Former GMA Host Joan Lunden Battles Cancer: New Effective Way of Preventing Breast Cancer

Gel Replaces Oral Tamoxifen, a New Alternative For Breast Cancer Patients
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Television personality Joan Lunden attends the Badgley Mischka
Television personality Joan Lunden attends the Badgley Mischka Spring 2009 collection at New York Fashion Week September 12, 2008. REUTERS/Joshua Lott (UNITED STATES) Reuters

Joan Lunden, former Good Morning America's host, was diagnosed with breast cancer, leaving her fans shocked and devastated. The strong woman, however, has not lost hope and is fighting back.

On June 26, she underwent her second round of chemotherapy after which she was expected to lose her hair. Joan decided to shave her head off instead. In her interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, she said emotionally, "When something like this happens, you learn just how important it is to have a support system." Joan is going through a tough phase, which she is willing to fight and get over.

According to the US Breast Cancer Statistics, about 1 in 8 U.S. women (just over 12 per cent) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. The number of cases in 2013 is frightening, with nearly 232,340 new incidences of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women along with 64,640 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. The situation is extremely bad; many women are advised to test themselves to rule out the possibilities of developing a cancer and to check if they already have developed it, in which case, immediate treatment would begin.

While the fear among the people is growing, a new study published in Clinical Cancer Research found new preventive measures for breast cancer. The study, conducted by researchers at Northwestern University, compared the effects of oral tamoxifen with a gel form of the product in women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is the most initial stage of breast cancer and the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer.

The study group involved 26 women between ages 45 and 86 who were randomly assigned a treatment product. Researchers found that the gel form had more benefits, it not only reduced cell proliferation but also had fewer side effects. The amount of drug circulating in the blood was also lesser compared to oral tamoxifen.

For women at high risk for breast cancer, tamoxifen is prescribed as a hormone drug. It is a preventive measure taken orally and is also used to treat women who are suffering from advanced stages of the disease. Tamoxifen binds to oestrogen receptors, inhibiting cell division, but it has several side effects.

Lead author Dr Seema A. Khan, a professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said that the new treatment will replace the oral tamoxifen, thus encouraging more women to hold on to the preventive therapy. With the growing cases of breast cancer, this development in the field of medicine is seen as a saviour and will have many women turning towards it as an alternative to oral tamoxifen.

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