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article imageNew breast cancer research 'could save lives'

By KJ Mullins     Jun 8, 2010 in Health
Toronto - A new study in breast cancer research could save lives, according to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. The study found that testing new tumors instead of treating the recurring disease the same as from the first tumor changed the course of therapies.
The study entitled, "Tissue confirmation of disease recurrence in patients with breast cancer" collected analysis of two large prospective studies," and focused on two studies -- one from Canada and one from the UK.
The data from Canadian study, DESTINY and the British study, BRITS, was pooled determining that for more than one in seven patients with a recurrence biopsy of recurrent breast cancer makes a difference in the choice of treatment.
The current method of treatment for recurring breast cancer focuses on the original tumor. The DESTINY study biopsied suspected tumors in other parts of the body. These biopsies affected the doctors choice of treatment in over 15% of the patients.
The study found that 88 percent of the women who were patients in the study group would recommend the procedure to other breast cancer patients even with an increase in anxiety and pain that came with the study.
"When a woman is told that she has incurable metastatic breast cancer, she feels that her life is over," said principal investigator, Dr. Mark Clemons, head of Breast Medical Oncology at Princess Margaret Hospital in a press release. "This research offers women the opportunity to be involved with research that may alter her care, that will provide answers, and ultimately provide a better understanding of why breast cancer spreads in the first place. If we can understand more about the types of cancer that become metastatic cancer, we are going to be in a much better position to develop treatment strategies to prevent breast cancer from developing in the first place. As somebody who looks after patients who are dying of this terrible disease, it is important that we continue to ask simple, pragmatic questions about how to improve their care. The funding from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation allowed us not only to ask these questions, but to answer them and help patients in practical and real ways."
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