Meditation shown to reduce pain during breast cancer biopsy

Meditation is a practice of the mind and body that has long been used to generate calmness and physical relaxation. Now, a new study suggests that women who are having breast cancer biopsies should use meditation, as it reduces anxiety, fatigue and pain.

The researchers, from the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, NC, publish their findings in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Undergoing a breast biopsy is not pleasant, to say the least. It involves removing breast tissue to examine it for signs of breast cancers, and women undergoing this procedure often experience pain during and afterward.

“Patients who experience pain and anxiety may move during the procedure, which can reduce the effectiveness of biopsy, or they may not adhere to follow-up screening and testing,” says Dr. Mary Scott Soo, lead author from Duke.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), previous studies have shown that meditation can reduce blood pressure and even reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Medical News Today recently reported on a study that suggested mindfulness meditation can bring greater pain relief than a placebo.

And other research suggests meditation may physically change the brain and body, improving many health problems and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Meditation ‘a good alternative to drugs in these settings’
To conduct their study, Dr. Soo and colleagues randomized 121 women who needed breast biopsies into three groups: guided meditation, music and a standard-care control group.

During the biopsy, the women in the meditation group listened to an “audio-recorded, guided, loving-kindness meditation,” which focused on acquiring positive emotions and releasing negative ones.

Meanwhile, the women in the music group listened to relaxing music, which was a choice of instrumental jazz, classical piano, harp and flute, nature sounds or world music. The control group received supportive words from the biopsy team.

Both before and after the biopsy, the patients filled out questionnaires that measured their nervousness and anxiety, ranked their biopsy pain from zero to 10 and gauged their feelings of weakness and fatigue.

Results showed that the women in the meditation and music groups reported much greater post-biopsy reductions in anxiety and fatigue, compared with the control group, which reported increased fatigue.

Furthermore, the women in the meditation group experienced significantly lower pain during the biopsy, compared with the women in the music group.

“Image-guided needle biopsies for diagnosing breast cancer are very efficient and successful,” says Dr. Soo. “but the anxiety and potential pain can have a negative impact on patient care.”

Source: medical news today

Gel lowers blood clot risk for breast cancer patients

Gel lowers blood clot risk for breast cancer patients

A gel form of a popular drug taken orally to prevent breast cancer has brought cheers for such patients as this can reduce the growth of cancer cells with minimum side effects.

Tamoxifen is an oral drug that is used for breast cancer prevention and as therapy for non-invasive breast cancer and invasive cancer.

Since the gel form of the drug is absorbed through the skin directly into breast tissue, blood levels of the drug are much lower and it minimises dangerous side effects like blood clots and uterine cancer, researchers said.

“Delivering the drug though a gel, if proven effective in larger trials, could potentially replace oral tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention and encourage many more women to take it,” said lead author Seema Khan, a surgical oncologist from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

The gel was tested on women diagnosed with the non-invasive cancer ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in which abnormal cells multiply and form a growth in a milk duct. Because of potential side effects, many women with DCIS are reluctant to take oral tamoxifen.

The new study involved 26 women, ages 45 to 86, who had been diagnosed with DCIS that was sensitive to estrogen. Half the women received the gel which they applied daily and half the oral drug, which they took daily.

The gel minimised exposure to the rest of the body and concentrated the drug in the breast where it is needed. “There was very little drug in the bloodstream in women who used gel which should avoid potential blood clots as well as an elevated risk for uterine cancer,” Khan noted.

The paper was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Source; Business standard

High cholesterol linked to greater breast cancer risk

High cholesterol linked to greater breast cancer risk

In a significant discovery, scientists have found a link between high blood cholesterol and breast cancer in a study of more than one million patients over a 14 year time period in Britain.

“Our preliminary study suggests that women with high cholesterol in their blood may be at a greater risk of getting breast cancer,” said Rahul Potluri, founder of the Algorithm for Comorbidities, Associations, Length of stay and Mortality (ACALM) study.

It raises the possibility of preventing breast cancer with statins, which lowers cholesterol, he added. The researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of more than one million patients across Britain between 2000 and 2013.

There were 664,159 women and of these, 22,938 had hyperlipidaemia and 9,312 had breast cancer. Some 530 women with hyperlipidaemia developed breast cancer.

