill 90 percent of TBNC cells in four days of treatment. It also inhibited blood flow to the cancer stopping its spread.
    TNBC is found in about 15 out of every 100 cases and is more likely to occur in Hispanics and African Americans. 
Progress is progress. All races should be recognized in breast cancer research. Cancer is color blind so its progress needs to be as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fabulous summary. Thank you. I learned alot! Robin

PS-- I hope you are following the beautiful Suleika who writes about her cancer journey at the NYT. She is an insightful writer. Most thursdays in the Health section.