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Breast Cancer: In the News – December 2013

Published on | Kylie Chin

A Stark Gap in Breast Cancer Deaths

A few months ago we talked about the persisting racial disparity of breast cancer deaths. This past week, The New York Times published a state-specific animated representation that clearly displays the dissimilarity between white and black women dying from breast cancer.

The difference in mortality rates between black and white women with breast cancer has gradually increased since 1975 primarily due to black women not benefiting as much from improvements in screening and treatment. The largest gaps are localized in the south, with Tennessee at the most disparity while in Massachesetts and New York, the rates have nearly converged.

Take a look at the animated graphs here.

Tomatoes May Help Fight Breast Cancer

A small study published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, consisted of 70

postmenopausal women monitored over 20 weeks. Throughout the first ten weeks, participants followed a diet rich in tomatoes. During the second ten-week period, they followed a diet rich in soy—and prior to each diet

period, the women refrained from tomatoes or soy products for two weeks. In the time following the tomato diet, the women’s adiponectin levels shot up (adiponectin is a hormone that works to regulate blood sugar and fat). The soy diet, however, led to a reduction in adiponectin.

“Increasing dietary consumption of tomato-based foods may beneficially increase serum adiponectin concentrations among postmenopausal women at increased breast cancer risk, especially those who are not obese. Additional studies are essential to confirm these effects and to elucidate the specific mechanisms that may make phytonutrients found in tomatoes practical as breast cancer chemopreventive agents.”

It should be noted that Canned tomatoes contain BPA, which leeches from the linings of the cans. This plastic-component is a known hormone-disruptor with allegedly disastrous health consequences. Instead, opt for fresh tomatoes whenever possible or can your own.
Read the full article here.

A Pill Can Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer?

Early this month, a study was released that put the breast cancer treatment drug: anastrozole, under the microscope. The drug, which is available generically, showed to lower the risk of breast cancer by 53 percent in women at high risk of the disease.

That’s a bit better than other drugs being used currently to prevent breast cancer, such as tamoxifen. Tamoxifen was the first treatment/prevention drug available, since then two others have been added to the list, making anastrozole the fourth.

As with all preventative breast cancer drugs, the side effects are numerous, and can include blood clots, muscle aches, and hot flashes to name a few.

To be considered “high risk” the patients have had two or more relatives with breast cancer or a mother/sister who developed breast cancer before age 50. The study included more than 3,800 women past menopause and aged 40-70 from 18 countries.

Read more here.

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