Breasts, Cancer, Immune System
August 26, 2011

Breasts, Cancer, Immune System

Breasts, Cancer, Immune System



May 2011


How often do I need mammograms?

New analysis of the data behind controversial new recommendations raising the age for women to start mammography screening supports older recommendations endorsed by the American Cancer Society.


Major Finding:  Yearly screening mammography from 40 to 80 years of age saves 71% more lives vs. biennial mammography between the ages of 50 and 74, as recommended by the USPSFT (United States Preventive Services Task Force).


A woman screened annually from 40-49 has an average of 1 false-positive mammogram every 10 years, and she may have undergone an unnecessary biopsy once every 149 years, and have a missed breast cancer once in 1,000 years.


This is based on a new analysis of six CISNET (Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network) models of the data used by the USPSTF in making its recommendations.




Some breast cancer patients can skip complete lymph node removal.

Node removal, which carries a risk of arm swelling and numbness, does not improve survival in many patients with Stage 1 breast cancer and Stage 2 breast cancer with involved nodes.

Following a lumpectomy and sentinel node removal, chemotherapy and radiation treatment generally kill any disease in remaining nodes.


Monica Morrow, MD, FACS, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, Journal of the American Medical Association.


Breast Cancer patients are more likely to keep their hair when scalp-cooling caps are worn during chemo sessions.  The Penguin Cold Cap contains a frozen gel that cools the scalp, reducing blood flow to the area and minimizing chemo’s effect on the scalp.  The cap requires changing every 20 minutes.


More information at:

Hope Rugo, MD, UCSF



Statins may reduce colon and rectal cancer risk.

The cholesterol-lowering ddrugs have peviously been associated with a decreased risk for breast, prostate, lung, pancreatic and liver cancers.  A new analysis indicates tat they also lower

colorectal-cancer risk by 12%.  The most effective statins for reducing this risk are the lipophilic statins, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin). Although generally well-tolerated, statins have been associated with muscle pain and liver toxicity.


Niloy Samadder, MD, MSc, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, and a leader of 22 studies with more than 2.5 million participants, presented at the American College of Gastroenterology meeting.




Did you know that looking at someone who is sick boosts your immune system?

Participants in a recent study viewed slides of people brandishing weapons and slides of people who were obviously sick.  Blood levels of immunity-enhancing interleukin-6 increased by 24% in those who viewed images of sick people versus an increase of 7% for those who viewed the slides of people with weapons.


Mark Schaller, PhD, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Psychological Science.





News Archive