Social networking improves breast cancer results

Patients with breast cancer who have larger social networks are associated with having better breast cancer-specific and overall survival.

In the final analysis, however, these factors didn't explain health differences between the three groups of women, Kroenke said, leading her to conclude that social isolation was still the most important factor. "Rates of death to breast cancer fell for women in the USA across all age groups over the period, halving in women under 50, falling by 44 percent in the 50-69 age group, and falling by 31 percent in those aged 70 and over". Separately, an article published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment claimed that measles therapy, involving an injection of infectious measles "has significant anti-tumor effect against human breast cancer cells in vitro".

The findings can't prove that strengthening social connections can help tilt the odds against cancer.

The researcher found that women with fewer social ties before and during the cancer treatment are at a higher risk of death from malignancy.

"We need treatment that is gentler than whole breast radiation, but provides broader of coverage than brachytherapy", says Smith. Funded by the National Cancer Institute, the study included 9,267 women diagnosed with stages 1 to 4 invasive breast cancer enrolled in the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project, a pooled cohort of four studies of women with breast cancer, including one conducted at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. They should be aware of women's social ties and support, and whether there is something clinically that can be done to support patients. Also, more than 1,500 women died, almost 1,000 from breast cancer, the researchers found. Specific associations differed by age, race/ethnicity, and country of origin. In addition, community ties predicted better outcomes in older white and Asian women. In the United Kingdom, breast cancer screening is offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70-years-old at a frequency of once every three years, according to the NHS website.

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A recent study shows that factors like having a spouse and engagement with relatives play a role in predicting a breast cancer patient's survival from the disease.

'These findings, from a large pooled cohort of almost 10,000 women with breast cancer, confirm the generally beneficial influence of women's social ties on breast cancer recurrence and mortality; however, they also point to complexity, that not all social ties are beneficial, and not in all women'.

As a group, study participants were much healthier than the typical American woman, said Mehta, a board member at Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Still, it's important for doctors and other health care workers to help patients connect with support groups and other programs so they won't remain socially isolated, Alcaraz said. She also wants to try to understand the mechanism of social ties and how it affects outcomes. "There are plenty of hints in the literature that indicate there's a happy medium in between these two treatments, and that's probably the sweet spot for many breast cancer patients".

  • Myrtle Hill