With breast cancer treatment, expertise – and research – matter

October 23, 2014 | by Tami Dennis

The breast cancer statistic is attention-getting: One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. That doesn’t mean that, if you’re one of eight women at a dinner table, one of you is fated to have breast cancer (read more on that breast cancer statistic), but it does mean that the risk of developing breast cancer is not to be taken lightly. Neither is the decision on where to get breast cancer treatment.

Breast cancer treatment and research In breast cancer treatment, location matters. That location should also be the home of research. City of Hope understands this.

As a nationally known biomedical research institution and as one of the nation’s few comprehensive cancer centers, City of Hope can provide access to therapies, research and clinical trials that other hospitals can’t.

Let's start with clinical trials and research. The clinical trials available to City of Hope patients often stem from the research conducted on the City of Hope campus, where breast cancer specialists and researchers work together on therapies to improve survival and quality of life. Those clinical trials include assessments of new chemotherapy drugs, targeted therapies, hormone therapies, new surgical techniques and new radiation approaches — all focused on improving breast cancer treatment, detection and prevention.

Here's a description from the City of Hope website of some of the institution's current breast cancer research projects:

  • Decoding breast cancers’ resistance mechanisms to hormone therapy or chemotherapy so that they can be overcome, enhancing treatment effectiveness.
  • Identifying and isolating compounds in natural products , such as mushrooms, pomegranates and blueberries, which have breast cancer fighting properties.
  • Examining the role of PARP inhibitors, a class of drugs that can block a cancer cell’s ability to self-repair DNA damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation therapies.
  • Studying the role of STAT3, a protein highly activated in cancer cells, in breast cancer and developing drugs that can target this protein.
  • Better understanding genetic mutations and how they interact with one another and the environment to affect breast cancer risk.
  • A population study involving more than 100,000 women to examine various lifestyle factors’ link to breast cancer risk.
  • Improving counseling and other support services for women with a high breast cancer risk who make the difficult decision to undergo prophylactic mastectomies, hysterectomies and oophorectomies.
  • Studying survivorship with a focus on quality-of-life issues, the prevention of cancer recurrence or secondary cancers, and other survivorship concerns.
As for treatments, City of Hope similarly provides options that many other hospitals don’t. One of those is introperative radiation therapy, or IORT. This option allows some breast cancer patients to receive one concentrated dose of radiation immediately after surgery, as opposed to the more standard daily treatments for six to eight weeks.

Further, as research has shown, treatment at a comprehensive cancer center saves lives. City of Hope scientists recently examined data on survival and outcomes and found that patients who received cancer care at a comprehensive cancer center had a lower mortality rate and better outcomes than patients who received care at community hospitals. This improvement in survival was seen for a variety of diagnoses, including breast cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer and oral cancer.

With breast cancer, as with any cancer, expertise matters.

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Learn more about City of Hope’s breast cancer research and treatment.

Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.

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