Dr. William Creasman discusses some of the questions researchers are trying to answer with regards to cancer growth.
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We don't know what causes cancer, I mean the cancer of the breast for instance, we have a pretty good idea for say cervical cancer, we know that HPV is certainly incriminated whether or not it is the called the thick carcinogen or is it cocarcinogen, we know that it's important. But in breast cancer we don't know, by the time that breast cancer is diagnosed, it's probably been in the breast 8 or 10 years and so this is the benefit of mammography. Before one can actually palpate a mass, as I said it's probably been there 8 or 9 years. Well, mammography will allow us to identify a mass much smaller so we have probably 2-3 year window before it gets to the place it can be picked up clinically that you can identify it with a mammogram and therefore with a smaller tumor. Theoretically, there is going to be less chance of having metastasis and you can cure the patient and I think this is the reason why we are seeing the survival we do in an early stage disease. But as I said, we don't know why -- what it causes, there is some very interesting data coming out that we have known for a long period of time and if you go to the laboratory and take breast cancer cells and pour on the estrogen in pretty good doses, it kills the cells. If you pull on a medium dose, it may cause the cells to grow but if you put in a very, very small amount it may cause them to die. So there is a lot of things that on the surface don't make a whole lot of sense that we need to really start looking at some of these things much more in depth.