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Lorraine Pace Comments on Recent Study That Uses Blood Tests to Determine Breast Cancer

Says It Means a Closer Step for Earlier Detection of Breast Cancer, But Women Should Still Utilize Traditional Imaging Methods for Detection of the Disease

June 6, 2012

Lorraine Pace, President, Breast Cancer Help, Inc., says that a recent study showing that blood tests could be used to determine breast cancer is a hopeful sign that it is one step closer to earlier detection may be found, but added that women should still get regular mammograms as more work needs to be done on the findings.

The Lancet Oncology recently published a study from a group of researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas which tested blood samples from more than 300 women diagnosed with non-metastatic breast cancer for up to eight years to detect cancer cells in the blood that have broken free from a tumor in the breast. The study found that those with cancer cells in their blood were five times more likely to relapse or die from breast cancer, and women with high levels of circulating tumor cells were 10 times more likely to relapse or die.

The test can reliably detect a single cancer cell in 7.5 milliliters of blood, and its results could help identify breast cancer patients with a high risk of occurrence. However, results showed that, while 25% of the women in the study had cancer cells in the blood, only 15% of them relapsed after treatment. Ms. Pace expressed cautious optimism about the findings.

“This is good news that this research is finally coming through,” Ms. Pace said. “However, women still need to depend on imaging such as MRIs, and digital mammograms and sonograms for early detection. But this is a step in the right direction and, hopefully, soon, we’ll have a cure for this horrible disease and know its cause.”

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