Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Testing breast milk for cancer

Still being breast fed

Recently there was a study on testing the breast milk of moms who already had a suspicious lump for changes in the tumor suppressor gene RASSF1. If this gene had signs of methylation (thus making it useless), it was strongly correlated to that lump being cancerous. If no signs of methylation, no cancer. There seems to be many tumor suppressor genes (at least 12). Wouldn't it be useful to be able to predict breast cancer from breast milk? Lots of work to be done with this. I know that there is work trying to identify cancer cells in breast secretions. Mammograms miss so much especially in premenopausal women.

Not long ago, there was a report of being able to identify cancer calls in the blood stream. I wondered about the usefulness of this. Just because the cells are there doesn't mean they will blossom into a tumor. Conversely, just because none could be seen doesn't mean that a stable colony isn't already present. A relative of someone in my survivor cooking class was a participant in these studies. She has stage 4 breast cancer. After a recent bout of chemo, no more cancer cells could be found in her blood giving her and her family much joy and hope. However, a few months later, her liver mets started to grow.

Ms. Maya spent the afternoon here yesterday. She is finally perfecting her pincer grasp.

Today's job here is to reduce some of the clutter. A refrigerator sized box is downstairs filled with Shanna's clothes. I had already gone through piles of shoes. Every pair of shoes that was smaller than mine or Naomi's, I brought to Shanna during my last visit. Turns out that most of the shoes belonged to my traitorous house guest. I went for my run early given that the winds will become stronger as the day progresses. I prefer cold and calm to mild and windy.

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