According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, breast cancer is the leading cause of premature death and the second most common cause of death in the county. In addition, a new study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that the incidence of metastatic(Stage IV) breast cancer, which is the most advanced form of the disease, has increased among younger women between the ages of 24 and 39. This increase among younger women (from 250 per year to 850 per year) has occurred at a time when cancer deaths have fallen 20% over the past 20 years.
Following the diagnosis, the patient is faced with surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy, all of which have significant side-effects that can be painful. The Noreen Fraser Foundation (NFF), founded by Stage IV breast cancer survivor Noreen Fraser, has taken a proactive stance against the dreaded disease. Her organization raises funds to support state-of-the art breast cancer research
Last week, the NFF presented the grant to UCLA for study in the field of epigenetics. This week, the foundation announced that it is funding promising research to Canadian researchers.
The grant went to Drs. John Mackey and Nadeem Pervez at the University of Alberta, Canada. The grant was made possible due to the generosity of Stella & Dot and its Canadian stylists who graciously supported NFF by featuring a breast cancer awareness line of beautiful pink products with the net proceeds benefiting the foundation during the entire month of October. The grant will fund a pilot project to test the feasibility of a new type of radiation treatment for women with early stage breast cancer.
The researchers are investigating a new therapy, which involves implanting radioactive seeds into the breast of early stage breast cancer patients following a lumpectomy so that patients may avoid the traditional radiation treatment that requires daily hospital visits for seven to 12 weeks, and which can be painful and disfiguring. If the pilot proves successful, patients may have a new treatment format that is safer, more effective, pain-free and much more convenient than traditional radiation treatment.
The foundation notes that its Winter Challenge is well on its way. It has raised $2,000 this past week toward its fundraising goal of $53,000 to continue the work at the epigentics lab at UCLA. As always, 100% of online donations to the NFF go directly toward groundbreaking women’s cancer research. For more information about NFF, click on this link.
In regard to the study noting an increase in breast cancer among younger women, the researchers did not offer an explanation for the increase in metastatic breast cancer among young women; however, a February 19, 2013 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) does offer an explanation. The agency noted that a global surge in birth defects, hormonal cancers, and psychiatric illnesses has occurred. The WHO claims that man-made chemicals in everyday products are likely to be at least partially responsible for the increase. The new report updated a 2002 study on the potential dangers of synthetic chemicals. The authors noted that the situation was “a global threat that needs to be resolved.” It claimed that humans and animals across the planet were probably exposed to hundreds of these often little-studied or understood compounds at any one time. The investigators wrote: “We live in a world in which man-made chemicals have become part of everyday life.”