The 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium just concluded and the stories are coming out about what was said. Here are two.
Good news first: A drug therapy that is much less debilitating than chemotherapy is showing great promise for Stage IV breast cancer patients.
Women are usually treated with intravenous chemotherapy drugs try to shrink the tumor, but the treatment is usually so aggressive, the patients overall health suffers and the quality of life plummets. With this new therapy, which involves taking pills in combination, the action of the drugs are directed on the tumor itself without affecting the body as a whole. That means women battling stage IV breast cancer can live without feeling sick.
In one woman with stage IV cancer that has spread to her liver, the tumor shrunk more than 20% of its original size after just 3 months of treatment.
The therapy, consisting of the two drugs Afinitor and Aromasin, is only being used on women who have the most serious cases, but it looks very promising for the future after more research.
Fact: Currently less than 30% of all breast cancer research funds goes into looking for treatments for stage IV breast cancer.
Now for the bad news The Institute of Medicine (IOM) was supposed to report on the results of their study: Breast Cancer and the Enviornment: A Life Course Approach. IOM was asked to review the current evidence on breast cancer and the environment and report on recommendations women might take to reduce their risk and recommend research for specific areas.
Instead, the IOM defined “environment” as “anything not having to do with DNA or genetics”. So instead of diving deeper into the possibility of increased risk being related to exposure of chemicals in products women are exposed to, they just repeated the known facts about weight loss, exercise and other and lifestyle choices.
Basically, the IOH is saying that it’s the women’s own fault that they are getting breast cancer (those are my words, but that’s what they are saying by their actions).
Lifestyle may contribute to the cancer of 30% of women where there is a direct cause of their breast cancer (maybe overweight, smoker, family history). But how about the other 70% for which there is no identifiable cause? I can use myself as study subject #1. Correct weight, under 50 years old, no other health problems, not a smoker or drinker, exercised regularly, ate a low-fat healthy diet most of my life, no family history….diagnosed with stage 3 at the age of 41. (click here for a video)
Fact: there are thousands of products that women are using on their bodies that contain synthetic preservatives known as parabens, for example. Parabens, man-made chemicals, are found in breast cancer tumors.
I strongly suspect there are external substances that are in my food, water, and other products that caused my body, and that of millions of other breast cancer patients, to start producing cancer cells.
The IOH should be looking into recommending funds for studies that look more closely into the external true environmental causes so we can start to tackle this disease from the other end and prevent it before it starts.
C’mon IOH…is that the best you can do?