Having a better understanding of how breast cancer develops is helping researchers and medical professionals to develop more effective treatments for the illness.
Science Nordic recently reported on a study in Norway, which has been looking at what happens to normal cells when they develop into breast cancer.
According to the findings, tumours can be categorised as oestrogen receptor positive (ER-positive) or oestrogen receptor negative (ER-negative). This is important because the treatment for each needs to be different to be as effective as possible.
Researcher Thomas Fleischer, who has worked with his colleagues at Oslo University Hospital, the University of Oslo and Akershus University Hospital on the study, explained that ER-positive tumours are the most common, accounting for around 70 per cent of breast cancer cases.
He noted that tumours can be divided into further subgroups, giving doctors more information about how best to treat each individual patient. This analysis also allows them to see how aggressive a tumour is.
For example, ER-positive breast cancers can often be treated effectively with hormones, the team explained.
While this is great news in terms of the improvements being seen in breast cancer treatments, it’s important not to forget about patients once they’ve beaten the disease.
Last month, the Express reported that 250,000 women aren’t receiving adequate support following their treatment, and this can result in health problems for months or even years afterwards.
Simple things, like finding mastectomy swimsuits to allow them to exercise more easily, could make all the difference.