When Does Breast Cancer Spread?


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Each year, about 2.3 million people in the world develop the disease. Catching breast cancer early is critical for survival. That’s why researchers are studying how breast cancer spreads in the body. They’ve uncovered some interesting clues about when the cancer travels in the body. breast cancer spread

About one in every eight women will develop breast cancer during her life.

Kristen Lyons  says, “I just, I felt something and I thought, huh, it was real tiny, but it just felt different.”

Kathleen DePalo says, “I was never one for self-examination, and that was a big mistake.”

When breast cancer is found early, it’s highly treatable. But if it’s spread, or what doctors call “metastasized”, the prognosis isn’t so good. breast cancer spread

“So, we understand metastatic breast cancer, it’s not curable.”  explains Sara Hurvitz, MD, UCLA/Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Ctr.

Scientists know metastasis happens when circulating cancer cells break away from the original tumor and travel in the body via blood vessels. Until now, researchers assumed tumors released cells continuously and haven’t known much about when tumors spread.

In a new study published in the Journal Nature, Swiss researchers examined mice and female cancer patients. They found circulating cells that later form metastases mainly arise during sleep. In other words: when a person or animal is asleep, the tumor seems to “wake up.” Cells that leave a tumor at night also seem to divide more quickly compared to cells that exit in the daytime. Researchers say this isn’t just an interesting finding, it could help improve the way breast cancer is diagnosed and treated in the future. For instance, the next step is to see if giving patients therapies at different times of the day has an effect on outcomes. New information that could change how doctors manage women with breast cancer.

The researchers say these findings suggest that the escape of circulating cancer cells from the tumor may be controlled by hormones, such as melatonin, which determine a person’s rhythms of day and night. They say more studies are needed to determine how to put this discovery into practice.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.






REPORT #3003

BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer. The kind of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer. About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 13%) will develop invasive breast cancer. In 2022, an estimated 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 51,400 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.

(Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/what-is-breast-cancer.htm


DIAGNOSIS: Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include a breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue, change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast, changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling, a newly inverted nipple, peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin, and/or redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange. Tests and procedures used to diagnose breast cancer include a breast exam, mammogram, breast ultrasound, biopsy, and/or breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

(Sources: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352470


NEW REGULATIONS: Positron emission mammography (PEM) is a newer imaging test of the breast that combines some aspects of a PET scan and a mammogram. PEM uses the same type of radioactive tracer injected into the blood as a PET scan. The breast is then lightly compressed while the images are taken, as with a mammogram. PEM may be better able to detect small clusters of cancer cells within the breast than standard mammography. This is because it takes into account how active the breast cells are, as opposed to just their structure. PEM is being studied mainly in women with breast cancer to see if it can help determine the extent of the cancer. PEM exposes the whole body to radiation, so it isn’t likely to be used every year for breast cancer screening.

(Source: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/experimental-breast-imaging.html#:~:text=Positron%20emission%20mammography%20(PEM)%20is,taken%2C%20as%20with%20a%20mammogram.)

* For More Information, Contact:                        

Sara Hurvitz, MD



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