Three good news stories for women on World Cancer Day
Scientific breakthroughs in treatment are making the difference for Irish breast cancer patients.
Developments in the treatment of breast cancer and increased awareness have resulted in a 2% drop in breast cancer mortality rates year on year since 1994.
While breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer, these scientific advancements have meant that survival rates are improving, currently at 82% for five-year survival.
To mark World Cancer Day on February 4, Breast Cancer Ireland want to share some of the exciting new positive advances being made in breast cancer research and treatment:
Through testing a small amount of breast cancer tissue from recently diagnosed patients, Oncotype DX can examine the activity of a group of 21 genes in the tumour and can provide more information about the patient’s cancer.
This test can help patients and their doctors to determine if patients will benefit from chemotherapy as part of their treatment. It tests chances of recurrence and helps determine if a patient will or will not benefit from chemotherapy as treatment therapy.
The INTRABeam System cuts radiation treatment time for certain breast cancer patients from daily doses for five consecutive weeks to a single 30 minute treatment. This not only hugely improves the quality of life for breast cancer patients but also speeds up patient recovery time.
The system is a mobile electron beam-driven X-ray generator and using different sized applicators placed within the breast cavity once the tumour has been removed, it provides a point source of low energy X-rays delivered in a precise and accurate way to the relevant area.
Breast Cancer Ireland has donated an INTRABeam system to Beaumont Hospital and it is the first of its kind in Ireland.
Dual therapy programme
An international ongoing clinical trial which included patients from Ireland has observed a positive response from combined therapy of Herceptin and Lapatnib with 50% of patient tumours being eradicated following this treatment.
Breast Cancer Ireland was established to raise significant funding to support pioneering research nationally. As well as funding the intraoperative radiation therapy machine at Beaumont Hospital, the charity also supports ongoing investment in clinical trials.
The charity also funds the recruitment of specialist Breast Cancer Research Nurses, whose role is to collect and collate patient tissue and serum samples into one large centralised resource which can now be accessed by clinicians and scientists nationwide, thereby helping to speed up discovery times and ultimately affect more positive treatment outcomes for patients.
Leading breast cancer surgeon and Chairman of Breast Cancer Ireland, Professor Arnie Hill said: “Discovery times in our labs have greatly improved as a direct result of increased investment in research, and we are coming ever closer to our aim of transforming breast cancer from often being a fatal disease to making it a treatable condition that can be managed long-term”.
Click here for more information on Breast Cancer Ireland funded research and to donate to the charity.