Monday, June 1, 2009

Breast Cancer Breakthrough

Something that I lifted from news. Good news?


The Cure: Breast Cancer Vaccine On The Way?

by Cynthia Demos

Breast cancer caught early can mean the difference between life and death. Now, a breast cancer vaccine may be on the horizon. It's already showing promise in clinical trials.

Dr. Geoffrey Zann, a gynecologist, routinely suggests patients look for the traditional symptoms to detect breast cancer. "You look for things such as a palpable mass, or changes in the skin, dimpling, puckering, buckling, a lump that sticks out, sometimes tenderness," explained Dr. Zann.

But frequently, his patients ask him why a vaccine to prevent breast cancer hasn't been developed, like it was for polio or measles.

"Breast cancer is not one disease, when you hear people tell you, there are different kinds of breast cancer. I had intraductal, I had lobular, I had lobar, I had phyllodes tumor. It's not just one disease so it's hard to develop one vaccine," Dr. Zann explained.

But there is progress being made in the development of vaccines. Susan Kristoff was diagnosed in 2003 with Stage I HER2 positive breast cancer. "In 2003, HER2 was one of the worst diagnoses you could get. It's a very aggressive type of cancer," said Kristoff.

After her initial treatment Susan's cancer returned as Stage IV cancer, sometimes referred to as incurable cancer. She decided to participate in a clinical trial with a new breast cancer treatment Herceptin and her cancer went into complete remission.

"I guess the story is that Stage IV isn't a death sentence for a cancer patient, that many people can live a normal life and manage it like diabetes, and wait on the cure. I'm confident that for many types it will be here shortly," Kristoff said.

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