Breast Cancer Myths & Trends

Written by LWM Staff. Posted in Women's Health.

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Myth #1: Breast cancer is one disease.
There are many forms of breast cancer based in part on genetic characteristics, and each form of breast cancer has a different prognosis. Tumor testing can help determine the appropriate medicine and timing of treatment needed to treat the disease most effectively.
Myth #2: Breast cancer can only be treated with traditional chemotherapy and surgery.Treatment options have evolved significantly. The FDA approval of Herceptin in 1998 ushered in a new era of personalized medicine. And, within the past two years the FDA approved two new targeted medicines (Kadcyla and Perjeta) that help treat a certain type of aggressive breast cancer called HER2-positive.

Myth #3: Only older women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
While the majority of new breast cancer cases occur in women over the age of 40, the disease can also affect younger people. Last year, a new study found cases of advanced breast cancer are increasing among women ages 25-39. It’s important for younger women to be aware of their health and risk factors, which vary by individual.

An estimated 235,000 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, and breast cancer is expected to account for 29 percent of all new cancers among women.
Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is an advanced and incurable form of the disease in which the cancer has spread from the original location in the breast to other organs in the body. Nearly 155,000 people in the U.S. are living with MBC, and they face a very different battle than women with early breast cancer.

Trends: The statistics above speak to the importance of continued research and progress in cancer treatment.
Researchers continue to study what drives cancer and are looking for ways to enlist the body’s own immune system to attack cancer.
Scientists are also better understanding the subtle differences between cancer cells and normal cells. This enhanced understanding of basic tumor biology is revealing potential new targets for cancer medicines.
The FDA approved two new medicines for HER2-positive MBC within the past two years. Kadcyla is a special type of medicine called an antibody-drug conjugate, which links a powerful chemotherapy to the Herceptin antibody. Perjeta is another medicine, specifically for those who have not been previously treated for HER2-positive MBC. It is approved for use in combination with Herceptin and chemotherapy. Perjeta is believed to work in a way that is complementary to Herceptin.
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