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Scientists conducting research on breast cancer are actively looking for new ways to prevent, diagnose, detect, and treat the disease. This research has led to new advances in surgery, new medications, and possible new early-detection methods. Research is also focused on lessening the side effects from current treatments for breast cancer.
Doctors and scientists are hard at work conducting research on breast cancer. They are studying new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat this disease. Some researchers are also studying therapies that may improve the quality of life for women during or after breast cancer treatment.
Breast cancer research is designed to answer important questions and to determine whether new approaches are safe and effective. This research already has led to advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective methods for dealing with cancer.
Scientists are looking for drugs that may prevent breast cancer. For example, in certain research studies on breast cancer, they are testing several different drugs that lower hormone levels or prevent a hormone's effect on breast cells.
In one breast cancer research study, the drug tamoxifen reduced the number of new cases of breast cancer among women who were at an increased risk of the disease. Doctors are studying whether the drug raloxifene is as effective as tamoxifen.
At this time, mammograms are the most effective tool we have to detect changes in the breast that may be cancer. In women at high risk of breast cancer, researchers are studying the combination of mammograms and ultrasound. Researchers are also exploring positron emission tomography (PET) and other ways to make detailed pictures of breast tissue.
In addition, researchers are studying tumor markers. Tumor markers may be found in blood, urine, or fluid from the breast (nipple aspirate). High amounts of these substances may be a sign of cancer. Some markers may be used to check people for signs of breast cancer after treatment. At this time, however, no tumor marker test is reliable enough to be used routinely to detect breast cancer.
Scientists are also conducting breast cancer research on ductal lavage. This technique collects cells from breast ducts. A liquid flows through a catheter (a very thin, flexible tube) into the opening of a milk duct on the nipple. The liquid and breast cells are withdrawn through the tube. A pathologist then checks the cells for cancer or for changes that may suggest an increased risk of cancer.