Win a Ladypillo breast support worth £60

Ladypillo is used by some of the UK’s leading spa chainsincluding Clarins and Dove, to give women extra comfort during treatments.

They also offer extra support and comfort to women who may have larger breasts or for breastfeeding. The Ladypillo range offers optimum comfort and relaxation through ergonomic design and  support without constricting sensitive breast tissue.


Research into the design and creation of the product came after speaking to hundreds of therapists and treatment providers from all around the UK, and rigorous testing over years.
Despite average breast sizes increasing from 34B in the 1950’s to 36C nowadays and the continued popularity of breast augmentation, Ladypillo the first company to produce a specially designed range of memory foam cushions that eliminate pressure points.
Ladypillos are designed to absorb the upper body weight, relieving pressure on the breasts and offering more abdominal and back support. They even aid in maintaining good breast health, as the tissue is not compressed. The range has more than transformed the treatment experience for customers but also allowed salons to be able to provide this enhanced comfort which is beneficial for a host of treatments. Suitable for all, it has proven to act as a support device for those with larger busts, offers additional comfort for those with breasts that may be tender, e.g. new mothers, those pre and post menstrual and post operative.
Each Ladypillo product is made from 100% memory foam, which reacts and responds to the body’s heat and weight, to mould and support the body’s natural contours, thus resulting in ultimate customer comfort and satisfaction. The pillows return to their original shape after each treatment. Each product comes with a removable, non-allergenic, anti-bacterial, breathable, waterproof cover, which is fully machine-washable at high temperatures.
Marie Schmid, Head of Treatment Development at Clarins UK Ltd, said: “Ladypillo is a professional company with a professional outlook!  Great products that are extremely comfortable, supportive and totally unique to the market place.”
Peter Botton of Old Court Acupuncture, said: “Since introducing the Ladypillo into my clinic, all my clients have said how much more comfortable they feel when receiving treatments to their backs, shoulders and backs of legs. The Ladypillo is a great product and a great investment for me!”
Chloe Nelson, Director at Ladypillo, comments:  “The idea of Ladypillo came after countless visits to spas and salons hoping for a relaxing massage treatment yet feeling uncomfortable and sore when leaving. I couldn’t believe that there were no products to account for the shape of women and how if heavy on top or feeling tender, lying on your front can be quite sore! Therefore I set out on a mission to create a product that would transform the comfort and relaxation of treatment experiences and leave women feeling amazing. Ladypillo has filled a gap in the market that ordinary salon furniture and rolled up towels just can’t beat and it’s great seeing such a fabulous response.”
Designed and manufactured in the UK, Ladypillo is can be shipped worldwide. The Ladypillo products are currently for sale via the website – and are priced at £59.99.
We have two of these useful pillows to win.  Please give the correct answer to the question below:
What is Ladypillo made of?
(a) Cotton
(b) memory foam
(c) Duck feathers
Email your answer to, with ‘pillo’ in the header, plus  your name and address.  Please note that no cash equivalent is offered and the Editor’s decision is final.  This competition ends on 3 January 2013.

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Aspirin cuts breast cancer risks


New York: Women who have completed treatment for early-stage breast cancer and who take aspirin have a nearly 50% reduced risk of breast cancer death and a similar reduction in the risk of metastasis. The findings are based on an analysis of data from the Nurse’s Health Study, a large, ongoing, prospective observational study.

“This is the first study to find that aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of cancer spread and death for women who have been treated for early-stage breast cancer,” said lead author Michelle Holmes, MD, DrPH, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

“If these findings are confirmed in other clinical trials, taking aspirin may become another simple, low-cost, and relatively safe tool to help women with breast cancer live longer, healthier lives.”

Investigators report it is not yet clear how aspirin affects cancer cells, but they speculate it decreases the risk of cancer metastasis by reducing inflammation, which is closely associated with cancer development. Prior studies have also suggested that aspirin inhibits cancer spread: One study found that people with colon cancer who took aspirin lived longer than those who did not, and laboratory studies have also shown that aspirin inhibited the growth and invasiveness of breast cancer cells.

In this analysis, which was published online in an issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers evaluated data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which included 4,164 female nurses in the United States (aged 30-55 years in 1976) who were diagnosed with stage I, II, or III breast cancer between 1976 and 2002 and were followed through June 2006.

They examined patients’ use of aspirin for 1 or more years after a breast cancer diagnosis (when patients would have completed treatment such as surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy) and the frequency of metastasis and breast cancer death.

The authors emphasised that patients undergoing active treatment should not take aspirin due to potential interactions that can increase certain side effects.

