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Articles tagged with: Breast cancer/breast health –

With DCIS, where does the real risk lie?

December 2015—When a pathologist makes a diagnosis of DCIS, few people greet the news happily. Not patients, not surgeons, not radiation oncologists. Depending on the particulars of the case, pathologists might also feel cheerless. Typically, the only winners are uncertainty and its sidekick, fear.

Twists and turns in biomarker exploration

August 2015—Forget the lone tree falling down, unnoticed and thus possibly soundless, in the forest. For pathologists and medical oncologists, the more meaningful philosophical question involves breast cancer biomarkers. If a biomarker looks promising in research, will its impact be felt in clinical practice?

Laying worries to rest over breast biopsy discord

May 2015—With the regularity of a pension fiscal crisis they appear: one study or another, in various journals, pointing out discrepancies in pathology findings. Editorials appear, the news jumps to the lay press, and suddenly the conversation feels hijacked.

Breast cancer answers, short and long

February 2014—When it comes to breast cancer, medical oncologists have two “wish lists” for their pathologist colleagues. Here’s the short list of test results they need when they sit down with a patient, courtesy of Melody Cobleigh, MD. “ER, PR, HER2,” says Dr. Cobleigh, professor of medicine and the Brian Piccolo Chair for Cancer Research, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago. It’s a direct, unassailable answer. But so, too, is saying that the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand caused World War I.

HPV a game changer in head, neck tumors

December 2013—Not that any cancer is ever “easy,” but until relatively recently, the culprit in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas was clear. The vast majority were caused by “smoking, smoking, and smoking,” says William Westra, MD, professor of pathology, oncology, and otolaryngology/head and neck surgery, and associate director, surgical pathology, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Call this HNSCC’s antediluvian era.

New guideline takes on tough HER2 cases

October 2013—In HER2 testing for breast cancer, the term “equivocal” verges on being a four-letter word. If the patient has a clearly positive test result, therapies targeting HER2 become a treatment option, and a highly successful one at that. If the result is clearly negative, HER2-targeting drugs are off the table; the patient isn’t expected to benefit from the drugs, which are expensive and can be cardiotoxic.