The researchers found that having hyperlipidaemia increased the risk of breast cancer by 1.64 times.

“We found that women with high cholesterol had a significantly greater chance of developing breast cancer. This was an observational study so we can’t conclude that high cholesterol causes breast cancer but the strength of this association warrants further investigation,” Potluri said.

The research was presented on Friday at “Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology (FCVB) 2014” seminar in Barcelona, Spain.

Source: khaleej times

Could a New Blood Test Predict Breast Cancer Risk?

blood test for Breast Cancer

Researchers believe they may have a new way to test a woman’s risk for breast cancer, even if she doesn’t have an inherited genetic mutation.

The test looks not for mutations, but for changes to how DNA functions — in this case, the BRCA1 breast cancer gene.

It’s important because most cases of breast cancer are not caused by inherited DNA mutations. About 40 percent of breast cancer cases can be explained by genetic susceptibility, which leaves most to outside causes such as diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol use.

“Women who carry the signature are at particularly higher risk of developing breast cancer in the future,” said Martin Widschwendter at University College London, who led the study.

The researchers looked for changes made by a process called methylation, which can step up or down a gene’s function.

BRCA1 brakes cell growth, stopping the out-of-control proliferation that turns a healthy cell into a tumor.

Widschwendter and colleagues tested blood from women with and without BRCA1 mutations before they ever developed breast cancer. Both groups had similar changes in the DNA methylation, they report in the journal Genome Research.

“It was able to predict breast cancer risk several years before diagnosis,” Widschwendter said. The changes may be caused by factors that raise breast cancer risk, such as obesity and drinking too much alcohol, he says.

The researchers tested their “signature” in three different groups of women and found it could consistently predict who would develop cancer five to 12 years later.

“I think this is a productive direction,” says Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel, director for clinical cancer genetics at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women. It will be diagnosed in more than 200,000 U.S. women this year and will kill 40,000.

There’s a debate over how best to prevent it and who benefits most from screening. Right now, women get conflicting advice on when to get mammograms — starting at age 40 or age 50, depending on who’s talking. And there’s disagreement over how often women should get one — once a year, every other year or even every three years.

A simple test that could show who’s at the highest risk of the most dangerous types of breast cancer could help women decide. “A test could help us tailor screening and risk reduction for women,” said Weitzel. For instance, recent research suggested that women with the very highest risk should remove their ovaries.

“We know that we can change risk,” Weitzel said.

Women at high risk can also take tamoxifen to reduce that risk and those at the very highest risk can consider having mastectomies to reduce — but not eliminate — the likelihood that they will get breast cancer. “Most of us think the absolute risk should be 50 percent or more before you offer surgical removal,” said Weitzel.

The test is far from ready for prime time. Right now it’s not terribly accurate, says Widschwendter. It was only tried in a few women. And the team tested blood. It might be better to test cervical cells, perhaps as a test alongside the regular Pap smear that many women get, because these cells respond to the same hormones associated with most cases of breast cancer.

Researchers are still working to understand all the underlying causes of breast cancer. Just this month, another team discovered that women with many moles also had a slightly higher-than-usual breast cancer risk.

More than 75 different genes are linked with breast cancer risk. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the best known.

Source: NBC news

Tea drinkers have reduced risk of breast cancer


Tea is rich in polyphenols, including catechins and gallocatchins, which have been reported to have antioxidant activity and potential anti-tumour effect.

Tea drinkers could have less of a breast cancer risk as it increases the functions of blood vessels, says a new research.

The aim of this latest analysis was to evaluate the links between tea consumption and physical activity and breast cancer risk among Chinese women, reports

Commenting on the new research, women’s health specialist Catherine Hood said: “Compared with non-drinkers, regular tea drinkers had a 21 per cent decreased risk of breast cancer. This beneficial finding is likely to be associated with the polyphenol content of tea.”

Tea is rich in polyphenols, including catechins and gallocatchins, which have been reported to have antioxidant activity and potential anti-tumour effect.

Hood said 39 studies involving 13,204 breast cancer cases and 87,248 controls were identified for the entire study. Among the total number of studies, 16 involved tea consumption with a total of 28,737 cases and 60,936 controls.

A new study also says that black tea improves the function of the blood vessels.