A total of 400 women experienced metastasis, and 341 of these died of breast cancer. Women who took aspirin 2 to 5 days per week had a 60% reduced risk of metastasis and a 71% lower risk of breast cancer death. Those who took aspirin 6 or 7 days a week had a 43% reduced risk of metastasis and a 64% lower risk of breast cancer death. The risk of breast cancer metastasis and mortality did not differ between women who did not take aspirin and those who took aspirin once a week.

Researchers also found that women who took non-aspirin non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) 6 or 7 days a week also had a reduced risk of breast cancer death (a 48% reduction), but women who took NSAIDS less frequently and those who used acetaminophen did not experience such a benefit.

“Several studies have suggested that aspirin may have beneficial effects against cancer because of its anti-inflammatory effects. But aspirin can cause stomach bleeding and is not for everyone. These are promising findings, and if they are confirmed in additional clinical trials, physicians may be able to regularly recommend aspirin to their breast cancer patients to reduce risk of cancer spread and mortality,” said breast cancer expert Lori Pierce, MD, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

While the investigators did not collect data on aspirin dose, they noted that women who took aspirin regularly most likely took it for heart disease prevention; the typical dose for that purpose is 81 mg/day.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology

Get younger undies – video tips from fit guru


London: Make your underwear a fashion statement, with expert advice from Bravissimo fit guru Jacqui Jagger on the hottest new bras for your shape.

Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes. Yet they often get overlooked when it comes to giving them the proper and individual support they need. Many of us have never had a professional bra fitting. We tend to spend hours finding the right shade of makeup or the right style of clothes to suit us, so why not put as much effort into finding the right bra. A good bra can change the way you look in and out of your clothes.

So if you’re more Kelly Brooke than Kate Moss when it comes to your chest, an ill-fitting bra can leave you with little support and potential long-term back problems.

Finding a bra that looks and feels great can make a huge difference to your confidence, leaving you feeling and looking sexy. In this video we have top fitter Jacqui Jagger to show you the most stylish bras available at the moment, as well as some of the best clothes to flatter your figure. She will be giving her expert advice to help us girls look after our breast assets.

Click on the link below to watch video advice: How To

For more information visit www.bravissimo

Stem cells used to repair breast post cancer ops


London: British surgeons are using stem-cell-enriched fat from women’s bodies to repair the damage of surgery following breast cancer operations and radiotherapy.

The procedure, which is being trialled at Leeds General Infirmary, so far appears to restore the softness and suppleness of breast tissues, as well as the painful aftermath of treatments.

Each year around 31,000 British women undergo operations to remove cancerous tissue which normally leaves an unsightly cavity in the breast. Some surgeons have already used fat transfer to repair the damage as well as reducing the size of the other breast to match the damaged one.

Scientists believe that fat enriched with stem cells reduces inflammation and helps maintain a healthy blood supply so that the body’s repair system works more efficiently.

Fears that the stem-cells might encourage more cancer cell proliferation have also proved groundless.

The cancer patient’s own fat cells are harvested and made into a concentrate which is reinjected. More than 90% of the fat survives the process.

Lead investigator and consultant plastic surgeon Eva Weiler-Mithoff says she is impressed with the results so far. “What is striking is the softness and suppleness the technique gives the skin and tissues. When I see these stem-cell-enhanced patients after three months, their skin is significantly softer.”

Is your bra damaging your breasts?

London: Women could be damaging their breasts without realising it, according to scientists at the University of Portsmouth.

As well as discovering that some women’s breasts could be damaged and fragile ligaments irreparably stretched by wearing the wrong bras, scientists in the Department of Sports Science have also found that women could be damaging their breasts through ignorance or embarrassment.

The University’s research team has tested about 50 bra designs on hundreds of women over the past three years under the leadership of Dr Joanna Scurr, a breast biomechanics expert. Her research proves that breasts move up to 21cm during exercise and they move up and down, in and out and from side to side. Most bras are designed to limit just vertical movement.

Wendy Hedger, a researcher on Dr Scurr’s team, said: “Many women have strong preferences for certain styles of bra and won’t buy anything else. They won’t even look at anything that doesn’t look like the sort of bra they are used to wearing. In sports bras, for example, many women won’t buy a bra that resembles their everyday bra and does up at the back — they think if it can’t be pulled over their heads like a crop top then it’s not a real sports bra. But this is not true and many sports bras do up at the back in the same way as a traditional bra and do a very good job of supporting women.

