Home » Breast cancer, over 10 thousand deaths avoided in 12 years thanks to research – Focus Tumor news

Breast cancer, over 10 thousand deaths avoided in 12 years thanks to research – Focus Tumor news

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Breast cancer, over 10 thousand deaths avoided in 12 years thanks to research – Focus Tumor news

In Italy, thanks to significant progress in early diagnosis and personalized treatments, 10,223 deaths related to breast cancer were avoided between 2007 and 2019 (-6%). Survival and recovery rates are also constantly increasing. This is what emerged today on the eve of Focus on Breast Cancer, a scientific conference which for over 20 years has brought together the major experts in the sector in Friuli, who launch an alert: “Be careful when communicating the results of scientific research”.

In the oncology field, “effective communication is crucial – states Fabio Puglisi, director of the Department of Medical Oncology at the Irccs Cro of Aviano and scientific director of the conference -. It is essential to avoid easy triumphalism both towards patients and their caregivers and towards the media and, consequently, public opinion. However, it is equally important to share the positive results achieved in a transparent way.” Furthermore, the problem of recurring fake news on the main forms of cancer has existed for years, adds Mauro Boldrini, director of communications of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (Aiom): “These concern prevention, nutrition, pathogenesis and also certain presumed miraculous cures. It is the task of oncology specialists and communication experts – he warns – to control and convey the flow of news to the population on an extremely delicate topic such as cancer”.

But at the Focus in Udine the focus will above all be the latest scientific news on the disease. Treatments “can be ‘personalized’ even for the most serious and advanced forms of breast cancer – underlines Michelino De Laurentiis, director of Experimental Clinical Oncology of Senology, Irccs Fondazione Pascale of Naples -. There are tests that allow us to identify the mutations present in the tumor and among these there is the so-called liquid biopsy. Through a simple blood sample we can better understand a disease which is characterized by a high level of heterogeneity. Among the various subtypes, the one with the expression of hormone receptors and negative for the protein Her2 is the most widespread form, representing 78% of breast cancers, for a total, in Italy, of around 37 thousand cases every year. In these cases, endocrine therapy plays a fundamental role but, sometimes, the tumor cells become resistant to treatment”.

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This “may be due to specific mutations in the genes that characterize the tumor DNA – explains Lucia Del Mastro, director of the Medical Oncology Clinic of the Irccs Policlinico San Martino Hospital, University of Genoa -. And it is precisely the DNA of the tumor, present in the blood, which is searched through liquid biopsy and analyzed for molecular characterization. In this way, the selection of available therapies can be made more precisely, offering greater chances of effectiveness”. Again for this type of breast cancer, she states, “genomic tests are now available, usually offered to patients with intermediate risk of recurrence, in order to establish whether, after surgery, the addition of chemotherapy to the treatment is actually necessary endocrine”.

Breast cancer in Italy records 55,900 new diagnoses every year.


In recent years there has been a slight increase in the incidence of breast cancer diagnoses, as well as for other types of cancer, even in younger women and girls. This is an increase of “around 1%, therefore fortunately contained – explains Del Mastro -. However, we do not know what the reasons behind the phenomenon are. One hypothesis is that exposure to hormones at a younger age could influence sexual, considering that menarche today occurs earlier and earlier”.

With respect to screening, “many Regions have already lowered the age threshold for accessing mammography from 50 to 45 years, and in some cases the exam is also recommended for people in their forties. However – concludes the expert – no data are yet available regarding to the reduction of mortality in this age group linked to the use of mammography”.

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