Women's Social Networks May Play Role in Breast Cancer Survival and Recurrence

In the years after treatment, women who don't have strong social ties are more likely to have their cancer return or die from it than women with friends and a support network, the researchers found.

Patients with breast cancer who have larger social networks are associated with having better breast cancer-specific and overall survival. Over an average follow-up of 11 years, more than 1,400 cancers returned.

Smith SG, Sestak I, Howell A, Forbes J, Cuzick J. Menopausal symptoms as predictors of long-term adherence in the International Breast Cancer Intervention Study (IBIS-1).

The team, which is highly regarded for its research into both breast and prostate cancer, believes this new finding will have a global impact on clinical, scientific and public opinion on the relative risks and benefits of using progesterone to treat women with breast cancer. Kassandra Alcaraz, strategic director for health equity research at the American Cancer Society said that people are social animals and are not meant to be isolated, reported HealthDay.

The researchers studied the lifestyles of the women and divided them into groupings, based on the number of their close social contacts, and followed these women for a median period of ten years. Currently, DOR's 550-plus staff is working on more than 350 epidemiological and health services research projects.

One trial in collaboration with a United Kingdom group at the University of Liverpool will test the potential benefit of combining progesterone treatment with the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen in premenopausal women with breast cancer. "Breast cancer is by far the primary cancer site in women and, worldwide, represents a quarter of all cancers in women". She noted that future research on breast cancer deaths should investigate other aspects of disease management, such as risk factors, access to care, drug therapies, and more.


Also, specific associations differed by age, race, ethnicity and country, Kroenke said.

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. "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".

Researchers suggest that contrasts in healthcare systems and patient management between similar countries could explain disparities in breast cancer death rate. For example, ties to relatives and friends predicted lower breast cancer-specific mortality in non-White women, whereas having a spouse predicted lower breast cancer-specific mortality in older White women.

The research report also provides a comprehensive understanding of HER-2 Positive Breast Cancer market positioning of the major players wherein key strategies adopted by leading players has been discussed.

"Breast cancer arises because of abnormal hormone activity, with about 75% of these cancers being driven by the estrogen receptor".


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