Breast-Cancer Death Rate Drops Almost 40 Percent, Saving 322,000 Lives, Study Says

Excerpt:

“Breast cancer death rates declined almost 40 percent between 1989 and 2015, averting 322,600 deaths, the American Cancer Society reportedTuesday.

“Breast cancer death rates increased by 0.4 percent per year from 1975 to 1989, according to the study. After that, mortality rates decreased rapidly, for a 39 percent drop overall through 2015.  The report, the latest to document a long-term reduction in breast-cancer mortality, attributed the declines to both improvements in treatments and to early detection by mammography.”

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Melanoma Deaths Expected to Fall Dramatically by 2050

Excerpt:

“The number of malignant melanoma–related deaths in the United States in 2050 could be three times lower than peak levels, according to data presented at the European Cancer Congress.

“However, the number of melanoma-related deaths may continue to increase until approximately 2030 due to the aging population.

“Individuals born between 1900 and 1960 — when the dangers of radiation from sunlight were unknown — are at the highest risk for melanoma mortality.”

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Statins May Be Associated with Reduced Mortality in Four Common Cancers

Excerpt:

“A diagnosis of high cholesterol is associated with reduced mortality and improved survival in the four most common cancers, according to research presented today at Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology (FCVB) 2016. The 14 year study from nearly one million patients found that a high cholesterol diagnosis was associated with lower risk of death in lung, breast, prostate and bowel cancers.”

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Some with Low-Risk Prostate Cancer Not Likely to Succumb to the Disease

“Men with relatively unaggressive prostate tumors and whose disease is carefully monitored by urologists are unlikely to develop metastatic prostate cancer or die of their cancers, according to results of a study by researchers at the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins, who analyzed survival statistics up to 15 years.

“Specifically, the researchers report, just two of 1,298 men enrolled over the past 20 years in a so-called active surveillance program at Johns Hopkins died of prostate cancer, and three developed metastatic disease.

” ‘Our study should reassure men that carefully selected patients enrolled in active surveillance programs for their low-risk prostate cancers are not likely to be harmed by their disease,’ says H. Ballentine Carter, M.D., the Bernard L. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Urologic Oncology and director of adult urology.”


Aromatase Inhibitors Improve Recurrence Rates, Survival in Early Breast Cancer

“The use of an aromatase inhibitor reduced breast cancer recurrence rates approximately 30% compared with tamoxifen, according to the results of a meta-analysis.

“Further, use of an aromatase inhibitor for 5 years reduced 10-year breast cancer mortality rates approximately 15% compared with 5 years of tamoxifen, equating to an approximate 40% reduction compared with no treatment.

“ ‘Aromatase inhibitors, given either for 5 years or for 2-3 years after 2-3 years of tamoxifen, produce greater reductions in recurrence than 5 years of tamoxifen alone, but the effect on breast cancer mortality, and the optimal way to schedule aromatase inhibitors and tamoxifen in the treatment of early breast cancer, remain uncertain,’ Mitch Dowsett, PhD, head of biochemistry and professor of biochemical endocrinology at The Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research in London, and colleagues of the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group wrote.”


Death Rates from Invasive Breast Cancer Fall

“From 1973 to 2010 in the U.S., large reductions in breast cancer-specific death hazards were experienced in women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, a comprehensive analysis of breast cancer survival data now shows.

“Although overall age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rates were stable initially, they decreased by almost one-third, from 33.5% in 1988 to 23.5% in 2010, reported Mitchell Gail, MD, PhD, senior investigator, biostatistics branch, division of cancer epidemiology and genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Md., and colleagues online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“Improvements were evident in women younger than age 70 years with distant stage at time of diagnosis, as well as in those with local and regional disease. Tumor size usually accounted for more of the improvement in the first 5 years after diagnosis rather than later on, the researchers said.

” ‘Breast cancer mortality rates following diagnosis have been decreasing over four decades, not only in the first five years after diagnosis but thereafter,’ Gail told MedPage Today. ‘Little of the improvement could be explained by changes in tumor size or estrogen-receptor (ER) status over time in women under age 70. This suggests a major contribution from treatment for these women.’ “


Mammograms May Not Reduce Breast Cancer Deaths

“Breast cancer screenings may not lead to fewer deaths but may lead to overdiagnosis, U.S. researchers suggest.

“In areas of the U.S. with high levels of screening, more tumors were diagnosed – but breast cancer death rates were no lower than in areas with fewer screenings, researchers report.

” ‘The mortality results that we observed are far from definitive,’ cautioned Charles Harding, the study’s lead author from Seattle, Washington.

” ‘The most dramatic finding of our study is the immediately evident – and substantial – evidence of breast cancer overdiagnosis,’ he told Reuters Health in an email.”


Low Axillary Recurrence/Mortality Among Older Women With Node-Negative Breast Cancer Undergoing Breast-Conserving Surgery Without Sentinel Node Biopsy

“In a single institution study reported in JAMA Surgery, Chung et al found a low axillary recurrence rate and low mortality among women with clinical T1–2N0 breast cancer aged ≥ 70 years who underwent breast-conserving surgery without sentinel node biopsy.

“The study involved 140 women treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center between January 2000 and December 2011. Patients had a median age of 83 years (range = 70–97 years); 74% had T1 tumors; 27% had grade 1, 44% grade 2, and 29% grade 3 tumors; 86% were estrogen receptor–positive; 73% were progesterone receptor–positive; 92% were HER2-negative; and 65% had ductal histology. Overall, 98% received chemotherapy, 76% radiotherapy, and 59% hormonal therapy…

“The investigators concluded: ‘Our study demonstrated low axillary recurrence and low mortality for patients with clinical T1–2N0 breast cancer who were 70 years of age or older and who underwent breast-conserving surgery without a sentinel node biopsy.’ “


Aspirin Does Not Help to Stave off Death from Prostate Cancer

“Aspirin use does not appear to reduce the risk of mortality associated with prostate cancer, according to research published in the April issue of The Journal of Urology.

“Jonathan Assayag, M.D., of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, and colleagues followed a cohort of 11,779 men, diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer between 1998 and 2009, until 2012. The associations of aspirin use with prostate cancer mortality and all-cause mortality were assessed.

“The researchers found that, at a mean follow-up of 5.4 years, post-diagnostic use of aspirin was associated with increased risks of prostate cancer mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.46; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.29 to 1.65) and all-cause mortality (HR, 1.37; 95 percent CI, 1.26 to 1.50). Further analysis showed that the risk of prostate cancer mortality was increased in patients initiating aspirin use after the diagnosis of prostate cancer (HR, 1.84; 95 percent CI, 1.59 to 2.12), but not in those who already were using aspirin before the diagnosis (HR, 0.97; 95 percent CI, 0.81 to 1.16). A similar pattern was observed for increased risk of all-cause mortality associated with post-diagnostic aspirin use (HR, 1.70; 95 percent CI, 1.53 to 1.88), but not pre-diagnostic aspirin use (HR, 0.98; 95 percent CI, 0.87 to 1.18).”