New findings in breast cancer research

I’m on a squeaky bike cycling around a dirt track that rims a grand canyon. I wobble and my front wheel turns toward the edge. I think I’m going in, but I throw the handle bars the other way and I stay upright and don’t fall. This happens the entire length of the canyon track. ‘I’m a gonna’; ‘No I’m not’; ‘I’m a gonna.’ No, I am not.

I heard this on the radio yesterday:

Women diagnosed with breast cancer within the first year of giving birth are 48% more likely to die from the disease.

However, in a study of almost 3000 breast cancer patients aged less than 45, it was found that if the cancer was diagnosed during pregnancy their risk of dying was only three per cent higher than for non-pregnant women diagnosed with cancer.

The research was lead by the University of WA.

Research assistant Professor Angela Ives said very little was known about cancer diagnosed during pregnancy or up to a year later.

“We decided to find out more so that women could make informed choices about their cancer management and pregnancy outcome,” she said.

With her colleagues, Asst/Professor Ives analysed statistics from the Western Australian Data Linkage System – one of a handful of such systems in the world.

“We know that pregnancy and breast-feeding reduce the long-term risk of a woman developing breast cancer but we also know that, in the short-term, having been pregnant may increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

“There needs to be further research into what might be happening at cell level with the way tumours grow and the role played by the body’s immune response.”

The researchers, who presented their findings at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona yesterday, are also studying the cumulative effect on survival of pregnancy and breast-feeding time from conception to the date of cancer diagnosis.

(PerthNow, accessed March 26, 2010 3:43PM)

Ah … thanks for that!

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