Breast Cancer

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Understanding the DNA of tumours allows researchers to target treatment to each individual. Erika/Flickr

How cancer doctors use personalised medicine to target variations unique to each tumour

Personalised medicine is based on the idea that by understanding the specific molecular code of a person’s disease, and particularly its genetic makeup, we can more accurately tailor treatment.
Young women in Kano, northern Nigeria. Access to cancer screening in the region is particularly problematic. Reuters/Goran Tomasevic

What’s stopping Nigerian women from being screened for cancer?

Women in northern Nigeria are not going for cancer screenings early enough. There are myriad social, cultural and economic reasons for this. But early detection would save their lives.
Women with DCIS or stage 0 breast cancer have the same chance of dying from breast cancer as the rest of the population – 3.3%. CristinaMuraca/Shutterstock

Treating ‘stage 0’ breast cancer doesn’t always save women’s lives so should we screen for it?

We're told that finding symptoms of disease early will prevent the more serious consequences. But for pre-cancerous lesions, also known as stage 0 breast cancer, the picture is much more complicated.
Australia’s Federal Court last year rejected Ms D'Arcy’s appeal and ruled companies could patent genes they isolated. Dan Peled/Shutterstock

Remind me again, how can companies patent breast cancer genes?

The High Court challenge is the last resort for Ms D'Arcy's test case against companies patenting human genes and has implications for patients, clinicians and researchers.
While we search for a cure, we are still searching for cause. A volunteer hangs bras during a promotion against breast cancer in Switzerland in 2008. Ruben Sprich/Reuters

The mystery of breast cancer

Major causes have been identified for most common cancers, like liver and lung. But we still haven't identified one for breast cancer.
Challenges to the patents for BRCA mutation tests in Australia and the United States resulted in opposing conclusions. Christiana Care/Flickr

Gene patents may sound scary but soon they may no longer matter

Recent cases in Australia and the United States and a new case in Canada show how controversial the subject of gene patents is. But technological advances and the cost of patenting may soon mean gene patents…
Participants and guests at a Walk for Breast Cancer decked out in pink. Breast cancer walk image via

Awash in pink, but breast cancer awareness isn’t a cure

Awareness efforts can focus public attention and help scientists raise funds for research. But the impact on eradicating the disease itself and helping patients today is much less clear.
Having a risk factor doesn’t mean a woman will develop breast cancer. Dick Vos/Flickr

What causes breast cancer? Sorting fact from fiction

Breast cancer accounts for one in four female cancers diagnosed in Australia each year. It is estimated that by the age of 85, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and one in 39 will…
Research suggests the chemicals in chokeberry have a synergistic effect with a cancer drug. Katja Schulz/Flickr

Nutraceuticals are often big on promise but fail to deliver

Extracts from a berry can improve the effectiveness of a chemotherapy drug, according to research published today in the Journal of Clinical Pathology. But it’s best to view this finding with caution because…
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…

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