The American Society of Clinical Oncology convened their 2016 annual meeting over the weekend, and several of the presentations suggest new methods of preventing breast cancer recurrence.
Breast cancer patients who are treated with aromatase inhibitor therapy are generally prescribed the the estrogen drugs for a five year course. A new study has suggested that by doubling the length of hormone therapy, the recurrence rate for breast cancer survivors drops by 34%. The study included 1,918 women who underwent five years of hormone therapy with the drug letrozole. After five years, half of the group switched to a placebo while the other half were given an additional five year treatment.
The Univerisity of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has published results from two recent studies which document the effects of Metformin, a drug commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, on breast cancer and endometrial hyperplasia. The study tracked outcomes for 1,215 patients who were diagnosed and surgically treated for breast cancer. Patients who began to use metformin after their diagnosis were found to have a 50% higher survivability rate than those who did not use metformin.
The timing of metformin use is extremely important when it comes to breast cancer survivability rates. The study also found that patients who used metformin prior to their diagnosis were more than twice as likely to die than those who never used the drug.
A study has indicated that a diet rich in vegetables, fish, and olive oil may decrease the odds of a breast cancer survivor experiencing a relapse or recurrence of their cancer. The study tracked 300 women with early-stage cancer and found that those who ate a normal diet were more likely to experience a breast cancer recurrence. The findings build upon previous research which indicated that a Mediterranean diet, and especially extra virgin olive oil, could reduce breast cancer risk by 68%.
Want to Learn More?
Susannah Haarmann, PT, CLT, WCS is the author and instructor of Physical Therapy Treatment for the Breast Oncology Patient, a course offered through the Herman & Wallace Institute. This continuing education course for medical practitioners offers a rehabilitation perspective for providers who work with oncology rehabilitation patients. Join Dr. Haarmann this in Stockton, CA on September 24-25 to learn evaluation and treatment techniques necessary to make an outpatient therapist an essential member of any oncology team.
1) Paul E. Goss, et al. J Clin Oncol 34, 2016 (suppl; abstr LBA1)
2) Yun Rose Li. University of Pennsylvania, American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting 2016