“And some women cause breast pain or discomfort by not buying the right sized bra. There’s a social stigma about certain sizes; many women don’t want to be seen as too small or too big and buy a bra that doesn’t fit well in order to be what they consider to be a normal size.

“Many other women are unaware that they are wearing a badly fitting bra or unknowingly wear the wrong bra size because they are routinely being sold ill-fitting bras.

“Some women forget that their shape and size change and they might have to go through several changes in bra size over their lifetime especially after breastfeeding and the menopause.”

The breast biomechanics research team started testing bras and the movement of women’s breasts more than three years ago. They have also helped design a new sports bar for women who play high-impact sports. Dr Scurr agreed to help a New Zealand bra manufacturer give their existing high-impact bra a major overhaul and the new bra goes on sale in Europe this summer.

Miss Hedger said: “They came to us because they knew their bra protected women in high-impact sports but they weren’t sure it supported women well enough. The tests incIuded measuring precisely how much breasts moved in all three directions, as well as more subjective tests about how women felt about the fit, the shape, the strap design and the underband and so on.

“We are really excited about seeing it. It’s the first chance we have had to be involved in the design process of a new bra, though we have tested many over the past few years. We started breast biomechanics research just testing bras but we want to do more research that benefits women.”


A breast X-ray specifically to detect cancer.

UK demand for cosmetic surgery continues to grow


London: The number of people choosing cosmetic surgery continues to increase in the UK, with 32, 453 procedures carried out by members of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in 2007.

This figure is an increase of 12.2% from 2006, when 28,921 were performed.

Facelifts had the largest increase among all procedures, rising by 36% (4,468 procedures carried out) from 2006, keeping its place as the 4th most popular procedure.

Women had 29,572 procedures in 2007, up from 26,469 the previous year. The majority of cosmetic surgery was carried out on women (91%), while male surgery increased by 17.5% with 2,881 surgical procedures carried out (2,452 procedures in 2006).

* The top procedure for women continues to be breast augmentation, with 6,497 carried out

* Rhinoplasty continued to be the top procedure for men, with 716 undertaken by BAAPS members, a 36% increase from last year – but by far the most impressive percentage rise was in the number of male abdominoplasty procedures (or ‘tummy tucks), which went up by 61%

* Liposuction for men increased by 18% and is now the 2nd most popular procedure for males, taking over the spot from eyelid surgery (now 3rd most popular)

* Male breast reduction has risen by 27% with 224procedures achieved in 2007 (177 procedures in 2006)

* The number of women having facelifts increased by 37%, making it now the 3rd most popular procedure for females (pushing Liposuction down to 4th most popular)

* Other Anti-ageing procedures (eyelid surgery and brow lifts) continued to show a steady rise in popularity for both men and women, increasing by 13% and 11% overall

Mr Douglas McGeorge, consultant plastic surgeon and President of the BAAPS said: “This year’s audit clearly reflects the UK’s continued acceptance of aesthetic surgery, particularly in the area of anti-aging. Wide media coverage has helped to educate the public about the latest advances and choices available, but it is crucial that people do their research carefully when choosing a provider. At the BAAPS we are committed to continue educating those considering cosmetic plastic surgery by providing independent advice that promotes sensible decision-making.”

The figures in full:

A total of 32,453 procedures were carried out in 2007 by BAAPS members in their private practices, compared to 28,921 in 2006. The 2007 results indicate that surgical numbers continue to grow, with a 12.2% rise over the previous year.

The top surgical procedures for men & women in 2007 were, in order of popularity:

Breastaugmentation: 6,497 – up 6% from last year
Blepharoplasty(eyelid surgery): 5,706 – up 13%
Liposuction: 4,572 – up 15%
Face/NeckLift: 4,468 – up 36%
Breast Reduction: 3,402 – up 6%
Rhinoplasty: 3,021 – up 13%
Abdominoplasty: 2,799 – up 2%
Otoplasty(ear correction): 1,024 – up 9%
Browlifts 964– up 11%

Women had 91% of all cosmetic procedures in 2007 (29,572, up from 26,469 in 2006). The top five surgical procedures for women in 2006 were: breast augmentation (6,487), blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery (5,148 – up 13% on last year), face/neck lift (4,238, an impressive rise of 37%), liposuction (3,990 – up 15%), and breast reduction (3,178).

Men had 2,881 cosmetic procedures in 2007. The top five surgical procedures for men in 2007 were: rhinoplasty (716), liposuction (582), eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty (558), ear correction or otoplasty (418), and face/neck lift (230 – rise of 21%).

