Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer treatment’

Exercise, Diet and Breast Cancer

trio-exercisingDiet and exercise can help women who have completed treatment for breast cancer to live longer and feel better. They may even help lower the chance of the cancer coming back (recurrence). The Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS) was a randomized study of a low fat diet in women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer. At five years, the women on the low fat diet lost weight about six pounds on average (the control group didn’t lose weight) and had a lower risk of the cancer coming back or getting a new breast cancer than the control group. After longer follow up, the risk of recurrence evened out between the two groups, but the women in the low fat diet group had better survival. Observational studies have also found that women who exercised more had lower risks of the cancer coming back. These kinds of studies have also found that women who gain weight after diagnosis have a higher risk of the cancer coming back. Diet and exercise are key to preventing weight gain.

Women who are obese have an increased risk of post-menopausal breast cancer compared with women who maintain a healthy weight, which means that those who maintain a healthy weight have a lower risk (of getting breast cancer after menopause) than those who do not. Studies have shown that moderate to vigorous exercise is linked to a lower risk of breast cancer. This may be in part due to effects on body composition, as well as hormone levels. Exercise can improve fatigue and other symptoms in women with breast cancer in active treatment, as well as maintain their physical function and prevent changes in body composition (like weight gain) that can result from treatment. Women in treatment may have to cut back on their exercise routine for a time (exercise at a lower intensity or for shorter periods) due to side effects of treatment, but it is helpful for them to try to stay active.

So how much exercise is enough? The American Cancer Society recommends that healthy adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week. Moderate activities may include walking, dancing, leisurely bicycling, and yoga, while vigorous activities may include jogging or running, fast bicycling, circuit weight training, swimming, jumping rope, aerobic dance, and martial arts.

About Dr. Kramer:

jkramerJoan Kramer, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Kramer graduated cum laude receiving her Medical Degree from Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, Missouri. She completed her postdoctoral training with a residency in internal medicine at Saint Louis University Hospital and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Kramer served as Medical Editor for the American Cancer Society until May 2015. She is published in a number of peer-reviewed journals.

 

RELATED RESOURCES
Take-Aways from Breast Cancer Chat with Heather Pinkerton, BSN
Advancements in Imaging for Early Breast Cancer Detection
Latest in Breast Cancer Research
Breast cancer care at Winship
Social services at Winship
Support groups at Winship

Latest in Breast Cancer Research

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 10%-20% of diagnosed breast cancers are determined to be triple negative breast cancer. It tends to primarily affect younger, premenopausal women and is more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. Studies show that African-American and Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer than white women. Triple negative breast cancers don’t have the three types of receptors that most commonly fuel breast cancer growth — estrogen, progesterone and the HER2 gene — so they don’t respond to hormonal therapies and treatments that target those receptors. Chemotherapy is typically used for treatment, but there is an urgent need to find more precise therapies.

LaTonia Taliaferro-Smith, PhD, is one of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s scientists who have taken up the challenge to develop more targeted therapies. In her lab research, Taliaferro-Smith searches for alternative targets in the triple negative breast cancer cell. She works closely with Winship physician-researchers toward the goal of developing drugs that will benefit patients with this disease.

“I’m very hopeful about the research we’re doing here and what Winship is offering to triple negative breast cancer patients,” says Taliaferro-Smith. “Oftentimes when patients hear a triple negative diagnosis, they think there are no options and ultimately their endpoint is death. But we’re very encouraged here at Winship because we do have active research that is trying to find alternative therapies for these particular patients, so we can let them know that you will have treatment options available hopefully in the near future.”

Check out the video below as Dr. Taliaferro- Smith discusses the continuous work research teams at Winship are doing to develop more precise treatment therapies for triple negative breast cancer:

Related Resources

Learn more about breast cancer care at Winship at Emory. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and our breast care teams want you to know that early detection is key to survival. Have questions about the role of screening in early breast cancer detection? Join us for a live web chat with a breast imaging expert on October 21, 204.

Chronic Pain Lingers For Some Postoperative Breast Cancer Patients

Chronic Neuropathic Pain Postoperative Breast Cancer

Different surgical procedures come with varying levels of risk for post-surgical pain during the healing process. Regardless of the surgery type, postoperative pain is not uncommon. For women who undergo surgery to treat breast cancer, however, postoperative pain and/or numbness can greatly affect a patient’s quality of life. This pain, which can be encountered after a mastectomy, is characterized by a constant, achy, stinging, burning sensation around the surgical area near the chest or underarms.

 Before having surgery to remove cancerous breast tumors, women typically undergo what’s called a sentinel lymph node biopsy. Sentinel lymph nodes, as described by the National Cancer Institute are, “the first lymph node(s) to which cancer cells are most likely to spread from a primary tumor.” Chronic underarm pain after surgery (as opposed to chest pain) is more common among women who have had their lymph nodes removed rather than a sentinel lymph node biopsy alone.

Often, chronic pain among breast cancer patients is related to nerve damage that occurs via surgical and/or radiation treatment. Although the painful side effects from surgery typically subside in 3 months for most women, some women experience pain for months or even years after treatment.

To ease the recovery process after surgery, physicians often treat patients with postoperative pain with a multi-modal approach including physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, neuropathic pain medications, and sometimes narcotics. Alternative techniques such as massage and acupuncture can also help reduce pain and tenderness for some patients.

Interventional Pain Physicians can also help to reduce this pain via injections, including thoracic epidurals and intercostal nerve blocks. Both of these involve placing local anesthetic and steroid around the nerves, which stabilizes cell membranes and decreases inflammation and swelling. Doing so helps to decrease ectopic neural discharge and thus provide pain relief.

About Josephine Clingan MD, Physician Pain Specialists at Saint Joseph’s Hospital:
After attending MCG Medical School, Dr. Clingan completed  both her residency in Anesthesiology, and her fellowship in Interventional Pain Management at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.
She joined Physician Pain Specialists, at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, in 2011 and loves her patients!

Related Resources:

Get All Your Breast Cancer Questions Answered Live & Online!

Breast Cancer Online ChatThe American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012, a total of 229,060 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in both men and women. In honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to help our community get their questions answered, we are hosting an online chat on the topic of breast cancer.

Join Heather Pinkerton, RN, BSN, OCN and Nurse Navigator for the Emory Breast Center, on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 to get all of your questions on breast cancer—ranging from diagnosis, to treatment, to survivorship—answered.

Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Time: 12 noon – 1:00 pm EST
Chat Leader: Heather Pinkerton, RN, BSN, OCN and Nurse Navigator for the Emory Breast Center
Chat Topic: Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Related Resources: