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Breast Cancer - Palliative News

Too Many Advanced Cancer Patients Lack Info About Their Disease

Posted 2 days 10 hours ago by

MONDAY, May 23, 2016 – Many patients battling advanced cancer lack basic information about their prognosis or treatment, meaning they can't make informed decisions about their care, a small new study suggests. "These were people with highly lethal metastatic cancers that had progressed after at least one prior line of chemotherapy; their life expectancy was approximately four months from our interview," said lead researcher Dr. Holly Prigerson. She is a professor of geriatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. "We were astonished to learn that only 5 percent of this sample had sufficient knowledge about their illness to make informed decisions about their care," Prigerson said in a Weill Cornell news release. The findings highlight the need for doctors to improve communication with these patients, she said. In the study, Prigerson's team compared 178 advanced cancer patients' ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Brain Tumor, Pancreatic Cancer, Skin Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Endometrial Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Melanoma - Metastatic, Bladder Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Head and Neck Cancer, Gastric Cancer, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Testicular Cancer, Solid Tumors

Early Palliative Care Seems to Help Caregivers, Too

Posted 7 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, May 18, 2016 – Palliative care that's offered soon after a terminal cancer diagnosis can also help caregivers, a new study indicates. "This study suggests that early palliative care creates a powerful positive feedback loop in families facing cancer," study author Dr. Areej El-Jawahri said in news release from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She noted that patients get a direct benefit from such care, and it seems that "their caregivers experience a positive downstream effect, which may make it easier for them to care for their loved ones." El-Jawahri is an oncologist with the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston. The study included 275 family caregivers. Their loved ones had recently been diagnosed with lung and gastrointestinal cancers. The cancers were incurable. The patients let the researchers know who their primary caregiver was. It could ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer - Palliative

How Much Time Is Left? Doctors, Loved Ones Often Disagree

Posted 8 days ago by

TUESDAY, May 17, 2016 – Loved ones acting on behalf of critically ill patients are often more optimistic about outcomes than physicians. But not necessarily because they don't grasp the gravity of the case, new research suggests. The study of more than 200 surrogate "decision makers" found that in more than half of cases doctors and loved ones disagreed about whether the patient would die or not. However, "it isn't just a misunderstanding of the patient's prognosis that is causing the family and friends of that patient to have significantly different estimates for their loved one's survival than that of their doctor," said study lead author Dr. Douglas White. The surrogates' personal beliefs influence their outlook, said White, a professor of critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Some surrogate decision makers believe that if they "hope the patient does ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer - Palliative

Teens Who Eat Lots of Fruit May Lower Their Breast Cancer Risk: Study

Posted 14 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, May 11, 2016 – Teenage girls who consume large amounts of fruit may lower their future risk for breast cancer, a new study suggests. Conversely, women who drink more alcohol over time might increase their breast cancer risk, although they could also lower their chances of heart disease, a second report found. In the fruit study, consumption of apples, bananas and grapes during adolescence was strongly associated with a drop in breast cancer risk. Roughly three daily servings of such fruits was linked to a 25 percent drop in risk by middle age, compared with consuming just a half-serving per day. Women who ate oranges and/or kale as young adults also seemed to gain some protection from breast cancer, the investigators noted. But drinking fruit juice did not appear to confer any benefit. "This is the first study that specifically shows that high fruit intake during adolescence ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Dietary Supplementation, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation and Deficiency, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative

Could 'Breast Cancer Genes' Play Role in Prostate Cancer, Too?

Posted 16 days ago by

MONDAY, May 9, 2016 – A man's risk of aggressive and lethal prostate cancer may be heavily influenced by gene mutations previously linked to breast and ovarian cancer in women, a trio of new studies suggests. And, at least one expert says these findings may indicate that men with a history of breast cancer in their family probably should receive more intense screening for prostate cancer in the future, particularly if those cancers are linked to mutations in the so-called breast cancer genes – BRCA1 or BRCA2. One of the studies found that men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer seemed four times more likely to already have advanced cancer if they carry a BRCA2 gene mutation, compared with the general population. "They are very much at high risk of cancer and we should be tailoring their screening, to be more aggressive in screening versus less aggressive," said Dr. Srinivas ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Diagnosis and Investigation, Breast Cancer - Palliative

Could Talk Therapy Ease Chemo-Related Memory Issues?

