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Analysis and Comment (33)

Research that found links between abortion and breast cancer also found men who had ‘much opportunity to participate in parties’ were more likely to have stomach cancer. Research that found links between abortion and breast cancer also found men who had ‘much opportunity to participate in parties’ were more likely to have stomach cancer. burningmax/Flickr

Abortions don’t cause cancer any more than parties do

The purported link between abortion and breast cancer is based on research that’s no longer accepted as valid because its methods are so flawed. But that hasn’t stopped politicians such as Fred Nile and…
Some recommendations are straightforward: more fruit and veg, less alcohol and meat. But for calcium, it’s more complicated. Some recommendations are straightforward: more fruit and veg, less alcohol and meat. But for calcium, it’s more complicated. ransomtech/Flickr

Six foods that increase or decrease your risk of cancer

If you believe cancer is a disease that strikes from nowhere with little in your control to prevent it, you’d be mistaken on both counts. Most cases of cancer are considered preventable by positive nutrition…
The documentary explores why 99% of women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. The documentary explores why 99% of women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. SBS

Documentary suggests breasts are becoming a health hazard

Most people would be aware of Angelina Jolie’s preventative double mastectomy after she found she was carrying a mutation to the BRCA 1 gene which confers an extremely high risk of breast cancer. But according…
Breast cancer rates are rising, but so are survival rates. Breast cancer rates are rising, but so are survival rates. bookgrl

Hard Evidence: are we beating cancer?

More and more people are beating cancer – over the past 20 years the proportion of people surviving the disease for more than ten years has increased by a third, from 34% to 45%. But as the population…
Reduce your cancer risk by reducing your alcohol consumption. Reduce your cancer risk by reducing your alcohol consumption. V31S70/Flickr

Health Check: does alcohol cause cancer?

Alcohol and cancer is a topic that arouses a lot of controversy: many Australians like the odd drink but don’t want to make the connection to cancer, the world’s biggest killer. The World Health Organisation’s…
Mamming involves resting breasts on a flat surface and taking a photo. Mamming involves resting breasts on a flat surface and taking a photo. Ondra Anderle

#mamming meme opens young women up to screening harms

Social media can help raise awareness of health issues, engaging people in discussion and encouraging them to take action. But thoughtless adherence to such trends has the potential to cause harm. New…
The predictive tool might help women make decisions about changing their lifestyle. The predictive tool might help women make decisions about changing their lifestyle. Image from shutterstock.com

Tool to predict women’s cancer risk could prompt lifestyle changes

Researchers in the United States have developed a new model to predict women’s risk of developing breast, uterine and ovarian cancer, based on individual lifestyle factors. These three cancers make up…
There’s a deep uncertainty about both the benefits and the harms of breast cancer screening as it is practiced today. There’s a deep uncertainty about both the benefits and the harms of breast cancer screening as it is practiced today. Tips Times/Flickr

Growing uncertainty about breast cancer screening

When they were introduced over 20 years ago, national breast screening programs were a milestone in public health. They were based on evidence from randomised trials that screening saved lives. But there…
Angelina Jolie has a double mastectomy after discovering she carried a mutation of the BRAC1 gene. Angelina Jolie has a double mastectomy after discovering she carried a mutation of the BRAC1 gene. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Supreme Court BRCA patenting decision: experts respond

Millions of women in the US will have access to affordable genetic screening for cancer after the US Supreme Court ruled that a commercial company cannot patent human genes. The screening tests for mutations…
Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy has sparked a series of reports about preventative surgery. Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy has sparked a series of reports about preventative surgery. PA/Alastair Grant

Greater access to genetic testing in NHS will help cancer fight

Following Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie’s revelation last week that she’d undergone a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer, it has emerged that a 53-year-old man had his prostate removed after…
The harms from over-diagnosis and over-treatment mean that not everyone benefits from breast cancer screening. The harms from over-diagnosis and over-treatment mean that not everyone benefits from breast cancer screening. Ian Hunter

