Screening the general population of women for breast cancer with mammography is a very appealing idea. Breast cancer is the commonest cause of cancer death in women worldwide. The great majority of women who develop breast cancer have no major identifiable risk factors. There is a strong correlation between breast cancer size at diagnosis and death from the disease. And, most importantly, mammography can often detect a breast cancer years before it is large enough to be detected by a patient or health care provider.
by Martin J. Yaffe, PhD, C.M, Senior Scientist and Tory Family Chair in Cancer Research, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Professor, Depts. Medical Biophysics and Medical Imaging, University of Toronto, Director, Smarter Imaging Program, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Several times per year an article appears in the popular media, usually referring to a “new study” demonstrating that breast cancer screening is ineffective. And as has happened now, with the publication by Jorgensen et al. and the resulting media coverage, I am asked to comment on the “debate regarding the value of screening”. In fact, there really is no debate about the science, if one restricts oneself to studies that have been carefully conducted using appropriate methodology and analysis. The debate is really about values (those of women, health providers and government) in preventive medicine. Screening is expensive. Is the cost justified by the saving of lives and are the negative aspects of screening – abnormal recalls and negative biopsies – acceptable?
“Fertility Studies in Young Women with Breast Cancer”
by Dr. Ellen Warner, MD, M.Sc., FRCPC, FACP
For many years there has been a gap in research focusing on breast cancer patients who are aged 40 and younger. Since these women represent just over 5% of all breast cancer cases, they have generally constituted a very small subset of the patients enrolled in clinical trials, which has made it difficult to make progress in addressing the very unique medical and psychosocial issues of this population. A recent Canadian study called RUBY (Reducing the bUrden of Breast cancer in Young women), http://www.womensresearch.ca/ruby-study, jointly funded by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and Canadian Institutes of Health Research, is attempting to change this situation. Over 4 years, 1200 women aged 40 and younger newly diagnosed with breast cancer at 32 cancer centres and hospitals across Canada will be enrolling in RUBY. Almost 200 women have enrolled to date and recruitment is well on target to be completed in 2019. The overall goal of this study is to improve the cure rate and quality of life of young women with breast cancer. RUBY has several sub-studies, two of which, SPOKE and GYPSY, relate to fertility issues.
by Christel Helwig, RN, BScN, Program Coordinator, PYNK Breast Cancer Program for Young Women, Odette Cancer Centre – Sunnybrook
I have been the Nursing Coordinator of PYNK for just over two years now and have seen the impact breast cancer has on many young women. They are devastated, terrified and lost. My role is to provide support and guidance through the confusion and fear that the diagnosis of breast cancer brings.
“Compared with their older counterparts, young women with breast cancer often have greater and more complex supportive care needs. The present article describes the goals, achievements, and future plans of a specialized interdisciplinary program—the first of its kind in Canada—for women 40 years of age and younger newly diagnosed with breast cancer. The program was created to optimize the complex clinical care and support needs of this population, to promote research specifically targeting issues unique to young women, and to educate the public and health care professionals about early detection of breast cancer in young women and about the special needs of those women after their diagnosis.” Read the full article in Current Oncology here.
Claudia Grieco shares her personal experience with the PYNK Program.