Rajiv Grover, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS Secretary responsible for the UK national audit of cosmetic surgery says: “This year we have recorded a dramatic rise in facial plastic surgery. 10 years ago, there may not have been much choice between a face cream and a facelift, but more recently non-surgical procedures such as botox and fillers have introduced a large number of patients to gradual facial rejuvenation, and the effects of these less invasive treatments can sometimes be limited once jowling or loose skin has developed, so this could explain why more patients now feel ready for the surgical option.”

Nigel Mercer, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President-Elect adds: “When considering aesthetic surgery it is essential to be selective in choosing the right surgeon as the results of good surgery may be long lasting, but no procedure is without some risk. When performed under the right circumstances, aesthetic surgery can have a very positive psychological impact and improve quality of life.”

The BAAPS based at the Royal College of Surgeons, is a not-for-profit organisation, established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit. Members undergo thorough background screening before they can join. Information about specific procedures and surgeons’ contact details can be found on the web site, or by contacting their advice line at 020 7405 2234.

Blood test for breast cancer only months away


Oslo: A Norwegian company has developed a blood test for breast cancer which could be on the market in a few months.

The life sciences company DiaGenic ASA is hoping to get Europe-wide approval by the end of next year.

The test uses a technique called ‘gene expression analysis’ to find a signature or pattern that distinguishes healthy blood from diseased blood or tissue. It can detect early tumors.

In the UK private healthcare provider Opaldia will offer it to private patients, while NHS patients may benefit if doctors believe it has advantages over existing screening methods and is costeffective.

Currently mammograms are mostly used for women at high risk of breast cancer in their 40s. But these can detect lumps only when they reached a size of between 5mm (0.19in) and 10mm (0.39in), and the density of breast tissue in younger women often makes it difficult to interpret the X-rays.

The role of diet in breast cancer – public debate in London in 2008


London: A public debate on the role of diet and breast cancer is being held in London by the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation and top scientist Professor Jane Plant On Wednesday 27 February 2008, the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation is launching a groundbreaking campaign, One in Nine, to raise awareness about how breast cancer cases are rising (now affecting one in nine women) and the major the role of diet in this disease.

Speakers include Professor Jane Plant, Juliet Gellatley and Dr Justine Butler.
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, New Hunt’s House, Guy’s Campus, off Great Maze Pond and Newcomen Street, London SE1, 6.45pm for 7.15pm start.
£5.00 Admits One

Nearest tube and mainline station: London Bridge.
For further information or press passes for the talk, contact: Dr Justine Butler or Juliet Gellatley on 0117 970 5190.

More information below:

Professor Jane Plant joins the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation to raise awareness of the links between diet and breast cancer The public talk – One in Nine – is on Wednesday 27 February 2008 at Lecture Theatre 1, New Hunt’s House, Guy’s Campus, off Great Maze Pond and Newcomen Street, London SE1. Standing alongside the VVF will be eminent academic and accomplished speaker, Professor Jane Plant. Find out why breast cancer cases are rising, now affecting one in nine women and hear about major the role of diet.

Juliet Gellatley: founder and director of the largest vegetarian and vegan organisation in Europe, Viva! and of the health charity the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation (VVF). Juliet will explain what it is about modern dairy farming methods that makes cow’s milk so harmful.

Dr Justine Butler: VVF senior health campaigner and author of the VVF’s new ground breaking One in Nine report and A Fighting Chance guide. Justine will discuss the latest research on how red meat and dairy are linked to breast cancer and explain how you can protect yourself by changing your diet.

Professor Jane Plant CBE: top scientist, author of best sellers Your Life in Your Hands – Understanding, Preventing and Overcoming Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer and world authority on how animal products (and other food and lifestyle
factors) can cause breast cancer. Jane will describe her own moving story of how she overcame breast cancer by changing her diet. Hear how she used her scientific training to research diet and breast cancer and devise a diet plan that has helped many other women.

The Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation is increasingly being seen as the UK’s premier authority on health and dietary matters with a growing number of health professionals and journalists contacting us for information.

To read the report and guide go to:
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Stress increases breast cancer risk


Stockholm: Stress at work can increase the risk of women developing breast cancer by upto a third, a new study of Swedish women suggests.

It is thought the increased risk is a result of poor lifestyle choices which lead to obesity, increased alcohol consumption, leading to a weakened immune system.

The study published in the journal of Epidemology found that women in demanding jobs are 30 per cent more likely to develop the disease than those who feel on top of their work.

The results of the study, which involved 36,000 women, appear to contradict previous research which has not found a link between stress and breast cancer.

