Breastlink's Blog

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


Radiologist Experience Affects Quality of Mammogram Results

By |November 24, 2014|Categories: Imaging, Screening|Tags: |0 Comments

Many women are aware that annual mammogram screening should begin at age 40 according to American Cancer Society guidelines. This offers the best possible chance for early detection of breast cancer, which improves treatment prospects.

However, there is reason to believe that the quality of mammography results can vary from one radiologist to the next. New research suggests that experience matters when it comes to reading a mammogram.

Researchers have considered many factors affecting the quality of mammogram results. Studies have investigated characteristics of mammogram readers like age, years since receiving a medical degree and volume of mammograms read per year.

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia and Harvard Medical […]


Advanced, HER2 Negative Breast Cancer Treatment

By |November 17, 2014|Categories: Oncology|Tags: , |0 Comments

Different breast cancers behave in different ways, which necessitates separate treatment guidelines to address the individual characteristics of specific types of cancer. As knowledge evolves, treatment guidelines are updated to reflect up-to-date information about breast cancer. Recently, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) published guidelines on the use of chemotherapy and targeted therapy in the treatment of patients with advanced, HER2 negative breast cancer.

What is HER2 Negative Breast Cancer?

HER2, or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, is a protein that the human body develops to help regulate reproduction of the cells. Sometimes the gene responsible for developing this protein will over-replicate itself, which can result in overproduction of […]


Breast Cancer Genetic Testing – Battle for the Breasts

By |November 10, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |0 Comments

Bethany Hamilton emerged the winner in Surfline’s Battle for the Breasts, a friendly online video competition among some of the world’s best female surfers to raise awareness around breast cancer genetic testing. Participating on behalf of Breastlink and the Cancer Research Collaboration, Hamilton’s victory provided us the opportunity to offer our patients $50,000 worth of genetic testing courtesy of Ambry Genetics.

Breast Cancer Genetic Testing | Orange County, CA

Battle for the Breasts surfers promote breast cancer awareness.

Breastlink and the Cancer Research Collaboration were honored to have Bethany Hamilton as its representative in Battle for the Breasts. Hamilton has […]


Battle for the Breasts & Hereditary Breast Cancer Testing

By |October 23, 2014|Categories: News, Screening||0 Comments

Two finalists remain in Surfline’s Battle for the Breasts, a contest pitting some of the world’s leading women surfers against one another to raise breast cancer awareness.

Breastlink has an opportunity to receive $50,000 worth of hereditary breast cancer genetic testing vouchers if its representative in the competition, Bethany Hamilton, wins in the final round of voting. Voting ends on Sunday, October 26, 2014.

Battle for the Breasts Hereditary Breast Cancer

Hereditary Breast Cancer Testing Vouchers

Breastlink is honored to be represented by Bethany Hamilton. She has proven herself to be one of the world’s best surfers with multiple […]


Understanding Advancements in Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

By |October 21, 2014|Categories: Screening|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Our understanding of breast cancer is rapidly advancing. Breast cancer is not a single disease entity, but a heterogeneous disease spectrum with numerous genetic alterations involved in its pathogenesis.

  • Some breast cancers are indolent and not life-threatening, while others are very aggressive.
  • Similarly, we find different genetic alterations in different breast cancers.
  • Some of these genetic changes are familial, or the result of genetic mutations passed from parent to child.

The BRCA genes were the first to shed light on familial breast cancer genetics. Now we are capable of screening over a dozen different genes for mutations implicated in breast cancer risk. Navigating these new complexities in genetic testing can be challenging. It will […]


Why Pink for Breast Cancer?

By |October 3, 2014|Categories: News, Screening|Tags: |0 Comments

It’s virtually impossible to avoid the blush shade of pink in the month of October when we celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

A color long associated with little girls, princesses and all things light and airy is now ubiquitous, standing in as a shade that symbolizes the fight against breast cancer and an awareness of a disease once only spoken of in hushed tones.

Now we see manly football players proudly don pink socks and pink tennis shoes. Men don pink ties and shirts. It’s splashed across television, the fashion and cosmetics industry release special pink items. Even the University of Oregon outfitted their entire football team in special […]


Breast Cancer Genomics

By |September 26, 2014|Categories: Oncology, Surgery|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

The availability of molecular information on breast cancer genomics is rapidly expanding. Patients who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer can easily be overwhelmed by volumes of information in a very short period of time. The good news is that all of the information available is meant to guide personal decisions for cancer management so that we use biology and science for real-life choices. Knowledge is power.

Breast Cancer Genomics vs. Genetic Testing

The words “genomics” and “genetic testing” are used in many different settings. For example, genetic testing can be for a variety of purposes including diagnosing illness, mapping ancestral origin, screening embryos for disease, understanding drug metabolism and medication […]


Study Reveals Lumpectomy as Safe as Mastectomy

By |September 24, 2014|Categories: Surgery|Tags: |0 Comments

A recent study revealed great news for women facing early-stage invasive breast cancer: choosing to preserve some breast tissue rather than removing the entire breast isn’t inviting more risk.

Survival Rate is Higher with Lumpectomy vs Mastectomy

Actually, the survival rate for women choosing lumpectomies (also referred to as Breast-Conserving Surgery) and radiation, over mastectomies is significantly higher, according to the 2013 study.

Even when coupled with various factors – age, socioeconomic status, race, tumor grade, proportion of positive nodes and year of diagnosis – women were less likely to die with a lumpectomy.

For decades, the two surgeries were considered equivalent and […]


Mammogram Age Guidelines for Women Over 74

By |September 21, 2014|Categories: Imaging, Screening|Tags: |0 Comments

Is there a magic age after which a woman can terminate her screening mammogram?

In 2009 the United States Preventive Task Force (USPTF) controversially made a number of mammogram age guideline recommendations. These included the statement that there was insufficient evidence showcasing the benefits or harms of mammograms for older women. It also noted the need for additional randomized clinical trials to provide information comparing continued screening after the age of 75 with stopping screening (1).

A new study challenges this ideology and indicates that women over the age of 75 may no longer receive a free pass. This study supports the mammogram age guidelines of the American Cancer […]


Susan G Komen Orange County Breast Health Talk

By |September 9, 2014|Categories: Dr. Lisa Curcio, Nutrition|Tags: , |0 Comments

Susan G Komen Orange County is a non-profit organization working hard to support breast health and breast cancer awareness initiatives in our local communities. These efforts include an annual lecture series dedicated to informing women about breast health topics including prevention, screening, diagnostics, treatment and survivorship.

I was honored to participate in their 2013 Breast Health Education series with my lecture entitled “You Are What You Eat.” More than 200 women attended the talk – the question and answer portion was fantastic. During my 2013 talk on how diet can affect your risk of breast cancer, I shared perspectives on how dietary changes may reduce the risk of new breast […]