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Is there a connection between breast cancer and brain cancer?

By September 3, 2009 - 8:50pm
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I love hearing from old friends. Anyone is much better at staying in touch with me than I am with them. But, a sad event was the reason for a call from an old friend.

I've never met this woman in person, but we've been online friends for about 14 years and have occasionally chatted on the phone. She called to share the sad news that another of our longtime online buddies died today from brain cancer. We three were part of an original group of foodies on another online community that started umpteen years ago. While Karen was always the glue that held us together, Joyce was our resident optimist.

Joyce was a 3-time survivor of breast cancer, and celebrated each cancer-free year like a birthday. Another of our friends, also a longtime cancer survivor, died of brain cancer a little over a year ago. I know of another breast cancer survivor who succumbed to brain cancer.

The most common source of brain metastases in males is lung cancer and in females is breast cancer (29), but with the increasing frequency of lung cancer in females, it is expected that for females this too will be the primary cause of metastatic brain tumors (22). METASTATIC BRAIN TUMORS, IRSA.org

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute have identified a gene that may play a role in breast cancer metastasis to the brain, according to a report in Molecular Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research., Gene Predicts Post-surgical Survival From Brain Metastasis Of Breast Cancer Patients, ScienceDaily.com

Maybe I'm answering my own question; there seems to be a connection between breast and brain cancer.

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HERWriter Guide

My mother had both breast and brain cancer (in her 30s) so this is really, really interesting to me.

I absolutely think there is a connection.

September 4, 2009 - 11:13am
(reply to Susan Cody)

I'm sorry about your mother having had to deal with this terrible condition. It has to be so discouraging to have survived breast cancer, only to have to deal with a more insidious disease.

September 4, 2009 - 4:54pm

While there may be a genetic link, there's another cause as well.

My sister's best friend had breast cancer and is now battling brain cancer. Apparently the molecules of most chemotherapy drugs used to fight breast cancer are too large to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which means that a cancer cell that metastasizes to the brain is not bombarded with the toxins it would be if it metastasized to another organ. Both my sister and her friend wondered whether the brains of breast cancer patients should be scanned at some point when other tests are being done to see if cancer has recurred - say, six months or a year later. It's an interesting thought.

Here are two studies that researched the chemotherapy/blood-brain barrier issue:



September 4, 2009 - 8:45am
(reply to Diane Porter)

I'm still reading more about this, as well. We seem to focus so much energy on understanding and fighting breast cancer, but not so much on potential ensuing conditions like brain cancer.

September 4, 2009 - 4:57pm
(reply to alysiak)

Lieb,J."Defeating cancer with antidepressants." ecancermedicalscience DOI.10.3332/eCMS.2008.88
The answer to your question is in this article.

September 5, 2009 - 8:31am
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