Posted 2 May 2016 by

MONDAY, May 2, 2016 – A type of psychotherapy might help cancer survivors deal with the long-term thinking problems some experience after chemotherapy, researchers say. It's estimated that about half of those who undergo chemotherapy for cancer develop what's often called "chemo brain." For instance, they may have trouble following conversations or remembering the steps in a project, according to background notes with the new study. Although usually mild, these changes can affect quality of life, job performance and relationships, said the researchers from the Eastern Maine Medical Center and Lafayette Family Cancer Center in Bangor, Maine. The researchers developed a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) program called Memory and Attention Adaptation Training to help cancer survivors prevent or manage these memory problems. Their study involved 47 breast cancer survivors who underwent ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Methotrexate, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Fluorouracil, Gleevec, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Renal Cell Carcinoma, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Brain Tumor, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Melanoma, Xeloda, Tasigna, Skin Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Sprycel, Hydroxyurea

Breast Cancer Meds Won't Raise Chances of Heart Attack, Stroke, Study Suggests

Posted 21 Apr 2016 by

THURSDAY, April 21, 2016 – Treatment with estrogen-lowering drugs called aromatase inhibitors doesn't raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes among breast cancer survivors, a new study suggests. However, the researchers did find that women who took the drugs had a slightly higher risk of less serious heart problems, such as an abnormal heart beat or swelling and irritation of the membrane surrounding the heart. "Our study is a comprehensive assessment of the impact aromatase inhibitors have on cardiovascular risk and provides reassurance that the hormone therapy to reduce breast cancer recurrence does not increase risk of the most fatal cardiovascular events," said study author Reina Haque. She is a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation. "A particular strength of our study is that we accounted for women's other potential ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Femara, Anastrozole, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Letrozole, Aromasin, Breast Cancer - Adjuvant, Exemestane, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Breast Cancer - Male, Tamoxifen Hexal, Nolvadex, Tamoxen, Genox, Teslac, Nolvadex D

Common Class of Breast Cancer Drugs May Not Trigger 'Chemo Brain': Study

Posted 21 Apr 2016 by

THURSDAY, April 21, 2016 – Some breast cancer patients complain of a fogged mental condition often called "chemo brain," experienced after their therapy. Now, new research suggests that at least one class of chemotherapy drugs, called anthracyclines, is not related to the debilitating condition. Anthracyclines include medications such as doxorubicin and epirubicin, among others. One expert not connected to the study said the findings should be reassuring for patients. Used in combination with other drugs, anthracyclines "have a long track record in the treatment of breast cancer and still are the preferred regimens, especially in younger, fit women with aggressive breast cancer such as triple-negative cancer," explained Dr. Nina D'Abreo. She is an oncologist at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. "It is encouraging to know that women who are felt to be most likely to benefit ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Breast Cancer - Adjuvant, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Adriamycin, Epirubicin, Doxorubicin, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Pharmorubicin PFS, Adriamycin PFS, Ellence, Pharmorubicin RDF, Adriamycin RDF

'Palliative Care' Gets a Bad Rap, Study Finds

Posted 19 Apr 2016 by

TUESDAY, April 19, 2016 – The term "palliative care" triggers negative feelings among many cancer patients, and needs "rebranding," researchers say. The stigma surrounding palliative care can mean patients wait too long to receive supportive care that improves their quality of life, said researchers at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto. This new study shows there's a "branding issue," said principal investigator Dr. Camilla Zimmermann, head of palliative care for the hospital and the University Health Network. Palliative care "is not something to be afraid of or that is stigmatizing, but is helpful even while patients are receiving life-prolonging therapies," Zimmermann said in a network news release. She and her colleagues analyzed interviews with 48 patients who had advanced cancer and an estimated survival of between six and 24 months. Half the patients received early ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Melanoma, Pancreatic Cancer, Skin Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Melanoma - Metastatic, Stomach Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Head and Neck Cancer, Gastric Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Salivary Gland Cancer, Urinary Tract Cancer

Evening Snacking Might Raise Odds for Breast Cancer's Return

Posted 31 Mar 2016 by

THURSDAY, March 31, 2016 – Breast cancer patients fond of midnight snacking may be at a higher risk of a breast cancer recurrence, according to new research. "Women whose usual nightly fast was less than 13 hours had a 36 percent increased risk of having a recurrence of the breast cancer over about seven years [of follow-up]," said study co-author Ruth Patterson, of the University of California, San Diego. "We considered recurrence either [cancer] at the same site or a new primary [cancer]," said Patterson, associate director of population sciences at the university's Moores Cancer Center. Previous research done on rats found that prolonged nighttime fasting can be protective against high blood sugar (glucose) levels, inflammation and weight gain, all of which are linked with poor outcomes for cancer, the researchers said. So Patterson's team looked at data from more than 2,400 women ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Breast Cancer, Weight Loss, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative

Study Asks, What Is a 'Good Death'?

