The latest in breast cancer research

Breast cancer research

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women after lung cancer. It is estimated that around 16,084 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year. This includes 15,934 women and 150 males.

Sadly, around 3,073 Australians (27 men and 3,046 women) will lose their life to breast cancer in 2016.

Over the course of their life, Australian women have a 1 in 8 risk of developing breast cancer.

 

What is breast cancer?

Put simply, breast cancer is predominantly a female disease which begins as a tumour in the cells of the breast. Tumours occur when cells grow abnormally and multiply. Over time, these develop into cancerous growths which can sometimes spread (metastasise) to other areas of the body. Thankfully, cancer that is contained within the breast is largely treatable and survival rates in these circumstances are high.

However, once the cancer has spread to another part of the body, treatments aren’t usually as effective and survival rate drops considerably.

The only way to increase survival rates and prevent breast cancer is through research. As we better understand how tumours develop, grow and spread, we are better able to prevent and treat the disease.

 

What are researchers investigating?

Researchers around the world are currently working to discover more about breast cancer. Research covers a range of different areas including:

  • causes of breast cancer
  • new ways to prevent breast cancer
  • how to determine the best treatment options for each patient
  • evaluating the need for surgery
  • testing shorter radiation schedules
  • trialing new drug therapies and combinations of therapies
  • determining what early stage cancers may not need chemotherapy
  • ways to give hormonal therapy
  • new reconstructive surgery techniques and approaches
  • reducing symptoms and side effects of current breast cancer treatments
  • how to improve patient quality of life while living with, and undergoing treatment for the disease.

 

Australian research

In Australia, a number of organisations raise funds for and support research into breast cancer. Among these are the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), Australian Breast Cancer Research (ABCR), and the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA).

Current research projects being funded by the NBCF include:

  • Identifying factors that make some cancers aggressive
  • Preventing breast cancer progression
  • Understanding the earliest stages of breast cancer
  • The link between obesity and breast cancer
  • Enhancing breast cancer screening
  • Identifying when cancer spreads to the brain
  • Reducing tumour growth through exercise
  • Preventing cancer spreading to the bones
  • Investigating new treatments with less side effects.

 

Researchers supported by ABCR are currently investigating:

  • The role our immune cells play in the risk of developing breast cancer
  • What causes high mammographic density (MD), which is a risk factor for breast cancer
  • The link between genetics and breast cancer
  • How to improve hormonal breast cancer treatments
  • How to best treat patients aged 65+.

 

How can you help?

 While most of us aren’t qualified to undertake research into the causes, prevention and treatment of breast cancer, we can all play our part and be involved. The most important way is to support ongoing research by donating.

There are many ways you can contribute, including via various fundraising activities, a one-off donation, monthly giving, a memorial gift, or through your will. The best way to determine which is the right option for you is to contact the organsations directly.

Won’t you join the fight against breast cancer?

 

 

Further information

Cancer Australia https://canceraustralia.gov.au

Breast Cancer Network Australia https://www.bcna.org.au/

National Breast Cancer Foundation http://nbcf.org.au/

Australian Breast Cancer Research http://www.abcr.com.au/

 

The Write Way to Health blog is part of the portfolio of Write to the Point Communications.

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Help beat cancer

Daffodil DayMost of us know someone who has been touched by cancer. Cancer can affect anyone, and can be devastating for them and their loved ones.

On Friday, 22 August, you have an opportunity to make a difference to the many lives affected by cancer, by supporting Daffodil Day.

The daffodil is the symbol of hope for cancer sufferers due to its ability to push through the frozen earth to become one of the first flowers of spring. It signifies rebirth, new beginnings, vitality and growth.

According to the Cancer Council:

  • An estimated 128,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year, with that number set to rise to 150,000 by 2020.
  • The most common cancers in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) are prostate, colorectal (bowel), breast, melanoma and lung cancer.
  • 1 in 2 Australian men and 1 in 3 Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
  • Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia — more than 43,200 have died from cancer in 2011. Cancer accounted for 3 in 10 deaths in Australia.
  • Each day in Australia, more than 115 people will die of the disease.
  • More than 60% of cancer patients will survive more than five years after diagnosis.
  • The survival rate for many common cancers has increased by 30 per cent in the past two decades.

As a community, we can help make a positive difference to the statistics above.

Research into cancer is continually discovering new and better treatments. Cancer prevention campaigns are helping raise awareness, and early detection is improving the survival rates.

By buying Daffodil Day merchandise, or simply a lovely bunch of daffodils from the Daffodil Day volunteers, you too can play a part in the fight against cancer.

To find out how you can support this worthy cause, visit https://daffodilday.com.au/

Let’s join the fight to beat cancer.

Further information

Daffodil Day

Cancer Council