Thousands of women die each year from the disease and although survival rates are improving, the number contracting it is on the increase.

The study looked at information on 36,000 Swedish women aged 30 to 50 who were in work when the study started in 1990. The study followed the women until 2004, by which time 767 of them had been diagnosed-with breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer increased by around 30 per cent for women with stressful jobs after other factors, such as alcohol consumption, number of children, weight, and age, were taken into account.

The Swedish researchers found no link between stress and cancer among women in part-time work.

The reason why stress might increase the risk is unclear, although studies show it may raise levels of the hormone oestrogen which can heighten the risk of cancer. Another theory is that stress changes women’s behaviour, making them adopt unhealthy habits such as smoking and not exercising.

Recent research has found that long working hours and stress from work can bring on the menopause early and, in pregnant women, increase the risk of a miscarriage.

However, a Danish study of 7,000 women over 18 years found those with high levels of stress were less likely to develop breast cancer than women with low stress levels. Leading-cancer scientists yesterday said more research is needed before stress can join other well-known risk factors.

Grapefruit increases risk of breast cancer in older women

Los Angeles: Grapefruit raises levels of oestrogen and could increae the risk of breast cancer by nearly a third, says a joint study from the universities of Southern California and Hawaii.

Raised levels of the mainly female hormone oestrogen have been implicated in an increased cancer risk for women.

According to the researchers, eating as little as a quarter of a grapefruit a day raises the danger by 30 per cent among older post-menopausal women.

This is the first report of a commonly consumed food that may increase the risk of breast cancer among post-menopausal women.

The report published in the British Journal of Cancer says: “Whole grapefruit intake was significantly associated with breast cancer in the present study generally a 30 per cent increase among women who consume the equivalent of one quarter of a grapefruit or more per day. There is evidence that grapefruit increases plasma oestrogen concentrations.

“Since it is well established that oestrogen is associated with breast cancer risk, it is plausible that regular intake of grapefruit would increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer.’ The study, carried out by the universities of Southern California and Hawaii, was based on more than 50,000 postmenopausal women from five ethnic groups, including 1,657 with breast cancer.”

A number of lifestyle factors are also linked to breast cancer risk. For example, alcohol. fat and junk food consumption are said to increase the risks.

Breast cancer victims live longer with good diet and exercise

San Diego: Eating healthy food and taking regular exerice, cuts the risk of dying by half in breast cancer victims, say scientists at the University of California.

Walking for thirty minutes and eating five portions of vegetables and fruit daily offers protection even in obese women.

The studyis the first to look at the combined effects of diet and exercise directly on the survival rates of cancer victims and studied 1,490 women with an average age of 50.

All the women, who had undergone primary therapy for early-stage breast cancer took part in the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living study.

It was concluded that women who were both physically active and had a healthy diet were much more likely to survive for between five and 11 years longer than the others. Only around 7 per cent of the ‘ healthyliving’ women died within 11 years – about half that seen for the others taking part in the study.

The findings are published in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Moderate alcohol increases breast cancer risk

New York: Drinking just two glasses of wine a day raises a woman’s risk of breast cancer, say researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Centre.

In an animal experiment, female mice given the human equivalent of two alcoholic drinks a day, developed breast tumours twice the size of those given none.

The six-week old mice were fed moderate amounts of alcohol over a four week period.

Lead researcher Jian-Wei Gu said alcohol consumption is the most important avoidable risk factor for women in contracting breast cancer.

The conclusion is based on the fact that studies in mice mimic the results in humans. It is thought that the increase in tumour size is a result of an increase in blood flow through vessels caused by the alcohol.

HRT blamed for 1,000 ovarian cancer deaths

London: Women taking hormone replacement therapy are 20% more likely to suffer from ovarian cancer, claims a new report. More more than 1,000 women died in the last 15 years after contracting ovarian cancer following hormone replacement therapy it says.

The study published in the latest issue of The Lancet medical journal etimates that 70 deaths a yar are connected to taking the therapy which is dogged with controversy and confusion.

US researchers recently produced evidence to suggest that women int heir 50s on HRT are protected from heart attachs and premature death. This contradicted earlier claims that it put women at risk of heart disease.

This latest study, sponsored by Million Women Study, was started in 1996 suggests that more than 1,300 extra cases of ovarian cancer occured between 1991 and 2005. Of these women, 1,000 died of the disease. It reveals a 20 per cent increase in risk of the disease in women who have taken HRT for at least five years, but says it does not persist if women give up. The study, largely funded by Cancer Research UK, looked at responses from 948,576 postmenopausal women over seven years. It has previously linked HRT with breast cancer.

