Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022 raises awareness about one of the world’s most prevalent forms of cancer. Breast cancer usually starts in the lining cells of breast ducts, but in 15% of cases arises first in lobules in the glandular tissue of the breast. While initially harmless, Breast cancer is potentially dangerous due to the risk of metastasis, which is where the disease spreads to other tissues and organs in the body.
Widespread metastasis can be fatal. Regular breast screening helps to eliminate the 23% of preventable deaths from breast cancer. Regular mammograms mean the disease is caught in its early stages, which is why Research Outreach is raising awareness with the National Breast Cancer Foundation of how important it is for women over forty to #GetScreened.
Fortunately, many researchers are striving to make breast cancer a universally beatable disease. One team is looking at breath holding techniques to reduce radiation exposure to other untargeted critical organs during radiotherapy, while a trial of using computer-aided mammograms for assisting the diagnosis of breast cancers is also showing promising results. Another researcher, Dr Yang, is discovering predictive and prognostic biomarkers for targeted cancer therapies and chemotherapy in breast cancer, lung cancer and other cancer types. Read the articles for all these breast cancer research breakthroughs below.
The research of Dr Vishruta Dumane, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, focuses on developing approaches to radiotherapy that will minimise risk to neighbouring organs and tissues, whilst maximising the impact of treatment on the tumour. Her recent work adds further support for the use of deep inspiration breath holds during radiotherapy (VMAT) to reduce exposure of critical organs, such as the heart and lungs, to off-target doses of radiation.
The relationship between cancer subtype and treatment: New development using breast cancer subtypes to predict clinical outcomes
Dr Yang’s research at the National Cancer Institute, US, focuses on the discovery and validation of predictive and prognostic biomarkers for targeted cancer therapies and chemotherapy in breast cancer, lung cancer and other cancer types. The recent work in her group has focused on better understanding breast cancer subtypes and associated clinical outcomes, following treatment or without treatment, to work towards advances in precision medicine and a cure for breast cancer.
In under two decades, the techniques used to image, classify and diagnose breast cancer have significantly improved with the help of rapidly advancing computer-based digital image processing and machine learning technologies. Since the early days of developing Computer-Aided Diagnosis technology in the 1990s, Professor Bin Zheng at the University of Pittsburgh and then the University of Oklahoma has dedicated his research to assess its capabilities. His work has allowed for advances ranging from confirmations of the success of some of the first detections of cancer from digitised mammograms to the use of MRI in assessing the responses of breast tumours to chemotherapy.