Posted 30 Mar 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, March 30, 2016 – At the end of their lives, most people want peace, as little pain as possible, and some control over how they die, a new research review finds. Researchers said the study gives some sense of how people typically define a "good death." For those facing a terminal illness, it seems that what matters most is control over the dying process – being home rather than in hospital, for instance – being pain-free, and having their emotional and spiritual needs met. And for their families, the hopes are largely the same, according to the review of an international array of studies on "successful dying." The findings were published March 30 in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Yet, experts said, when it comes to caring for terminally ill patients, doctors often focus the discussion on treatments – which ones are wanted, which ones are not. "That's ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer - Palliative

Acupuncture May Ease Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Patients

Posted 29 Mar 2016 by

MONDAY, March 28, 2016 – Acupuncture can help alleviate the often-debilitating hot flashes that afflict many breast cancer patients, new Italian research says. Noting that hot flashes are a fact of life for many women with breast cancer, the investigators found that pairing lifestyle advice with weekly acupuncture sessions dramatically improved the women's quality of life. "Acupuncture together with enhanced self-care for three months is effective in reducing hot flashes in women with breast cancer," said study author Giorgia Razzini, a clinical trial project manager in the oncology unit of Ospedale di Carpi (Carpi Hospital), in Bologna, Italy. And because hormone treatment for breast cancer typically makes the hot flash experience even worse, Razzini added, acupuncture could be a useful tool for helping such patients "stay on their therapy and improve their quality of life." Razzini ... Read more

Related support groups: Hot Flashes, Breast Cancer, Menopausal Disorders, Postmenopausal Symptoms, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Perimenopausal Symptoms, Breast Cancer - Adjuvant, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Osteolytic Bone Metastases of Breast Cancer

Cancer Patients Who Choose to Die at Home Live Longer: Study

Posted 28 Mar 2016 by

MONDAY, March 28, 2016 – Cancer patients who chose to die at home lived longer than those who died in hospitals, a large study from Japan found. The findings suggest that doctors shouldn't hesitate to allow dying cancer patients to receive palliative care at home, the study authors said. Palliative care does not attempt to cure a person, but is often described as comfort care or symptom management. Most people would like to be at home when dying, but there have been concerns about whether the quality of care would be the same as in a hospital, the researchers pointed out. "The cancer patient and family tend to be concerned that the quality of medical treatment provided at home will be inferior to that given in a hospital and that survival might be shortened," said study author Dr. Jun Hamano, of the University of Tsukuba in Japan. "However, our finding – that home death does not ... Read more

Related support groups: Pain, Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Brain Tumor, Ovarian Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Testicular Cancer

Preventive Mastectomies Triple Among U.S. Women With Cancer in One Breast

Posted 12 Mar 2016 by

FRIDAY, March 11, 2016 – The number of U.S. breast cancer patients choosing to have a healthy breast removed has tripled in the past decade, even though this aggressive measure offers no survival benefits for women with cancer in one breast, researchers report. "Our analysis highlights the sustained, sharp rise in popularity of [removing the healthy breast], while contributing to the mounting evidence that this more extensive surgery offers no significant survival benefit to women with a first diagnosis of breast cancer," said study senior author Dr. Mehra Golshan. He is chair of surgical oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "Patients and caregivers should weigh the expected benefits with the potential risks of [removing the healthy breast], including prolonged recovery time, increased risk of operative complications, cost, the possible need for repeat surgery, and ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative

Drug Duo May Rapidly Shrink Breast Tumors in Some Patients

Posted 10 Mar 2016 by

THURSDAY, March 10, 2016 – A two-drug combo quickly shrinks certain breast cancer tumors before surgery or chemotherapy in some women, British researchers report. The specific breast cancer is called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive. The drug combination – lapatinib (Tykerb) and trastuzumab (Herceptin) – shrank HER2-positive tumors significantly in less than two weeks after diagnosis, the study authors said. In some cases, evidence of the cancers disappeared, the researchers added. "A combination of two anti-HER2 therapies – Tykerb and Herceptin – induce tumor regression or disappearance in 25 percent of HER2-positive cancers in 11 days," said lead researcher Dr. Nigel Bundred. He is a professor of surgical oncology at the University of Manchester in England. Potentially, women who respond to this treatment combination might be able to avoid chemotherapy, he ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Herceptin, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Tykerb, Osteolytic Bone Metastases of Breast Cancer, Trastuzumab, Lapatinib

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