Overall the statistics mean that over a five-year period there is likely to be one extra case of ovarian cancer among every 2,500 women receiving hormone replacement therapy. For every 3,300 women on HRT, there is estimated to be one additional death from ovarian cancer.

HRT prescribed by the UK’s National Health Service is artificially made hormone replacement usually made from mare’s urine. It is used to combat symptoms of the menopause, including hot flushes, vaginal dryness and night sweats, with a range of drugs including tablets, implants and patches.

Safety concerns led to drug regulatory authorities in the UK and other countries issuing restrictions, including the advice to use it for the shortest time possible, which have continued to deter women from getting treatment. It has been blamed for both womb and breast cancer.GP data shows the number of British women on HRT halved from two to one million between 2002 and 2005.

Newer breast cancer drugs more effective that standard NHS treatment

London: Studies of female patients in Europe show that new treatments are more effective in fighting breast cancer than the UK’s National Health Service standard drug.

In a report published in the Lancet Oncology medical journal the study demonstrated that taking Arimidex, rather than tamoxifen – which has been used for nearly 30 years – reduces the risk of dying by almost a third and halves the risk of the cancer returning.

Next week the Government is due to approve the use of the three aromatase inhibitors – Arimidex, Femara and Aromasin – alongside the ‘gold standard’ drug tamoxifen. Currently, tamoxifen is prescribed for five years after surgery to cut the risk of the cancer recurring.

The results of the study compared the outcomes for 4,000 postmenopausal breast cancer patients who either remained on tamoxifen for the full five years or switched to Arimidex after two to three.

The results showed fewer disease recurrences and fewer deaths in women who switched to the newer drug.

The study was led by Professor Walter Jonat, from the University of Kiel, Germany, who said: “A lot of people have been waiting to see whether aromatase inhibitors will show a survival advantage, and I think these data will assure them that five years of tamoxifen is no longer the standard of care.”

Women should examine breasts monthly for cancer, say experts

London: With Breast Cancer increasing by 1% a year in the UK1 it’s becoming vital for all women to perform a Self Breast Examination each month.

A 2005 survey by found out that only 8% of women examine their breasts on a regular basis and 75% of women are not sure what to look for has put together simple, easy to follow instructions for performing a breast examination.

Carol Tromans, Owner of says, “The examination we’ve put together should only take around 5 – 10 minutes, is quite thorough, and should be carried out each month.”

The examination is divided into 5 steps:
1. Looking at your breasts in front of a mirror.
2. Looking at your breasts and nipples with hands above your head.
3. Lying on a bed and examining each breast with your fingertips.
4. Checking your breasts with fingertips whilst standing with an arm
above your head.
5. A thorough inspection of your nipples.

Carol explains, “ The important thing to look for when performing a self
examination is any changes to the breasts. We provide a simple Examination Diary Sheet for download on our website so any changes can be noted.”

Important changes to look for include: Size – Changes in the size of one of the breasts or if one breast starts to hang lower than the other. Nipples – Look for changes in the nipples shape and size. Also look for any rashes or discharge. Skin Changes – Look for dimpling or puckering of the skin and also any changes in colour. Swelling – Look for any swelling under the armpits or around the collarbone. Pain – If you develop continuous pain in a breast consult your GP. Lumps – Look for any lumps or thickening of the breast tissue or any changes in the feel of your breast. If you want to read more about this examination then visit The instructions and an examination diary are also available as a download.

UK women with family history of breast cancer to be offered free MRI scans

London: UK women with a family history of breast cancer are to be offered free MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans from the state health service, the NHS.

Currently, women who have lost close family members to the disease can undergo a genetic test to see if they carry genes that greatly increase their likelihood of developing the cancer.

If they test positive for the faulty versions of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes they are able at the age of 40 onwards, to have an annual mammograms, an X-ray scan to detect the disease.

Now carriers of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes – will be given scans from the age of 30. The tests, which use magnetic waves rather than X-rays, are twice as effective at detecting breast tumours in younger women.

Studies have yet to show if MRI scans are also better at picking up tumours in older women.

GPs will assess eligibility for MRI scanning, which will start within three months.

New gene link to breast cancer

London: A gene that puts women at an increased risk of developing breast cancer has been discovered by scientists.

They have identified that a faulty version of the BRIP1 gene means that those with it are twice as likely to develop the disease.

Other faulty genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 have already been linked with an increased risk. Those who carry these faulty genes have an 85 per cent risk of developing breast cancer and a 40 per cent risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research in London decided to look at faults in the BRIP1 gene because it interacts with the known cancer-causing gene BRCA1.