Breast cancer screening needs to make more than economic sense

A recent article in The Conversation’s Health Rationing series endorsed the government’s decision to extend the BreastScreen program to women aged 70 to 74 (from 50 to 69), based on the results of a 2009…
Angelina Jolie should be seen as a model for seeking information about her options and making a decision that best suited her. Angelina Jolie should be seen as a model for seeking information about her options and making a decision that best suited her. EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Panicking about breast cancer? Here’s what you need to know

Angelina Jolie’s recent announcement about her double mastectomy likely caused many women to think about their own chance of developing breast cancer. But before you rush off to have a bunch of possibly…
Women whose partners accepted their bodily changes after cancer are more likely to feel positive and sexy. Women whose partners accepted their bodily changes after cancer are more likely to feel positive and sexy. Christophe Karaba/EPA

Sex, sexuality and cancer: let’s break the taboo

Angelina Jolie has attracted much attention for revealing her recent experience of a double mastectomy. But her personal attractiveness draws attention to a neglected aspect of cancer treatment and survival…
American actress Angelina Jolie has had a double mastectomy because she carries the faulty gene BRCA1. American actress Angelina Jolie has had a double mastectomy because she carries the faulty gene BRCA1. EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Angelina Jolie has had a double mastectomy, so what is BRCA1?

Actress Angelina Jolie’s op-ed in the New York Times explained that she opted to have a double mastectomy because she carries the hereditary BRCA1 gene, which she says increases her risk of breast cancer…
The vast majority of us will never be exposed to aluminium in high enough concentrations to do damage. The vast majority of us will never be exposed to aluminium in high enough concentrations to do damage. ezioman/Flickr

Does aluminium cause Alzheimer’s and breast cancer?

Silvery, ductile, malleable and so very, very useful, aluminium is the most common metal in the Earth’s crust. But despite its importance (or perhaps because of it), there are fears that this metal causes…
The BRCA1 gene is thought to account for 45% of hereditary breast cancer, and at least 80% of hereditary cancer involving both breast and ovarian cancers. The BRCA1 gene is thought to account for 45% of hereditary breast cancer, and at least 80% of hereditary cancer involving both breast and ovarian cancers. Tips Times

Gene patenting: Australian court rules BRCA1 patent is legal

“The issue that arises in this case is of considerable importance. It relates to the patentability of genes, or gene sequences, and the practice of gene patenting”. So began the reasons for judgement of…
Based on the evidence, it’s safe to dismiss this one as a myth. Based on the evidence, it’s safe to dismiss this one as a myth. Flickr/lism

Monday’s medical myth: deodorants cause breast cancer

The concern that using deodorants and antiperspirants might increase the risk of breast cancer has been around for around for at least 15 years, probably longer. The theory suggests that either parabens…
Even without routine mammographs, women with a family history of the disease should be screened. Even without routine mammographs, women with a family history of the disease should be screened. Zanthia

Is routine breast cancer screening doing more harm than good?

Public discussion about the risks of over-diagnosis of breast cancer have left some women wondering whether they should take part in the government’s breast screening program. Let’s take a look at what…
Breast cancer pink has become the signifier of a new feminism more concerned with awareness than protest. Breast cancer pink has become the signifier of a new feminism more concerned with awareness than protest. GaiaRae Veliz/Flickr

Girlie or girl power? Breast cancer and the cult(ure) of pink

Pinktober, when hundreds of products turn pink for breast cancer, is a curious month – more carnival than commemoration; more rose-coloured glasses than true blue conscious raising. Concerns have been…
Women need to be made aware of over-diagnosis and given enough information to make up their own minds about screening. Women need to be made aware of over-diagnosis and given enough information to make up their own minds about screening. Johan/Flickr

Over-diagnosis and breast cancer screening: a case study

OVER-DIAGNOSIS EPIDEMIC – Today Robin Bell and Robert Burton examine breast cancer to evaluate the role of population-wide screening in over-diagnosis. Since the national screening mammography program…
Basic statistical literacy is important for communicating and understanding medical risks. Basic statistical literacy is important for communicating and understanding medical risks. Janet Ramsden

Understanding risk statistics about breast cancer screening

An article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) today says a US charity “overstates the benefit of mammography and ignores harms altogether.” The charity’s questionable claim is that early detection…
There’s no evidence that wearing a bra – even to bed – increases your risk of breast cancer. There’s no evidence that wearing a bra – even to bed – increases your risk of breast cancer.

