New early detection procedure may help diagnose breast cancer

Many times if breast cancer can be detected at an early stage, then there is a greater chance for successfully treating the disease.

Many times if breast cancer can be detected at an early stage, then there is a greater chance for successfully treating the disease. With faster and more effective procedures helping to diagnose the condition, physicians can potentially save more lives with follow-up treatment.

A common disease
Breast cancer is globally the most common cancer for women, accounting for 16 percent of those with cancerous diseases, notes the World Health Organization (WHO). What amplifies the problem is that the risk of breast cancer increases with age, so early detection programs play the biggest role in controlling the disease according to WHO.

Based on a study published in a recent issue of the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal, researchers in Heidelberg, Germany, are developing a new procedure to test gene activity to project future cancer risk in breast tissue.

"This is a milestone. The method described detects activity at the genetic level, which often occurs well before any outward symptoms occur," said Gerald Weissmann, MD, editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal. "Not only could this allow for earlier diagnosis of breast cancer and more accurate risk assessment, but eventually, this technique might be used in other types of cancer as well."

Detecting changes
A team of researchers including Clarissa Gerhauser, PhD, of the German Cancer Research Center, extracted DNA from both tumor and normal tissue samples in an analysis to determine future cancer growth. Based on the study's findings, the development of genetic changes on the cellular level can potentially be charted, such as when a mutation will occur. Through small biopsies and further testing, individuals who are more at risk for breast cancer will better be able to determine tumor growth in the breast tissue with the help of their physician, which could lead to important preventative measures such as to buy Tamoxifen from an online pharmacy.

"We hope that our results help to develop tools to identify breast cancer patients when tumors are still small, and eventually curable," said Gerhauser, researcher at the Division of Epigenomics and Cancer Risk Factors at the German Cancer Research Center. "These tools might hopefully also help to predict the progression of tumor development and guide decisions on cancer treatment."

The survival rate for women with breast cancer in North America is about 80 percent, thanks to increased detection programs, notes WHO. As of right now, the agency notes that mammography is the only screening method proven effective to diagnose the condition.