Asian Hospital holds Breast Cancer Symposium

Cancer is regarded as one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Breast carcinoma appears to be the most frequent malignancy in women. And Philippines has the highest case of Breast Cancer among Asian Nations according to the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology.

Breast cancer may have no symptoms in its early stages. The first sign is often a painless breast lump, malignant tumor or an abnormal mammogram.

While many factors can influence the risk of breast cancer, older age is a primary risk factor for breast carcinoma in most women. Prevalence roughly increases with age. Hence, it is much higher in in post menopausal women than in premenopausal women. Postmenopausal patients with hormone receptor positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 negative (HER2–) tumors represent the majority of patients with advanced breast cancer (ABC).

Age and breast cancer gene mutations(BRCA1/BRCA2) are associated with a fourfold increase in risk. By changing the risk factors whenever possible or by prescribing chemopreventive drugs, the incidence of breast cancer can be reduced.

Breast cancer stages range from early, curable breast cancer to metastatic breast cancer. The odds of surviving breast cancer are strongly tied to how early it is found. An early diagnosis and introduction of adjuvant therapies will offer a better chance of a positive prognosis for patients. Those with higher risk of cancer recurrence are more likely to need adjuvant therapy. Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is any treatment given after primary therapy to increase the chance of long-term disease-free survival. Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer can include chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, the targeted drug trastuzumab (Herceptin®), radiation therapy, or a combination of treatments.

In Radiation Therapy, high-energy rays are used to wipe out any cancer cells that remain near the tumor site after a breast cancer surgery. It is also used in combination with chemotherapy to treat cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer uses drugs to kill cancer cells in order to control the cancer's growth in the body and to lower the odds of the cancer coming back.

Asian Hospital and Medical Center - Asian Cancer Institute’s (AHMC-ACI) recently held its first multi-disciplinary scientific symposium on breast cancer entitled “Optimizing Outcomes in Neoadjuvant Breast Cancer Management”. The Asian Cancer Institute teamed up with Roche, the leading pharmaceutical organization in the country, and with a renowned clinician and scholar in breast cancer research and a leader in translational medicine, Dr. Mark Daniel Pegram, to equip Hematologist, Oncologist as well as other healthcare professionals involved in the management of cancer patients, with major advances in Science that they can apply in their clinical practice.

The symposium held last July 11, 2015 started with a “Meet the Expert” session where doctor attendees were able to discuss in depth the problems that they face in their routine clinical practice with Dr. Mark Daniel Pegram, an expert in the Breast Cancer topic. Participants presented cases and consulted Dr. Pegram on switching from an ineffective regimen to a more effective intervention for their breast cancer patients.

Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Dr. Mark Daniel Pegram then presented case studies on getting the best outcomes in breast cancer management through Neoadjuvant Therapy in the round table discussion that followed.

Neoadjuvant therapy is treatment given before primary therapy. The main clinical aim of neoadjuvant endocrine therapy before surgery is to downstage estrogen receptor (ER) –positive breast cancers to avoid mastectomy. In some cases, neoadjuvant chemotherapy is used to reduce the tumour burden sufficiently to achieve operability in previously inoperable cancers.

On Dr. Mark Daniel Pegram

Dr. Pegram is the first director of the Breast Cancer Oncology Program at Stanford Women’s Cancer Center and co-director of Stanford’s Molecular Therapeutics Program. He also played a major role in developing the drug Herceptin as a treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer, which constitutes 20% of all cases His laboratory experiments demonstrated that combining Herpetin with chemotherapy effectively killed cancer cells that overproduced HER2 growth factor.

On Asian Cancer Institute

Asian Hospital and Medical Center is set to launch the Asian Cancer Institute on July 23, 2015. ACI is the Philippines’ first one-stop, integrated, multidisciplinary cancer prevention and management facility that will change the way tackles cancer. It aims to provide modern services and advance the rate of world-class scientific solutions, research and treatment for cancer patients. Its multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment and care allows a team of experts to sit down and discuss every cancer patient's case to make sure that the diagnosis is correct and eventually lay out all possible modes of treatment.

Dr. Corazon Ngelangel, Director of ACI, said that its integrated and multidisciplinary team approach to cancer care--- from preventive oncology to end-of-life care --- will deliver a more personalized medicine to its carcinoma patients.

ACI houses four integrated centers of excellence---the Emmanuel Center which provides the screening, diagnosis, and surgical care, the Conquer C Center which includes oncologists with specialized expertise in radiation therapy, nuclear oncology and interventional oncology, the Chrys Center 1 which provides Medical-Hematology-Pediatric oncology services, and Chrys Center 2 which provides high quality integrative, supportive and palliative care services.