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Bollywood joins hands against breast cancer, urges people to pay attention

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Breast Cancer
Bollywood joins hands against breast cancer, urges people to pay attention
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New Delhi, Oct 5 : Some of the Bollywood celebrities including Aditi Rao Hydari, Arjun Kapoor, Ali Fazal came together to organically lend their support to an initiative titled #PayAttention, that urges women to take up breast self-examination.

Avon, the women’s beauty brand bringing new dimensions to beauty, launched #PayAttention on September 7 and now many Bollywood celebrities are urging people to pay attention.

Aditi Rao Hydari, Brand Ambassador, Avon India: I have always believed in the brand ethos of “Beauty with a Purpose” and for me beauty always has a purpose in terms of saving lives and making a difference. With this initiative, we urge women and men to spend a few minutes to #PayAttention to themselves through a breast self-examination.

“With knowledge, we can win the battle against Breast Cancer. Few minutes every month can help you detect early symptoms and early detection is early cure.”

Arjun Kapoor: It is a fantastic initiative and I will like to help in any way possible.”

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, director of “Bariely ki Barfi”: In the past two years, two of my friends were diagnosed with breast cancer. With their strong willpower, they overcome this disease and their life has completely changed after the diagnosis. I believe it can happen to anyone, even young women.”

Kriti Sanon: It is absolutely true that breast cancer can happen at a young age too. I am glad Avon India has initiated this drive for awareness

Kiara Advani: Awareness is the Key! Let’s spread the word ladies. A breast self-exam can save your life!”

Mini Mathur: Don’t wait to discover breast cancer when you’re ‘old’. Girls be aware it can strike you in teenage as well. Please resist it with checkups.

The campaign has unified more than 100 million people to give voice to a larger purpose – save million lives through early detection using a breast self-examination.(IANS)

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Immunotherapy Drugs Show Significant Improvement Against Breast Cancer: Study

Side effects need a close look, both doctors said. Nearly all study participants had typical chemo side effects such as nausea or low blood cell counts.

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Breast Cancer
This undated fluorescence-colored microscope image made available by the National Institutes of Health in September 2016 shows a culture of human breast cancer cells. For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown promise against breast cancer in a large study that combined it with chemotherapy to treat an aggressive form of the disease. VOA

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown promise against breast cancer in a large study that combined it with chemotherapy to treat an aggressive form of the disease. But the benefit for most women was small, raising questions about whether the treatment is worth its high cost and side effects.

Results were discussed Saturday at a cancer conference in Munich and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Drugs called checkpoint inhibitors have transformed treatment of many types of cancer by removing a chemical brake that keeps the immune system from killing tumor cells. Their discovery recently earned scientists a Nobel Prize. Until now, though, they haven’t proved valuable against breast cancer.

Breast Cancer
Weight loss may lower breast cancer risk for post-menopausal women. Pixabay

In the study

The new study tested one from Roche called Tecentriq plus chemo versus chemo alone in 902 women with advanced triple-negative breast cancer. About 15 percent of cases are this type, their growth is not fueled by the hormones estrogen or progesterone, or the gene that Herceptin targets, making them hard to treat.

Women in the study who received Tecentriq plus chemo went two months longer on average without their cancer worsening compared with those on chemo alone, a modest benefit. The combo did not significantly improve survival in an early look before long-term follow-up is complete.

Failed protein test

Previous studies found that immunotherapies work best in patients with high levels of a protein that the drugs target, and the plan for the breast cancer study called for analyzing how women fared according to that factor if Tecentriq improved survival overall.

breast cancer
FILE – A patient receives chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer at the Antoine-Lacassagne Cancer Center in Nice, July 26, 2012. VOA

The drug failed that test, but researchers still looked at protein-level results and saw encouraging signs. Women with high levels who received the combo treatment lived roughly 25 months on average versus about 15 months for women given chemo alone.

That’s a big difference, but it will take more time to see if there’s a reliable way to predict benefit, said Dr. Jennifer Litton of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She had no role in running the study but enrolled some patients in it and oversees 14 others testing immunotherapies.

“We’re really hopeful that we can identify a group of women who can get a much bigger and longer response,” she said.

Another breast cancer specialist with no role in the study, Dr. Michael Hassett at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said he felt “cautious excitement” that immunotherapy may prove helpful for certain breast cancer patients.

Breast Cancer
Breast cancer cell, Wikimedia Commons

Side effects and cost

Side effects need a close look, both doctors said. Nearly all study participants had typical chemo side effects such as nausea or low blood cell counts, but serious ones were more common with the combo treatment and twice as many women on it stopped treatment for that reason.

Three of the six deaths from side effects in the combo group were blamed on the treatment itself; only one of three such deaths in the chemo group was.

Also Read: New DNA Tool To Predict People’s Height And Risk For Cancer

Cost is another concern. Tecentriq is $12,500 a month. The chemo in this study was Celgene’s Abraxane, which costs about $3,000 per dose plus doctor fees for the IV treatments. Older chemo drugs cost less but require patients to use a steroid to prevent allergic reactions that might interfere with the immunotherapy. Abraxane was chosen because it avoids the need for a steroid, said one study leader, Dr. Sylvia Adams of NYU Langone Health.

The study was sponsored by Roche and many study leaders consult or work for the company or own stock in it. (VOA)