October is breast cancer awareness month, and in 2018, breast cancer received the largest amount of donations in the United States over any other form of cancer research. Breast cancer donations totaled $460 million, leukemia was second at $201 million, and pediatric cancer research donations totaled $177 million.

With that research and additional funding, there have been many advancements in breast cancer research and treatment. Corning Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has a look at three recent advances in the fight against breast cancer.

 

  • Advancements in Surgery

 

Traditionally, a mastectomy was the main surgical option to remove breast cancer cells, leaving the patient to require reconstructive surgery. Now, women with early-stage breast cancer can have a lumpectomy, which only removes the cancerous tumor and some nearby cells, thereby saving most of the breast itself. Radiation and chemotherapy can also be used to help ensure the cancer doesn’t return. 

 

  • Targeted Therapy

 

Understanding more about cancer cells allows researchers to develop drugs that target cancer cells that grow uncontrollably. Some drugs interfere with a protein that causes cancer cells to grow, while another—called PARP inhibitors—destroy cancer cells by fixing their DNA through gene mutations.

 

  • Immunotherapy

 

This is an emerging therapy that helps the body’s immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells. This is being used to treat what’s called triple-negative breast cancers, which are notoriously difficult to treat compared to other forms of the disease. 

To learn more about Corning Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing and all of the services they offer, visit https://corning-center.facilities.centershealthcare.org/