Breast Cancer May Return Even 20 Years Later, Study Finds

Excerpt:

“Breast cancer can ‘smolder’ and return even 20 years later unless patients keep taking drugs to suppress it, researchers reported Wednesday.

“They were looking for evidence that at least some breast cancer survivors might be able to skip the pills that reduce the risk of the breast tumors coming back, but found that even women with ‘low-risk’ cancers had a small rate of recurrence 15 and 20 years later.”

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Anthracyclines Negatively Impact Brain Function

“Cancer survivors treated with anthracycline-based chemotherapies exhibited poorer performance of certain cognitive skills compared with survivors who received no chemotherapy or other classes of chemotherapies, according to the results of a study published in JAMA Oncology.

“While the study of 62 primary breast cancer survivors is retrospective and small, the results suggest that further studies are needed to understand how the neurologic effects of anthracycline-based chemotherapy agents may be minimized.

“Shelli R. Kesler, PhD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Douglas W. Blayney, MD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, analyzed both cognitive function and resting state functional magnetic resonance brain imaging data from breast cancer survivors who were treated, on average, 2.1 years prior to undergoing the assessments. The patients were all assessed at Stanford University.”


A Little Known Side Effect with a Huge Impact

“First, there was achiness, a pain that never went away. Then, her right arm and hand began to swell, a little at first and then a lot. Then Rebecca Thomas, a breast cancer survivor five years out from surgery, chemo and radiation, was hospitalized with a raging infection.

“ ‘The swelling wasn’t bad at first and I didn’t think much of it,’ said the 65-year-old food service worker from Seattle, who was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. ‘But I got a [cut] on my finger and bacteria got in there and I ended up with a very bad case of cellulitis. It got at least three times the normal size, my whole hand and arm. After that is when the trouble really set in.’

“Thomas’ ‘trouble’ was lymphedema, a condition that impacts millions of U.S. cancer survivors every year, particularly patients who undergo lymph node dissection as part of their treatment, like actress and ‘lymphedema ambassador’ Kathy Bates.


Breast Cancer Survivors Gain Weight at a Higher Rate than Their Cancer-Free Peers

“Breast cancer survivors with a family history of the disease, including those who carry BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, gained more weight over the course of four years than cancer-free women—especially if they were treated with chemotherapy, according to a prospective study by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers.

“Data from earlier studies suggest that breast cancer survivors who gain weight may have a higher risk of having their cancer return, the researchers say, noting that gains of 11 pounds or more are also associated with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

“For the study, the researchers reviewed a baseline questionnaire and a follow-up one completed four years later by 303 breast cancer survivors and 307 cancer-free women enrolled in an ongoing and long-term study at the Kimmel Cancer Center of women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Study participants completed a baseline and at least one follow-up questionnaire between 2005 and 2013, and one-quarter of the subjects were premenopausal.”


Heart Health After Cancer: A Growing Concern

“Nearly 15 million people are living after a cancer diagnosis in the United States. This number represent over 4 percent of the population, an astonishing figure. And a growing one, as reported last year by the ACS and outlined by the NCI’s Office of Cancer Survivorship.

“As cancer patients survive longer they face additional health problems. Radiation to the chest, chemotherapy, antibody therapy and hormone changes can affect blood vessels and heart function in the short term and long, during treatment or years later. But millions affected – and their physicians – remain insufficiently mindful about the risk of heart disease.

“It’s the kind of problem a person who’s had cancer, or a doctor who’s prescribed generally helpful treatment, may not want to think about.

“Years ago, heart complications of cancer treatment didn’t garner so much attention says, Dr. Javid Moslehi, a cardiologist who leads a program in cardio-oncology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, TN. The emerging field involves cardiologists, oncologists, scientists and others who study the long-term effects of cancer treatment on the heart.”


ASCO Releases First Three Guidelines on Cancer Survivorship Care

“The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today issued three evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on the prevention and management of symptoms that affect many cancer survivors—neuropathy, fatigue and depression, and anxiety. The guidelines are the first three in a planned series of guidelines on survivorship care. The recommendations reinforce the need to care for the both physical and psychological needs of cancer survivors.”

“The release of these guidelines come at a time when the number of people with a history of cancer in the United States has increased dramatically, from 3 million in 1971 to about 13.7 million today. Despite these important gains, cancer survivors still face a range of long-term challenges from their disease and its treatment.  Cancer survivors face an increased risk for other health problems, premature mortality and side-effects from treatment.  The transition from active treatment to post-treatment care is critical to optimal long-term health. If care is not planned and coordinated, cancer survivors are left without knowledge of their heightened risks and a follow-up plan of action.

“In addition to the guidelines, Cancer.Net, ASCO’s patient information website, has updated information for survivors that is based on ASCO’s latest recommendations.”


ASCO Releases First Three Guidelines on Cancer Survivorship Care

“The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today issued three evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on the prevention and management of symptoms that affect many cancer survivors—neuropathy, fatigue and depression, and anxiety. The guidelines are the first three in a planned series of guidelines on survivorship care. The recommendations reinforce the need to care for the both physical and psychological needs of cancer survivors.”

“The release of these guidelines come at a time when the number of people with a history of cancer in the United States has increased dramatically, from 3 million in 1971 to about 13.7 million today. Despite these important gains, cancer survivors still face a range of long-term challenges from their disease and its treatment.  Cancer survivors face an increased risk for other health problems, premature mortality and side-effects from treatment.  The transition from active treatment to post-treatment care is critical to optimal long-term health. If care is not planned and coordinated, cancer survivors are left without knowledge of their heightened risks and a follow-up plan of action.

“In addition to the guidelines, Cancer.Net, ASCO’s patient information website, has updated information for survivors that is based on ASCO’s latest recommendations.”


ASCO Releases First Three Guidelines on Cancer Survivorship Care

“The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today issued three evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on the prevention and management of symptoms that affect many cancer survivors—neuropathy, fatigue and depression, and anxiety. The guidelines are the first three in a planned series of guidelines on survivorship care. The recommendations reinforce the need to care for the both physical and psychological needs of cancer survivors.”

“The release of these guidelines come at a time when the number of people with a history of cancer in the United States has increased dramatically, from 3 million in 1971 to about 13.7 million today. Despite these important gains, cancer survivors still face a range of long-term challenges from their disease and its treatment.  Cancer survivors face an increased risk for other health problems, premature mortality and side-effects from treatment.  The transition from active treatment to post-treatment care is critical to optimal long-term health. If care is not planned and coordinated, cancer survivors are left without knowledge of their heightened risks and a follow-up plan of action.

“In addition to the guidelines, Cancer.Net, ASCO’s patient information website, has updated information for survivors that is based on ASCO’s latest recommendations.”


Most Cancer Survivors Not Exercising Enough to Benefit

“Despite the benefits that physical activity can offer, a mere 10% of cancer survivors are exercising enough to reap those benefits, according to research conducted by Yale Cancer Center and the Yale School of Public Health. The findings will be presented beginning April 5, at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2014, in San Diego.”