Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is always reserved for the promotion of Breast Cancer Awareness. In Canada, it accounts for approximately 25% of news cases of cancer and 13% of all cancer deaths among women. One out of 8 women will get it and 1 in 33 will die from it.
Breast cancers are not all the same. There are so many varying factors such as: what part of the breast did it begin, what the cells look like under microscope, the grade and stage of the diagnosis, the genetic makeup of the cells, and if the cancer cells are fueled by hormones. All of these component form a very complex, specific diagnosis. The treatments available vary based on all of those factors.
Many people enroll in clinical trials. If you were to research all of the available clinic trials available to breast cancer patients, you would find hundreds of them for the very reasons listed above. For the sake of time and boring you completely, we would like to highlight a couple of new advancements.
Circulating Tumor DNA in Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) – TNBC has limited treatment and prognosis options for patients. A clinical trial was recently done to find out the effectiveness for determining recurrence and prognosis for patients with TNBC. The results showed that recurrence could be predicted and the physician can utilize this information to identify who might be at higher risk for recurrence early on. On the flip side, it can also identify which patients will have a good prognosis so they can apply de-escalation therapy, the reduction of exposure to therapy and its adverse effects, for some patients. This positive research prompted a second clinical trial to refine how liquid biopsy can inform treatment for TNBC patients.
Genomic Testing – For many years, breast cancer patients have received chemotherapy, something that has severe side effects such as hair loss, neuropathy, weight loss, fatigue and nausea. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July 2018 showed that chemotherapy would not benefit 85% of patients over the age of 50 whose breast cancer was HR+, HER and had not spread to the lymph nodes. This study looked at 21 different genes in the patient’s primary tumor. The goal was to determine whether they’d be responsive to chemotherapy or if a better choice would be a less invasive treatment such as Tamoxifen. The study concluded that patients scoring in the low to mid range could safely skip chemotherapy. This is a huge game changer for many breast cancer patients as it omits the need to subject them to a more toxic treatment.
For clinical trials and treatments pertinent to your kind of cancer, always consult with your physician.
World Spine Day
October 16th marked World Spine Day. This is celebrated every year on every continent to highlight health and well-being with physical activity, good posture, healthy working conditions and safe lifting. Spine pain affects an estimated 1 billion people worldwide and is the biggest, single cause of disability.
This year, challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic have lead to a lack of physical activity by being on lock downs, loss of work that might otherwise keep you up and moving and gym closures. This can make your spine more susceptible to pain or disability. World Spine Day 2020’s focus was about getting people ‘Back’ on Track. They have highlighted the importance of spine health and created resources to keep your spine active and healthy.
For tips on how to prevent back pain, download the Straighten Up Canada app for exercise videos that you can set goals on and monitor progress. To download the app, visit Android App or Apple App.or, the videos can be seen here.
We celebrated Thanksgiving this month. This year especially, we’ve been tested on what really matters. Family, friends and faith. As Maya Angelou said “Be present in all things, and thankful for all things”