October 2012   
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Featured Article

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and at St. Francis, we have some exciting news to share with you. Last year we unveiled the state-of-the-art Pearlie Harris Center for Breast Health. This year, we are essentially putting the Pearlie Harris Center on wheels and delivering the same technology and care found at the Center to those who need it most. This month, make it a priority to perform a self breast exam and schedule a mammogram if it's been more than a year since your last one.

Study Finds Four Distinct Types of Breast Cancer 


Hundreds of researchers have identified four different categories of breast cancer using genome sequencing, a finding that is expected to provide a "road map" for treatment, the New York Times reports.

The study, published in the journal Nature, is part of the Cancer Genome Atlas project, a federal initiative that aims to analyze the genetics of 20 different types of cancer.

Study details
In the first comprehensive genetic analysis of breast cancer, nearly 350 researchers sequenced the genomes of 825 tumors. They focused on early breast cancers that had not spread to other parts of the body in an effort to identify and attack genetic changes in the disease before it metastasized.

Based on their analysis, the researchers identified four different types of breast cancer:


  • Luminal A: A less aggressive, estrogen-positive cancer
  • Luminal B: A more aggressive, estrogen-positive cancer
  • HER2-enriched: Includes many, but not all, HER2-positive breast tumors or tumors that express significant quantities of the HER2 protein
  • Basal-like: Includes many, but not all, triple-negative breast cancers. This variant resembles cells found in skin and sweat glands, and is more similar to ovarian cancer than other breast cancer types


Scientists had previously categorized breast cancer into three different types. "We have been lumping things together that shouldn't be lumped together," notes Christopher Benz, a University of California-San Francisco oncologist who helped lead the study.


According to the Times, scientists were surprised to learn that basal-like, triple-negative breast cancers more closely resembled ovarian cancer and a certain type of lung cancer.


The finding suggests that ovarian cancer treatments may help fight this breast cancer variant. It also provides credence to the growing medical view that cancers should be categorized by their genetic origin rather than where they grow in the body.


Findings expected to launch a wave of new trials, treatments. The study found that unique sets of genetic changes may be causing individual tumors to grow within the four major groups of breast cancer. This finding is expected to inspire new ideas for precise treatments designed to inhibit these genetic aberrations, the Times reports.


Scientists have already discovered 40 genetic mutations that new drugs may be able target, some of which are already being developed for other types of cancer that have similar mutations.


Learn more about the study


Learn more about breast cancer genetic screenings at St. Francis


Mobile Mammography Coach Aims to Increase Screenings, Save Lives

Last week, St. Francis took a big step in advancing women's health in the Upstate by unveiling a new Mobile Mammography Coach that will travel to locations in Greenville and surrounding counties to provide digital mammograms to thousands of Upstate women.


The Mobile Mammography Coach will mirror the state-of-the-art diagnostic screenings and patient-centered care found at the fully accredited Pearlie Harris Center for Breast Health, offering unprecedented access to mammography services with the latest technology as well as comprehensive breast education.


Meeting a Clear Need

Regular screenings are the best way for women to lower their risk of dying from cancer because they can find breast cancer early, when it's most treatable.


However, a recent analysis by the local Susan G. Komen affiliate determined that in South Carolina, breast cancer is often detected at a very late stage. Limited access to diagnostic services is a main culprit, along with our state's high rate of uninsured women.


The St. Francis Mobile Mammography Coach is focused to change these statistics by providing unprecedented access to mammography and education, as well as committing at least 40% of visits to the underserved in our community. We are continuing to fight for the one in eight women in our community that will be diagnosed with breast cancer, no matter where they may live.


Advanced Technology

The mobile unit allows St. Francis to take high-tech screenings and education beyond the walls of the hospital, extending the same compassionate patient care found at the Pearlie Harris Center for Breast Health. St. Francis was the first in Greenville to offer digital breast imaging, and our Mobile Mammography Coach is also equipped with digital breast imaging-the best technology available.


Funded 100% by Philanthropy

The Mobile Mammography Coach was funded entirely through the generosity of donors. In fact, St. Francis employee fundraising campaigns over the last two years provided 41% of the total funding for the mobile unit. It may come as no surprise when you consider that women make up more than 85% of the employee population at St. Francis, and understand just how important it is for women to get the preventive care they need.


Learn more about the St. Francis Mobile Mammography Coach >> 







St. Francis Komen Team Runs/Walks for the 1 in 8





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