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Patient management: Quality of life and beyond

SAN ANTONIO - Breast cancer is a multifaceted disease requiring creative solutions for diagnosis, quality of life management and adjuvant therapies. Data presented at the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium explore these areas.

Hormone Supplements Reduce Death from Breast Cancer
Abstract #65, Sarah Marshall, M.A.

Although hormone supplements have been implicated in increased rates of breast cancer, they appear to mitigate the mortality risk of breast cancers that do develop. Compared with women who did not use hormone therapy, women who took estrogen-progestin were 63 percent less likely to die from breast cancer while those who took estrogen alone were 30 percent less likely.

Full release available/Complete data to be presented at the meeting.

Tamoxifen Tops Anastrazole for Quality of Life, but not Survival
Abstract #1136, Shozo Ohsumi, M.D., Ph.D.
Embargo: 5:30 p.m. CST, December 11, 2008

After one to four years of tamoxifen, switching to anastrozole improves disease-free survival by about 31 percent, but patients pay a price in quality of life measures. The difference in quality of life is significant enough that scientists say it should be considered, and may even be the deciding factor, when making a clinical decision about therapeutic strategy.

Full release available/Complete data to be presented at the meeting.

Letrozole following breast cancer surgery may provide survival benefit
Abstract #13, Alan Coates, M.D.
Embargo: 9:45 a.m. CST, December 11, 2008

Letrozole may improve overall survival in patients with primary breast cancer. A four-arm comparison study of letrozole and tamoxifen shows letrozole not only reduces recurrence, but may provide a 13 percent reduction in risk of death. Additionally, the study finds that using a sequence of tamoxifen and letrozole is not superior to letrozole alone. The sequence of letrozole followed by tamoxifen was closely similar to letrozole alone implying that patients can safely switch to tamoxifen after initial letrozole if required.

Complete data to be presented at the meeting.

Use of Written Forms Doubles Breast Cancer Detection Rate
Abstract #5012, William Goodson, M.D.

When clinicians used simple written forms to focus attention during clinical breast exams, the rate of breast mass detection from the previous year doubled without retraining clinicians, thus affirming the importance of clinician attentiveness. This finding, researchers say, can be applied to all aspects of medicine and undermines the need for intensive training, complicated techniques, and medical reimbursement codes to improve this simple, yet valuable procedure.

Complete data to be presented at the meeting.


Contact: Jeremy Moore
American Association for Cancer Research

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