A group of experts at the National Cancer Institute is recommending sweeping changes in the approach to cancer detection and treatment, including dropping the word “cancer” completely from some common diagnoses. For example, the recommendations suggest that some premalignant conditions—like one that affects the breast, called “ductal carcinoma in situ”, that many doctors agree is not cancer—should be renamed to exclude the word “carcinoma”. This change, they claim, would prevent patients from being frightened, and less prone to seek what might be unnecessary and possibly harmful procedures—including surgical removal of the breast.

Steven C. Quay, M.D., Ph.D., FCAP, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Seattle-based Atossa Genetics, Inc. and Director of the National Reference Laboratory for Breast Health, believes that even though physicians may not call it cancer, testing for ductal carcinoma in situ is still tremendously important because it is a form of abnormality that should be watched. According to Quay, preventative tests may be just what patients need to spark a “take charge” approach to their healthcare and it may inspire them to make important lifestyle modifications like limiting alcohol consumption, watching diet, exercising, implementing stress management techniques, etc.

Atossa is commercializing its recently developed, FDA-cleared diagnostic and therapeutic system that can identify women at high risk of future breast cancer and then offer them a treatment for the precancerous changes before they become malignant. The test, known as the ForeCYTE Breast Health Test, incorporates the use of an FDA-cleared, patented device, similar to a breast pump in appearance, that collects nipple aspirate fluid for cytological testing in women between ages 18 and 73. As determined by the FDA, the collected fluid can be used in the determination and/or differentiation of normal versus premalignant versus malignant cells, and as a component to assess lifetime breast cancer risk. The procedure is noninvasive, virtually painless for the patient, and takes about 10 minutes. If necessary, precancerous changes can be addressed with lifestyle intervention or pharmaceutical treatment.

Source: National Cancer Institute