6 Frequently Used Cancer Terms: What Do They Actually Mean?

Understanding frequently used cancer terminologyWhen I read news articles about cancer research, I often find myself annoyed by the confusing way in which terminology about cancer and cancer research in used.

In cancer language, it’s not unusual for the medical or scientific meaning of a word to be different from the way the same word is understood in everyday language.

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Recent Breast Cancer Screening Studies: What Are the Take-Home Messages?

Doctor examining a mammogram

Another major study on breast cancer screening was published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). This study follows a report two months ago on the results of a large clinical trial on mammography conducted in Canada.

A summary of the Canadian trial’s main findings and links to several commentaries about it are in my recent post on top cancer research stories.

The study reported last week in JAMA did not include any new trial findings or other new evidence. Instead, it was a thorough review of what we know about the benefits and harms of mammography from the many trials and other studies that have been conducted over the last 50 years and an effort to distill from all this information what the current state of knowledge is about mammography. Continue reading

Breast Cancer “Awareness”: What Is The Message?

beach_sunriseOver the past two to three decades, advocacy groups have worked to increase public awareness of breast cancer.

Many of the awareness campaigns have focused on mammography screening for early detection of cancer as the main action step that women should take in response to their general awareness of breast cancer as a health risk.

Presumably in large part as a result of these awareness efforts, more women are now being screened for breast cancer. In a 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 66% of women over 40 reported having had a mammogram within the past two years.(1)

But is this enough for us to be able to say that the breast cancer advocacy movement has been a “success”?

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