According to the scientists, carrying a faulty version of BRIP1 doubles a woman’s risk of the disease – taking it from one in 12 to around one in six by the age of 70.

UK cosmetic doctors to counsel surgery addicts

London: British cosmetic surgeons are to be trained to treat patients who have become addicted to surgery.

In the UK the number of procedures is spiralling with a 35% increase last year, including 5,646 breast augmentations. Altogether there were 222,041 surgical opertions carried out.

But there are fears, even by the surgeons themselves, that women and to a lesser degree men are undergoing unnecessary operations because of a psycological disorder known as body dysmorphic disorder. This is when people imagine they are ugly.

Adam Searle, the president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), says these people will never be happy with how they look but get a temporary buzz from surgery.

Patients using Botox injections and other aesthetics for wrinkles may also be suffering from this condition. Botox is the fastest growing procedure in the UK.

The popularity of TV shows on cosmetic surgery and celebrities admitting to surgery is fuelling the demand, say experts.

Pregnancy drug linked to early menopause and cancer

Boston: Exposure to a common pregnancy drug has been linked to an early menopause for babies exposed to it in the womb, according to a new US study.

The drug, known as DES, an artificial form of oestrogen, was given routinely to women between the 1940s and 1970s to prevent miscarriages. The drug. also known as diethylstilboestrol/Stilbeostrol, was withdrawn in the seventies after it was found to cause defects in children.

But a study of thousands of women by Boston University has revealed that those who were exposed to it in the womb were 50 per cent more likely to start the menopause early.

In addition the women who took it are also at an increased risk of breast cancer, and this risk has likely been passed onto their daughters.

DES was withdrawn after many female children developed cancers of the vagina and other disorders of the reproductive system which made them infertile. The sons had low sperm counts and undescended testicles, and it is thought they might be at increased risk of testicular cancer.

Studies have shown that mothers and daughters both have an increased risk of breast cancer, with the risk increasing with age.

For instance, DES daughters over 40 have almost twice the usual risk of developing the disease. The latest study is the first to look at whether exposure to DES affected a woman’s reproductive life.

The researchers compared the age of menopause of 4,800 ‘DES daughters’ with that of more 2,100 women whose mothers had not taken the drug. The DES daughters were 50 per cent more likely to have reached menopause early. And the more DES their mothers had taken, the greater the risk. Worst affected were those whose mothers had taken part in a DES trial in the Fifties – these women were twice as likely to have reached menopause as others their age.

The increase in risk, the American Journal of Epidemiology reports, is thought to be because DES reduces the number of immature eggs produced as the unborn baby develops in the womb.

Baby girls are usually born with up to two million eggs but by the time they reach menopause all but 1,000 or so have withered away. If DES daughters have fewer eggs to begin with, they might reach menopause earlier.

Lead researcher Professor Julie Palmer, who has studied the effects of DES for 14 years, said that every woman who knows she is DES exposed should be having careful screening for vaginal cancer.

Women who took the drug and the children of these women should seek advice from their doctors.

New blood test for breast cancer

London: A new early warning blood test for breast cancer which is 1000 times more sensitive than any currently in use may cut deaths from the disease.

Breat cancer is the most common female cancer claiming more than 400,000 lives around the world each year.

Doctors diagnose it by physical examination, scanning and biopsy. The new blood test works by detecting small changes in the protein in the blood which change when the body’s immune system begins to fight cancer.

The test was developed by a joint team from University College London, the University of Pennsylvania and Pittsburg and the US company BioTraces Inc. The findings are published in the current issue of the Journal of Proteome Research.

Weight gain in older women increases cancer risk

Boston: Weight gain after the menopause may mean an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a new US study.

Researchers at the Brigham Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, examined the links between weight gain and the risk of breast cancer among post-menopausal women. They discovered that weightloss after the menopause lowers levels of circulating oestrogen, the hormone that elevates cancer risk, in women. It has already been proven that weight gain in earlier life also raises cancer risk.

The researchers examined changes in weight in two different life periods – after the age of 18 and after menopause over a follow up period of 24 years. The study involved a total of 87, 143 postmenopausal women, aged 30 to 55 years, who were followed up for up to 26 years to analyse weight change since age 18. Weight change since menopause was assessed among 49,514 women. The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Women who gained about 55 pounds or more since age 18 were at a 45 percent increased risk of breast cancer, compared with those who maintained their weight, with a stronger association among women who have never taken postmenopausal hormones.
Women who gained about 22 pounds or more since menopause were at an 18 percent increased risk of breast cancer. Those who lost about 22 pounds or more since menopause (and kept the weight off) and had never used postmenopausal hormones were at a 57 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who simply maintained their weight. The researchers concluded that 15 percent of the study’s breast cancer cases may be attributable to weight gain of 4.4 pounds or more since age 18 and 4.4 percent of the cases may be attributable to weight gain of 4.4 pounds or more since menopause.