Looking at this research further, another health expert, Tim Bond, said: “Several previous studies have found that black tea and its flavonoids have direct effects on the blood vessels improving vascular function.”

“The aim of this study was to see if tea improves vascular function by helping to prevent injury of the blood vessels in the face of ischaemia (restriction in blood supply), which is a frequent occurrence in cardiovascular disease.”

Source: khaleej times

New breakthrough to help in fight against ‘aggressive’ breast cancer


Researchers have reported a discovery that they hope would lead to the development of a powerful new way of treating an aggressive form of breast cancer.

The breast cancer subtype in question is commonly called “HER2-positive”; it’s a subset of the disease affecting about one patient in four, in which tumor cells overexpress a signaling protein called HER2.

The blockbuster drug Herceptin is a treatment of choice for many women with HER2-positive breast cancer, but in most cases, resistance to the treatment develops within several years. The prognosis for HER2-positive breast cancer patients is worse than for those with other subtypes of the illness.

A multi-institution team led by CSHL Professor Nicholas Tonks reported that it has found a means of inhibiting another protein, called PTP1B, whose expression is also upregulated in HER2-positive breast cancer.
PTP1B has been shown to play a critical role in the development of tumors in which HER2 signaling is aberrant.

When they treated mice modeling HER2-positive breast cancer with a PTP1B inhibitor called MSI-1436 (also called trodusquemine), Tonks and colleagues inhibited signaling by HER2 proteins.

Dr. Tonks discovered PTP1B some 25 years ago. It is an enzyme – one in a “superfamily” of 105 called protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) — that perform the essential biochemical task of removing phosphate groups from amino acids called tyrosines in other proteins. Adding and removing phosphate groups is one of the means by which signals are sent among proteins.

The new paper by Tonks and collaborators importantly reveals an alternative binding site, called an allosteric site, that does not present the biochemical difficulties that the active, or “catalytic,” binding site does. This allosteric site is a target of the candidate drug trodusquemine.

The paper has been published online in the journal Nature Chemical Biology

Source: Yahoo news

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Breast cancer is the most common cancer afflicting many women around the world. Generally a painless breast lump is the first indication of an impending breast malignancy, but not all lumps are cancerous.

Thus, understanding the early signs and symptoms of the disease can cut unwanted stress and anxiety associated with the disease.

Various Breast Cancer Symptoms
• A lump or hardening of an area of the breast – Development of the lump or thickening of the tissue of the breast.

• A bloody or clear discharge from the nipple – A bloody discharge or a clear discharge, especially in women who are not breastfeeding, should be investigated by a healthcare professional.

• A change in size or shape of either one or both breasts – Any kind of asymmetry of the breasts, like dimpling, swelling or shrinkage of the breast should be closely investigated.

• Any change in the feel or appearance of the nipple – Nipple that appears to have turned inward or sunken into the breast.

• Any change in the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple – Consult a doctor if the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple becomes scaly, red, or swollen.

• A rash on or around the nipple – In a rare form of breast cancer, a rash around the nipple mimicking the looks of small patch of eczema may appear.

• Formation of lump in the armpits or pain in the underarms – The area of the underarms also makes up the breast region. Any formation of lump in the armpits or pain in the underarms should not be taken lightly.

• Pain in the breast – Pain in either of the breasts or armpits which is not related to one’s period cycle should be investigated.

Source: the med guru

New discovery promises low cost test for breast cancer

breast-cancer-drugIn a major advancement for breast cancer treatment in the country, doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai have developed an effective and comparatively cheaper method of diagnosing the possible spread of tumour in the breast.

A team of surgeons led by Dr Anurag Srivastava, professor and head of the surgery department at AIIMS, employed the use of a cheaper dye – fluorescein as a tracer material – during Sentinel node biopsy to map the apparent spread of the tumour. The fluorescein, when injected, illuminates under an ultraviolet light.

The mapping technique helps to determine whether the cancer cells have spread out from the tumour and into the surrounding lymph nodes and a tracer material is used during sentinel lymph node mapping in breast cancer.

Until now isotopes and blue dye were used as agents to examine lymph nodes to determine whether the cancer has spread and to what extent. The isotopes are then detected by the use of Gamma Detection Pro machine, which costs around Rs 20 lakh.

