San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2013: What Did We Learn?

San Antonio skylineThe San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest findings in breast cancer research–directly from the researchers. I had attended last year for the first time, and was excited to be able to go to the event again this year.

There were some very intriguing presentations this year about possible new therapeutic approaches that are either now in clinical trials or will be entering them soon. In that vein, I’ll describe two areas of longer-term research that received a significant amount of coverage. Also very noteworthy were two sets of findings that could lead to less toxic treatments for some patients, and one study that could eventually lead to a new prevention strategy for women who are at high risk for breast cancer. Continue reading

Breast Cancer: Where Are We After Twenty Years?

on_the_roadI recently came across a copy of a letter I wrote back in 1994, about a year after my breast cancer diagnosis, to members of a congressional committee that was considering the budget for the following year. Here is part of what I had written:

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 1993 at age 35, although I was considered to be at low risk for getting the disease…I read with great interest that researchers are finding some promising new leads in their study of this and other types of cancer. Discovery of the causes of and cure for cancer may not be far way, but it all depends on our continued strong commitment to providing appropriate levels of funding for basic research.

The paragraph above still represents essentially where we are today, twenty years later. That is, we continue to hear about promising new leads yet we still know little about the causes of cancer and certainly don’t have a cure. Continue reading