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Expressive Writing May Help Asian-American Breast Cancer Survivors

Writing down fears, emotions and the benefits of a cancer diagnosis may improve health outcomes for Asian-American breast cancer survivors, according to a study conducted by a researcher at the University of Houston (UH).

"The key to developing an expressive writing intervention is the writing instruction. Otherwise, writing is just like a journal recording facts and events. Writing a journal can be therapeutic, but oftentimes we don't get the empirical evidence to determine whether it's effective or not," said Qian Lu, assistant professor and director of the Culture and Health Research Center at UH.

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Master HSF Supports Reprogramming of Normal Cells to Enable Tumor Growth and Metastasis

Long associated with enabling the proliferation of cancer cells, the ancient cellular survival response regulated by Heat-Shock Factor 1 (HSF1) can also turn neighboring cells in their environment into co-conspirators that support malignant progression and metastasis.

The finding, reported by Whitehead Institute scientists in the journal Cell, lends new insights into tumor biology with significant implications for the diagnosis, prognosis, and management of cancer patients.

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Acupuncture Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients Using Aromatase Inhibitors

Use of electroacupuncture (EA) – a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles – produces significant improvements in fatigue, anxiety and depression in as little as eight weeks for early stage breast cancer patients experiencing joint pain related to the use of aromatase inhibitors (AIs) to treat breast cancer. The results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial examining the intervention led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania are published in the journal Cancer. The study is the first demonstration of EA's efficacy for both joint pain relief, as well as these other common symptoms.

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Recent Use of Some Birth Control Pills May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Women who recently used birth control pills containing high-dose estrogen and a few other formulations had an increased risk for breast cancer, whereas women using some other formulations did not, according to data published in the journal Cancer Research.

"Our results suggest that use of contemporary oral contraceptives [birth control pills] in the past year is associated with an increased breast cancer risk relative to never or former oral contraceptive use, and that this risk may vary by oral contraceptive formulation," said Elisabeth F. Beaber, PhD, MPH, a staff scientist in the Public Health Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

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Cell's Recycling Center Implicated in Division Decisions

Most cells do not divide unless there is enough oxygen present to support their offspring, but certain cancer cells and other cell types circumvent this rule. Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University have now identified a mechanism that overrides the cells' warning signals, enabling cancers to continue to divide even without a robust blood supply. In the process, the researchers found that lysosomes — the cell's protein "recycling centers" — help govern cell division decisions. They also uncovered new evidence that certain drugs can halt the growth of tumors that have high levels of the protein HIF-1alpha.

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