Presently, this mapping technology is available with only four hospitals in India — All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai; Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow; and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.

Hence, the treatment is very costly and out of reach of many hospitals in India.

Dr Srivastava told India Medical Times, “Three-four years back, we surgeons were sitting and contemplating how we can make breast cancer treatment an affordable treatment. Till now, technology used is quite expensive and many hospitals cannot afford to install it. So, we started working on the novel idea in 2010 at Tata Memorial Hospital and in 2011 the research was started in AIIMS. We researched on about 40 patients at both the hospitals. We used fluorescein during Sentinel lymph node biopsy, instead of isotopes, which are commonly being used and are very costly. Fluorescein costs about Rs 30 or so. Fluorescein is also successfully used during a fluorescein eye stain test.”

“When we used Fluorescein, it appeared that it had the same pick up rate as that of an isotope. The dye appears green and quickly detects the possible spread of tumour in the lymph nodes of armpits of a woman affected with breast cancer. The sentinel-node identification rate using the new technique was 97.5 per cent. The lamp that we used to beam ultraviolet light costs a few hundred rupees. Hence, the whole process is very affordable to be used by any hospital,” he said.

Doctors from AIIMS, who were a part of the team led by Dr Anurag Srivastava are — Dr V Seenu, professor of surgery; Dr Anita Dhar, additional professor of surgery; and Dr Amar Prem, resident doctor, surgery department.

Dr Srivastava now plans to popularize the treatment. He said, “We are going to talk about the research in detail at a conference to be held in Kolkata from June 12-15. We are soon organising a meeting at AIIMS with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to highlight the research, its benefits and application. I want that every single patient should be benefitted by low cost treatment.”

“We can now help hospitals provide a quality treatment without compromising with their budget by an effectively mapping technology. We would never want denial of cancer treatment for lack of accessibility. The technology should be soon adopted in treatment of breast cancer,” he said.

Source: India medical Times

Fertility drugs not tied to long term breast cancer risk

According to long-term study data published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, women who took fertility treatments were no more likely to develop breast cancer during 30 years of follow-up than those who never used the drugs, as reported in the Chicago Tribune.

Investigators analyzed records for 9892 women in the US who were followed for some 30 years after having been evaluated for infertility between 1965 and 1988.

Approximately 38 percent of the study participants were exposed to the fertility drug clomiphene, while roughly 10 percent were exposed to gonadotropins. In the 30 years of follow-up, 749 breast cancers were diagnosed among the study participants.

Results suggested that women who were exposed to either type of fertility drug were no more likely to develop breast cancer overall, than those who did not take the medicines to stimulate ovulation.

However, a higher risk of breast cancer was noticed among a small subset of women who had been prescribed the highest doses of clomiphene, although researchers said the reasons for this are unclear.

The authors cautioned that further study of women who receive fertility treatments is needed, because many women included in the current study had not yet reached the age range when breast cancer diagnoses are most common.

Source: First Word

Gene linked to deadly breast cancer found

Scientists from Weill Cornell Medical College and Houston Methodist have found that a gene previously unassociated with breast cancer plays a pivotal role in the growth and progression of the triple negative form of the disease.

Their research suggests that targeting the gene may be a new approach to treating the disease.

About 42,000 new cases of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) are diagnosed in the United States each year, about 20 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses. Patients typically relapse within one to three years of being treated.

Senior author Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College, wanted to know whether the gene – already understood from her prior work to be a critical regulator of immune and metabolic functions – was important to cancer’s ability to adapt and thrive in the oxygen- and nutrient-deprived environments inside of tumors.

Using cells taken from patients’ tumors and transplanted into mice, Dr. Glimcher’s team found that the gene, XBP1, is especially active in triple negative breast cancer, particularly in the progression of malignant cells and their resurgence after treatment.

“Patients with the triple negative form of breast cancer are those who most desperately need new approaches to treat their disease,” Dr. Glimcher, who is also a professor of medicine at Weill Cornell said.

“This pathway was activated in about two-thirds of patients with this type of breast cancer. Now that we better understand how this gene helps tumors proliferate and then return after a patient’s initial treatment, we believe we can develop more effective therapies to shrink their growth and delay relapse,” the researcher added.

The study is published in the journal Nature.

Source: yahoo news