Herbal tea helps cut breast cancer risk

Paris: Herbal tea rich in antioxidants may halve the risk of breast cancer, according to research based on 4,400 women.

The women were all cancer-free at the start of the study, but by the end nearly 100 breast cancers had been diagnosed in the study by the French institute, Supplèmentation en Vitamines et Minèraux Antioxydants.

Analysis of the women’s diets found that those who had been drinking herbal teas, , had a 57 per cent lower risk than non-drinkers.

The study also showed that drinking ordinary tea, coffee, fruit juice or wine is not linked with risk for developing breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in developed countries with around one in nine women developing the disease.

Delay in cancer drug treatment for UK women

London: Victims of breast cancer face an agonising three-year wait on the UK’s National Health Srvice for a drug hailed as the biggest breakthrough in 30 years. Doctors say Arimidex could save or prolong the lives of thousands of women.

It dramatically reduces the chances of the cancer spreading and cuts the risk of severe side- effects. But a decision on approving the drug is not due until March 2007.

Between now and then, the disease will claim the lives of nearly 30,000 women. At least 10,000 new patients a year would be suitable for Arimidex while thousands of others could switch treatments.

The annual bill for each woman’s treatment would be £800, compared to about £70 for tamoxifen, the current standard treatment.

After stunning trial results were unveiled yesterday, doctors want Arimidex to become the first-line therapy for early breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

But NHS patients will have to wait – unless they go private and can find a specialist prepared to prescribe the drug.

At the moment, it is only allowed for women who cannot tolerate tamoxifen and for advanced cancer cases.

Drug regulatory officials are considering whether to license Arimidex for initial therapy.

But even then, it still has to be approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence before being prescribed widely.

Its decision is not due before March 2007, leaving thousands of women uncertain if they are getting the best treatment.

Professor Jeffrey Tobias, one of the trial investigators, said: ‘It is clear that if Arimidex prevents the disease recurring at distant sites in the body, there is a good chance the cancer won’t come back at all.

‘More women would be surviving for longer periods, free of disease and possibly cured.’

Dr Tobias, Professor of Cancer Medicine at University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, said breast cancer therapy was at a turning point.

‘For the first time, we have a more effective and safer treatment than tamoxifen,’ he said.

‘It’s very unusual for something to emerge that is much more effective than the standard therapy.’

Although tamoxifen was cheaper, Arimidex was ‘good value for money’, he added.

Data from the biggest study of its kind showed that women on the new drug have a 10 per cent higher survival rate after five years of treatment.

It cuts the chances of breast cancer recurring by 26 per cent – over and above the 50 per cent reduction provided by tamoxifen.

Women also run less risk of the cancer spreading to distant parts of the body.

Serious side-effects, such as endometrial cancer and bloodclotting disorders, are also significantly lower. Doctors predict Arimidex will become a bigger life-saver than tamoxifen, which is credited with helping more than 20,000 British women survive since its launch in the 1980s.

Early indications suggest the death rate might be cut by a further 13 per cent compared with tamoxifen.

Study leader Anthony Howell, of the Christie Hospital, Manchester, said patients on tamoxifen should be switched to Arimidex at the ‘earliest opportunity’.

Each year, 41,000 women in the UK develop breast cancer – 30,000 of them after the menopause.

A total of 100,000 would be eligible for the new drug.

Arimidex only helps patients after the menopause as it works by shutting down the body’s supply of the female hormone oestrogen.

Professor Jack Cuzick, of Cancer Research UK, which helped fund the study, said: ‘We are very excited by these results.’

Dr Sarah Rawlings, of the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: ‘Tamoxifen has made a big impact but other treatment like Arimidex could also make a big difference.’

Sue Green, of CancerBACUP, said: ‘Women taking tamoxifen should be assured that the treatment is very effective. Anyone concerned should discuss it with their doctor.

‘We would also urge NICE to assess the data urgently so health professionals are given clear guidance.’

Tamoxifen is cheaper as it has been available in generic form for years.

Arimidex has cost millions to develop and is protected by a patent.

The study results were announced at a conference in the U.S. and on the website of medical journal The Lancet.