Age-Specific Overall Risk of Breast, Ovarian Cancer Among Women With BRCA1/2 Genetic Mutations

Excerpt:

“Researchers conducted an analysis that included nearly 10,000 women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutations to estimate the age-specific risk of breast or ovarian cancer for women with these mutations, according to a study published by JAMA.

“The optimal clinical management of women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations depends on accurate age specific cancer risk estimates. These can be used to estimate the absolute risk reduction from preventive strategies and to inform decisions about the age at which to begin cancer screening. Antonis C. Antoniou, Ph.D., of the University of Cambridge, England, and colleagues included 6,036 BRCA1 and 3,820 BRCA2 female carriers (5,046 unaffected and 4,810 with breast or ovarian cancer or both at study entry) in the analysis.”

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Waiting for Cancer

Excerpt:

“With cancer, there are generally two scenarios – you either have it or you don’t. But I am somewhere in the middle, stuck inside a vortex. I don’t have cancer, but as a notable breast surgeon told me, ‘For you, it’s not a matter of if you’ll get it, but when.’ And so I find myself on permanent standby… just waiting.

“While many women at risk for cancer opt to have themselves tested for the BRCA gene mutation, which significantly increases one’s risk of developing breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer, it’s not a test I would have chosen to take, given the absence of cancer in my family.

“My husband was adopted and wanted to learn more about his genetic makeup, so he selected an online genetics test, 23andMe, and out of curiosity, I decided to join him.”

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Black Women Less Likely to Pursue BRCA Testing and Cancer Risk Reduction Measures

Excerpt:

“Findings from a population-based study reported at the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting revealed that young black women with breast cancer are much less likely to undergo testing for the BRCA gene than other women. Or, if they do carry a BRCA mutation, they are less likely to get a prophylactic mastectomy or salpingo-oophorectomy to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

“The research identified disparities in recipients of BRCA testing between non-Hispanic white women, Hispanic, and black women, with the latter being the least likely to undergo testing. Likewise, black women who were BRCA carriers were less likely to undergo risk-management practices compared with their white and Hispanic counterparts.

“ ‘We need to understand the reasons for these findings,’ said lead study author Tuya Pal, MD, a clinical geneticist at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. Ultimately, it’s the patient who must decide whether to have genetic testing and take prophylactic measures for risk management, Pal said.”

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Does Sex Protect Men Against Prostate Cancer?

Excerpt:

“Men who ejaculate often may have a lower risk of prostate cancer than their peers who don’t do it as frequently, a U.S. study suggests.

“Researchers followed about 32,000 men starting in 1992 when they were in their 20s and continuing through 2010. During this period, almost 4,000 of the men were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“Men who ejaculated at least 21 times a month in their 20s were 19 percent less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than men who ejaculated no more than seven times a month, the study found. Men who ejaculated more often in their 40s were 22 percent less likely to get a prostate cancer diagnosis.”

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Aspirin Doesn't Help Breast Cancer Outcomes, May Aid Detection

“Researchers found no link between taking aspirin and improved breast cancer outcomes, however the drug’s effect on breast density may help with earlier diagnosis, according to two new studies presented at a conference on breast cancer.

“Several studies have shown aspirin to cut the risk of colorectalbreast and other cancers.

“Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania presented the new studies at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

” ‘Past studies have found that aspirin may hold anti-cancer benefits. However, many of them were preliminary, preclinical, and didn’t support a clear mortality benefit. They also didn’t look at prior use of aspirin,’ said Dr. Julia Tchou, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, in a press release. ‘Our data did not support the notion that this century-old pill has protective qualities and down-the-road benefits for breast cancer patients. However, larger patient cohort studies are needed to confirm our results.’ “


COPD Heightens Deadly Lung Cancer Risk in Smokers

“Smokers who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) may face nearly twice the risk of getting small cell lung cancer (SCLC)—the deadliest form of lung cancer—than smokers who don’t have COPD, according to a large worldwide study led by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“The study was published online September 24, 2015 in EBioMedicine.

“The new study—the largest-ever epidemiologic study of SCLC—is the first to look at how much COPD, a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe, increases smokers‘ risk of getting SCLC. Although it’s long been known that smoking is a major risk factor for lung cancer, the new study estimates the risk more precisely than before.”


Here’s the Amount of Exercise That Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

“More than 100 studies have found that physical activity can lower breast cancer risk; the most active women tend to have a 25% lower chance of developing the disease than the least active women. But how does exercise help?

“Christine Friedenreich, scientific leader of cancer epidemiology and prevention research at Alberta Health Services, and her colleagues had identified body fat as a possible pathway to lowering cancer risk. In an earlier study, they found that women exercising 225 minutes a week showed dramatic drops in total body fat, abdominal fat and other adiposity measures.

“That inspired the team to examine more closely the effects of the commonly recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week on body fat measures. They compared these effects to a doubling of that amount of activity, to 300 minutes a week, to see if more exercise had a greater effect in lowering body fat.”


Study Suggests Dense Breast Tissue Isn’t Always a High Cancer Risk

“A new study offers help to patients and doctors who are trying to deal with mammogram results that many women consider troubling and confusing: the finding of ‘dense’ breast tissue.

“Not only is breast density linked to an increased risk of cancer, it also makes cancer harder to detect because dense tissue can hide tumors from X-rays. But the new research indicates that not all women with dense breasts are at very high risk.

“Patient advocates urge women with dense breasts to ask doctors about extra tests like ultrasound or an M.R.I. to check for tumors that mammography might have missed. Studies have found that those exams can improve detection of tumors over mammography alone in dense breasts.

“Pressed by advocacy groups, 22 states have passed laws requiring that breast density be reported to mammography patients, and similar federal legislation has been introduced in the House and the Senate.”


Best Evidence Yet!: Ejaculation Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk

“Good news, men: you may be able to decrease your risk for prostate cancer by ejaculating — frequently, according to research presented here at American Urological Association 2015 Annual Meeting.

“The frothy advice is not new but is now backed up by the ‘strongest evidence to date’ on the subject, according to lead author Jennifer Rider, ScD, MPH, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

” ‘There is no modifiable risk factor for developing prostate cancer,’ Dr Rider told Medscape Medical News. ‘It would be exciting to tell men that there was a way to modify their risk.’ ”

“However, she noted that these are observational data and urged caution when ‘interpreting them.’ “