Scientific advances to celebrate
Women and their loved ones can collectively high-five: There truly are-like never before-surprising and exciting scientific advances in breast cancer prevention, detection and treatment. According to Dr. Sian Bevan, director of research at the Canadian Cancer Society, many are just now emerging after decades of laborious genome mapping and identification of specific genes responsible for cancers, including breast cancers. “We know so much more about genes, what they’re doing, and what role they are playing in the disease.”
Scientists have also recently made a huge stride in identifying genetic differences between primary cancer and metastatic cancers (those that spread)-which is the largest cause of breast-cancer mortality. That could lead to treatments that save yet more lives, Bevan says. The breast-cancer survival rate (measured five years after diagnosis) is now 88 percent, up from 79 percent 25 years ago. “Even though that’s great progress, there’s still work to be done, and that requires continued focus and funding of research,” she adds. Meantime, here are the exciting advancements.