Are You Aware of this Breast Cancer News?
The reasons for fighting obesity keep getting stronger and stronger, as the latest medical study published by Cornell University will prove… Researchers found that women who are obese have a higher risk and a worse prognosis for breast cancer, but the reasons why remain unclear. The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, explains how obesity changes the consistency of breast tissue. Similar to tumors, disease is promoted within dense tissue versus lean tissue. And, while a percentage of obesity is inherited, studies such as this mark the medical importance fighting genetics with a healthy lifestyle.
The study shows obesity leads to a stiffening of a meshwork of material that surrounds fat cells in the breast, called the extracellular matrix, and these biomechanical changes create the right conditions for tumor growth. The results should also cause pause against using certain fat cells from obese women in plastic and reconstructive breast surgeries. These cells could possibly promote recurring breast cancer. Lastly, clinicians may need to use finer-scale imaging techniques in mammograms for obese women, to detect possible denser extracellular matrix. Until the findings of this study were issued, clinicians and doctors alike wouldn’t have necessarily looked for stiffening tissue as a clinical biomarker.
"We all know that obesity is bad; the metabolism changes and hormones change, so when looking for links to breast cancer, researchers almost exclusively have focused on the biochemical changes happening. But what these findings show is that there are also biophysical changes that are important," said Claudia Fischbach, associate professor of biomedical engineering and the paper's senior author. Bo Ri Seo, a graduate student in Fischbach's lab, is the paper's first author. The study is a collaboration between Cornell's Ithaca campus and researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and includes Dr. Andrew Dannenberg, professor of medicine.
Fischbach explains in more depth, ”Fat tissue in obese women has more cells called myofibroblasts, compared with fat tissue in normal-weight women. Myofibroblasts are wound-healing cells that determine whether a scar will form. All cells secrete compounds to create an extracellular matrix, and they remodel and grab onto this meshwork to make tissue. But when myofibroblasts make an extracellular matrix, they pull together -- the action needed to close a wound -- stiffening the tissue.
These are cells in our body regardless of injury. In obese women, there are more myofibroblasts than in lean women, which leads to scarring and stiffening without an injury in the extracellular matrix. Tumors also recruit more myofibroblasts than are found in healthy tissue, which also leads to stiffer extracellular matrix,” said Fischbach.
A Positive Trend
In the United States, 33.5% of women who were diagnosed with breast cancer died from the disease in 1988. By 2010, that number dropped to 23.5%, according to research from the National Cancer Institute. This means a 76.5% of diagnosed women survive breast cancer.
"Breast cancer mortality rates following diagnosis have been decreasing over four decades, not only in the first five years after diagnosis but thereafter," said Mitchell Gail, senior investigator in the biostatistics branch of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and lead author of a recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology. "Little of the improvement could be explained by changes in tumor size or estrogen-receptor status over time in women under age 70. This suggests a major contribution from treatment and early detection."
Other October Awareness Events
October is an action-packed awareness month for those who are interested in getting involved in cause related events. Chances are, whatever you are most passionate about, there are community events, 5k marathons, fundraisers and many other ways to make a difference to your cause. A simple online search will help you find a yearly schedule of awareness months.
October is best known as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month but as you will see, there are a number of other important diseases and topics that are also honored this month. Raising awareness and becoming involved in events is an excellent way to share your passions with others, while maintaining and encouraging healthy lifestyles.
• National Breast Cancer Awareness
• National Down Syndrome Awareness Month
• SIDS Awareness Month
• Spina Bifida Awareness Month (promoted by the Spina Bifida Association)
• Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
• Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (15th)
• Domestic Violence Awareness Month
• Mental Illness Awareness Week (first full week of October)
• World Mental Health Day (10th)
• Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week (12th-20th)
• National Health Education Week (third full week of October)
• International Infection Prevention Week (third full week of October)
• Respiratory Care Week (last full week of October)
• Healthy Lung Month
• Red Ribbon Week (last week of October)
• Eye Injury Prevention Month
• Home Eye Safety Month
• Health Literacy Month
• National Physical Therapy Month