Breastlink's Blog

A breast cancer blog with news, opinion, research and practice updates.


Developments in Radiation Therapy and Surgery

By |February 15, 2015|Categories: Surgery||0 Comments

A lot of exciting advancements in breast cancer research were announced this past December at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS). In a previous post, we touched upon some of the developments in breast cancer screening, prevention and genetic testing. In this post, we will look at several other interesting updates presented at the 2014 SABCS.

  • Predicting outcome for women with DCIS who avoid radiation.
  • Developments in radiation therapy suggesting women could benefit from shorter courses of radiation therapy as opposed to longer courses.
  • Trends and controversies surround contralateral prophylactic mastectomy.

San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2014

Genomic Testing, DCIS and Avoiding Radiation

In […]


Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy News

By |February 2, 2015|Categories: Surgery|Tags: |0 Comments

Offering centralized breast cancer treatment can improve processes for breast reconstruction care. By establishing a comprehensive breast health center, one provider was able to dramatically reduce the time it took for patients to schedule breast reconstruction after mastectomy.

Composed of multidisciplinary teams of physicians dedicated solely to breast health care, comprehensive breast health centers deliver improved patient care by housing these providers in one location for the purpose of streamlining breast cancer care. One breast health center recently attempted to measure these improvements in a case study published November 2014 in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

How collaborative care can improve treatment

In this case study, outcomes for patients treated […]


Do Breast Density Laws Improve Public Knowledge?

By |January 26, 2015|Categories: Imaging, Screening|Tags: |0 Comments

It is essential that women and their physicians understand how breast density affects breast cancer risk and screening. As of December 2014, 18 states had passed breast density laws to help improve public knowledge surrounding breast density by requiring radiologists to inform patients when mammography reveals dense breast tissue.

Despite these developments, several recent surveys suggest that neither patients nor physicians fully understand the relationship between dense breast tissue, breast cancer risk, and breast cancer screening.

Patient Knowledge Regarding Breast Density

Public awareness campaigns to promote mammography screening have been effective and a significant reason breast cancer mortality has fallen over the past several years. In a survey conducted by the Working […]


Can Cryoablation treat breast cancer?

By |January 19, 2015|Categories: Dr. Lisa Curcio, Research, Surgery|Tags: , |0 Comments

Cryoablation is a novel treatment currently used to treat benign breast tumors (called fibroadenomas). Cryoablation is now being studied in patients with certain types of small breast cancer. The treatment places a small probe in the center of the cancer and subsequently uses liquid nitrogen to destroy breast cancer tumors by freezing them.

In the treatment of fibroadenomas, cryoablation has proven less invasive and less likely to affect cosmetic appearance than surgery. It could be possible for breast cancer patients to enjoy the same benefits in the future.

How does cryoablation work?

The American Society of Breast Surgeons calls cryoablation of fibroadenoma ‘safe, efficacious and durable.’ Currently, the American Society of Breast […]


SABCS 2014: ER Positive Breast Cancer Treatments

By |January 16, 2015|Categories: Oncology, Research|Tags: , , |0 Comments

As the 37th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) drew to a close, a range of intriguing clinical observations and long-awaited trial updates had made the event a valuable experience for investigators and attendees alike. Among some of the most interesting updates, in my opinion, were advancements in treatments for estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) breast cancer, premenopausal breast cancers and advanced breast cancers.

San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2014

ER Positive Breast Cancers

Results from the FERGI trial were presented at this year’s meeting. This trial is investigating the new agent pictilisib, which belong to a new class of drugs called PI3K inhibitors that […]


Informing Women About the Benefits of a Mammogram Exam

By |January 12, 2015|Categories: Imaging, Screening|Tags: , |0 Comments

Despite large-scale campaigns to publicize the importance of breast cancer screening, a lot of faulty information regarding the mammogram exam is still being delivered to patients and sometimes interpreted as fact.

To gauge where gaps in knowledge about breast cancer screening are most commonly occurring, the Working Mother Research Institute recently surveyed more than 2,500 women aged 35 and older to see what they know. While the results contain good news, there are areas where physicians can better educate their patients.

Most Women Have Been Screened

Fortunately, many women are well aware of the importance of screening. A majority of women (80 percent) surveyed for the ‘Working Mother Breast […]


SABCS 2014: Breast Cancer Prevention, Screening & Genetic Testing

By |January 5, 2015|Categories: News, Oncology, Research, Screening|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

This year at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) there were two aspects of breast cancer that were clearly emphasized: use of ovarian suppression in premenopausal women with breast cancer and advances in genetic testing for hereditary cancer predisposition.

San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2014

Results of the SOFT trial (further detailed by Dr. Wade Smith in this post), show a clear benefit to the addition of ovarian suppression in women under the age of 35. This benefit resembles that seen with the addition of Herceptin for HER2+ cancer, and now calls for a change in practice management.

The second “call for action” released […]


Researchers Investigate 3D Mammography Cost-Effectiveness

By |December 29, 2014|Categories: Imaging, Screening|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Early research has shown that 3D mammography can improve breast cancer detection rates and reduce false-positive rates. In women with dense breast tissue, which can mask cancers on conventional mammography, 3D mammography is emerging as a valuable supplemental screening tool.

Is 3D Mammography Cost Effective?

Recent research published in Radiology concluded that 3D mammography is a cost-effective way to screen for cancer in women with dense breast tissue. Using data collected from the National Cancer Institute and Medicare, researchers from the University of Washington and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance attempted to calculate the cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) added when 3D mammography was performed in combination […]


BRCA 1 and BRCA2 Genes: What Do Women Need to Know?

By |December 17, 2014|Categories: Dr. Lisa Curcio, Screening|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Inherited genetic mutations can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. For instance, a mutation in two of the better-understood genes linked to a substantial increased risk of breast cancer, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, account for up to:

  • 10 percent of all breast cancers.
  • 50 percent of hereditary breast cancers (caused by inherited genetic mutations).

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer should take time to learn how genetic testing is appropriate for them. It is important to remember that risk can be passed down from either your father or mother. A detailed knowledge of the medical history of your relatives can be extremely helpful.

Other mutations can increase […]


SABCS 2014: Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy Preview

By |December 7, 2014|Categories: Oncology, Research, Surgery|Tags: , |0 Comments

Every year, some of the world’s leading experts on breast cancer gather for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS). One of the premier forums on the subject, SABCS offers physicians and allied health professionals an environment conducive to the exchange of ideas and discussion around current trends in breast cancer research.

This is an excellent opportunity to meet with others passionate about breast health care, as well as to learn about new ways we can help patients. At this year’s SABCS, I am excited to learn more about the results of a trial investigating the use of radiation therapy, new markers for identifying cancer in the blood, advances in […]