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Progress in breast cancer research during 2016

Patients face a variety of challenges as they seek treatment from New York health care providers, but breast cancer may be one of the most terrifying health issues. Some deal with aggressive forms that require prompt treatment and have severe side effects. Others deal with a delayed diagnosis, which can lead to an inability to overcome the disease. Some patients even face treatment because of an erroneous diagnosis, going through life-changing surgeries or treatments that may not even be necessary. However, research has provided good news for providers and their patients as the information gained could soon impact outcomes for the better.

Mammography has been a crucial element for diagnosing possible cases of breast cancer, but there are problems with accuracy in at least 16 percent of mammograms. False positives could lead to unnecessary treatment, and false negatives could allow cancer to progress. A blood test could provide greater accuracy and less discomfort, and research completed during 2016 provides hope of effective diagnostics via blood tests in just a few years. Genetic testing could also provide insight about susceptibility to breast cancer as recent research has pointed to 93 genes linked to the disease.

The drug therapies used to treat breast cancer can be harsh, causing hair loss and other serious side effects. A combination therapy involving two drugs was used in testing with more than 250 women, and the specific drugs used successfully eradicated all signs of breast cancer in more than 10 percent of subjects in less than two weeks' time. Because tumors can become resistant to chemotherapy drugs quickly, the prompt and thorough eradication of tumors could be a monumental advance.

Failing to order a mammogram for a patient dealing with possible symptoms of breast cancer is an example of a scenario that might cause a patient to deal with delayed treatment. A spread of the disease related to improper handling of a cancer case might be a reason for pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit with the help of an attorney.

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