Monday’s medical myth: wearing a bra to bed increases your risk of breast cancer

Women’s breasts are seen in society as symbols of femininity, fertility and sexuality – so are the many different styles of bras worn to support, enhance and protect the mammary glands. Many women wear…
Consumer groups says women want reliable and up-to-date information about recurrence risk. Consumer groups says women want reliable and up-to-date information about recurrence risk. Calvin Fleming

How likely is my breast cancer to recur and spread?

Over 13,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia each year. After completing initial treatment, the immediate question for many, if not most, is - what are the chances my cancer will return…
Smoking is an independent risk factor for breast cancer. Smoking is an independent risk factor for breast cancer. Tonino Donato/flickr

Breast cancer and smoking: it’s always a good time to stop

The number of people within our community who have survived cancer is increasing. But a recent Victorian study has shown that not all survivors are embracing good health. In the last 20 years, the incidence…
You’d need to consume around 100 cans of soup a day to reach dangerous BPA exposure levels. You’d need to consume around 100 cans of soup a day to reach dangerous BPA exposure levels. Neil Conway

Should the latest research about plastics exposure worry us?

Bisphenol A (BPA) - a chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics and some epoxy resins – has been in the news quite a bit lately. Headline-grabbing news items have been breathlessly reporting…
Researchers have found that rare mutations in XRCC2 increase the risk of breast cancer. Researchers have found that rare mutations in XRCC2 increase the risk of breast cancer. Robert S Donovan

Revealed: another piece of the breast cancer gene puzzle

You’ve probably heard of BRCA1 and BRCA2 – the genes that, when mutated, markedly increase the risk of developing breast cancer. We’ve also known for a while that a handful of other genes also increase…
Nanas may contribute more than just hugs and kisses. Nanas may contribute more than just hugs and kisses. John McNab

What’s the link between caring grandmas and breast cancer?

A recent study shows that mutations in the “breast cancer genes” BRCA1 and BRCA2 – which increase the risks of breast and ovarian cancers among others – also increase fertility. This is an extraordinary…
A controversial article in Lancet suggests nuns should be prescribed the contraceptive pill to help reduce their high rates of cancer. A controversial article in Lancet suggests nuns should be prescribed the contraceptive pill to help reduce their high rates of cancer. AAP

Catholic church urged to give nuns the pill to protect against cancer

The Catholic church should freely distribute the contraceptive pill to its almost 95,000 nuns in order to reduce their “greatly increased risk” of developing female-specific cancers, a paper published…
Early detection means a better chance of successful treatment but are some women being treated unnecessarily? Early detection means a better chance of successful treatment but are some women being treated unnecessarily? AAP

Breast cancer screening – are women given all the facts?

Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death in Australian women. But experts disagree on the benefits of breast cancer screening programs, with some arguing that it’s unclear whether…
A test case is slated to challenge Myriad’s claim for breast cancer genetic mutations next February. A test case is slated to challenge Myriad’s claim for breast cancer genetic mutations next February. TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³/Flickr

Patent controversy: don’t let breast cancer gene genie out of the bottle

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has found Myriad Genetics is entitled to patents on two sets human genetic mutations used to predict if women have an increased risk of breast and ovarian…
A US court has recognised Myriad Genetics' patent for an isolated gene, which plays a role in breast cancer. A US court has recognised Myriad Genetics' patent for an isolated gene, which plays a role in breast cancer. Mel Rowling

Patent controversy: what the US decision about breast cancer gene patent means for Australia

The recent US Federal Court of Appeals decision relates to the patent law status of inventions based on the discovery that particular mutations in BRCA genes predispose women to breast and ovarian cancer…

Research and News (10)

Research Briefs (28)

Moles linked to risk for breast cancer

Women with a greater number of moles are more likely to develop breast cancer, according to a new US study. Using data from…

Hope against breast cancer

There is new hope in the fight against breast cancer. Scientists have found that silencing the BCL-2 gene in oestrogen receptor…

Breast cancer risk viewed differently

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer, but no genetic link, are not consistent in how they perceive their risk…