New diagnosis of breast cancer is presented

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New diagnosis of breast cancer is presented: glimmer of hope for breast cancer patients

Breast cancer patients and the doctors treating them usually have to wait a long time before they can recognize whether therapy is working. Faster results are expected in the future thanks to a new process. A blood test should then be able to react more quickly.

Instead of three months, only three weeks until results can be determined With around 74,000 new cases per year, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Germany. While some risk factors such as age, diet and lifestyle are known, the causes of an actual outbreak of the disease are still largely unclear. Chemotherapy is often considered after diagnosis. In view of the side effects, however, use in numerous breast cancer patients is rather counterproductive and leads to a deterioration in health status when in doubt. ("") In the future, breast cancer patients could be spared long, ineffective therapies by a new blood test. By examining tumor cells circulating in the blood, doctors want to recognize more quickly whether therapy is working or whether other medication is necessary. Professor Andreas Schneeweiss from the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) at Heidelberg University Hospital and a member of the board of the German Society for Senology (DGS) said to the dpa news agency: "You can better adapt the therapy and thus increase the chances of survival." final clinical evidence is missing as to whether the course of the disease is influenced by the method.

Expert studies on this, which give hope, are to be presented at the 33rd annual conference of the DGS in Munich from June 27th to 29th. Around 2500 doctors and other medical assistants will deal with breast diseases. The blood test should help sick women find the right therapy faster. According to studies, high levels of tumor cells in the blood were linked to faster disease progression and lower chances of survival. In the event of a change in the number of tumor cells in the blood, and thus possible therapy success, this can often be demonstrated after the first treatment cycle. Up to now, it has only been possible to demonstrate this using x-rays or magnetic resonance examinations after about three months. "With the test, we can see after three weeks whether we are on the right track."

Previously tested for lung or stomach cancer. The doctors in Heidelberg were also able to demonstrate for the first time that only certain tumor cells in the blood lead to metastases. "Only a certain subset of the cells is angry, that is, they can form metastases, and we were able to describe them," explained Schneeweiss. "The next step is to target these cells." Appropriate therapies are already in development. So far they have mainly been tested for lung or stomach cancer. Now the Heidelberg scientists want to test this drug on breast cancer patients who have the special shape of the circulating tumor cells. However, it will take a long time before the clinical studies are completed and wide use will only be possible from then on. Under the leadership of the women's clinic at the University of Düsseldorf, a study is already underway at many centers in Germany to determine whether targeted therapy that is adapted to the appearance of the circulating tumor cells leads to a longer chance of survival in breast cancer. At the congress in Munich, hereditary breast cancer should also be another topic. (ad)

Image: Andrea Damm /

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