[ RadSafe ] Breast Cancer

ROY HERREN royherren2005 at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 7 01:03:28 CDT 2012

Joe and Sergio,
    I would just like to say that this is a wonderful discussion and it 
covers wide array of current issues.  There is no doubt in my mind that we are 
currently at a very exciting point in time in the history of science.  Soon 
enough science and medicine will be able to affordable sequence a persons entire 
genome or a biopsy sample, and this will eventually allow physicians to custom 
design very specific therapies for the individuals unique disease.  Currently 
there are patients who are subjected to the standard rounds of chemotherapy 
because their treating team of physicians don't know whether or not a particular 
chemotherapy agent will or won't be effective against their disease.  Precious 
time can be wasted trying to determine whether or not a chemotherapy agent is 
effective.  In the future, physicians will know ahead of time which agents will 
be effective and which agents shouldn't be used to treat a patients disease.
   Genetic sequencing is a powerful tool and as of yet we don't full understand 
the function of much of the genome.  Sergio is correct when he wrote "Mapping of 
all the properties of DNA is an enormous project, and even if you can perform a 
complete individual mapping, and you could say that a specific women will get 
breast cancer, you are faced with a difficult question: treat the tumor before 
it has appeared? Make preventive mastectomy?"  Knowledge can be both a benefit 
and a burden.  As hard as it is to fathom, for the women who has lost several 
first degree family members from breast cancer a prophylactic Mastectomy may 
well be a "reasonable" option.  However, it is only a reasonable option after 
she has had genetic counseling and that she knows for certain that she also 
carries the genes that put her at a higher risk of also developing the disease.  
I suspect that for those of us looking at such a case from the outside this 
seems as if it would be a near impossible decision, however for the woman who 
has cared for her mother and or sisters who eventually died from breast 
cancer it isn't as difficult a choice as one might imagine.
  I believe that someday in the not too distant future, most probable after many 
of us have passed, the cure for many diseases will be provided genetically and 
not by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
I think that the 60 minutes article that you were referencing may have been 
"Hard cases: Investigating rare & tough diseases" at
See "Sick Babies Could Have Genomes Sequenced in Days"

See "Quick DNA decoding can save infants' lives report" at:
See "Rapid gene-mapping test may diagnose disease in newborns" at:

See "UNC Linberger Scientists lead cancer genome analysis of breast cancer" at:

and the full article "Comprehensive molecular portraits of human breast 
tumours" at:
See "Pinpointing genes that control breast cancer" at:
Roy Herren 

From: Sergio Faermann <sergio at bgu.ac.il>
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List 
<radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Cc: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Sent: Sat, October 6, 2012 2:06:15 AM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Breast Cancer

Dear Joe

I appreciate very much your almost routine comments on many subjects.  It's like 
philosophical digressions!
Concerning your comments on breast cancer I must point out:
1-As a past (retired medical radiation physicist) I can tell you that we don't 
treat breast cancer with GammaKnife ( reserved only for radiosurgery).We do 
treat with linacs.
2-Breast cancer is a systemic disease and even if you perform the best combined 
treatment-Chemo +radiotherapy, you cannot assure 100% that metaatasis will not 
appear 20 years later.
3-Mapping of all the properties of DNA is an enormous project, and even if you 
can perform a complete individual mapping, and you could say that a specific 
women will get breast cancer, you are faced with a difficult question: treat the 
tumor before it has appeared? Make preventive mastectomy?

Best regards

Sergio Faermann ,Ph.D.
System Advanced Laboratories

----- Original Message -----
From: JPreisig at aol.com
Date: Saturday, October 6, 2012 5:43
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Breast Cancer
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu

 Dear Radsafe:
  Hey All.
      The US Government and other agencies and companies have made considerable 
progress in DNA Mapping.  Considerable DNA progress has also been made by 
one gentleman and his company in Southern California --- his name and company 
were described on an episode of 60 Minutes (USA TV).  I guess the many DNA 
on/off switches can detail the characteristics of various body organs, tissues 
and structures.  Color, chemical composition, organ geometry and dimensions, 
function(s) and so on, are probably described by DNA.  One might venture a guess 
as to how many parameters are (minimally) needed to describe a given organ, 
tissue, structure.
      I wonder, as I have done before on radsafe, if cancer parameters are in 
included in the DNA information.  Rate of growth, characteristics of the cancer 
and so on.  Perhaps individual hospitals and/or research organizations should be 
given some responsibility for doing the continued DNA mapping for any given 
organ, tissue, structure.
    I don't pretend to understand biochemistry --- I  will leave that to people 
educated in that field.  I have some background in physics, health physics, 
fluid mechanics and radiation biophysics and radiation chemistry.
    Someday soon, or perhaps already, some smart graduate student will produce a 
fluid flow input/output model for the human breast.  Once produced, such a model 
could be tinkered with to produce a model in which blood vessel breaks, breaks 
in other circulation systems and so on can be produced.  

      Breasts have their own life cycle from: non-existence, to growth, to adult 
stage, to older adult stage and finally, death.  This is a dynamic process.  
There is, for various cancers, the concept of latency time, which can be quite 
    I expect that once the breasts are exposed to some  carcinogen, 
radiation???, biological agent, other insult, there is a buildup process of the 
carcinogen in the  breasts.  Accumulation of the carcinogen may take some time, 
which is probably goes hand-in-hand with the phenomenon of latency time.  
Effects of the carcinogen etc. on the breast tissue is probably somewhat 
dependent on the amount/concentration of the carcinogen available.  

    Persons with cancer-susceptible breasts may have weak blood and/or other 
fluid circulation systems.  Maybe this is due to bad genetics, long term 
environmental  exposure of a group of persons to carcinogens, reproductive 
behavior of a limited group of people (a small village) and so on.  People 
living in volcanic areas may be exposed to more chemicals than people living on 
just farm dirt or whatever.  In California, there are known zones of Selenium 
buildup, just as a chemical example.
    A previous post by me alludes to a news item on Google about discovery of 4 
distinct types of breast cancer.  Designer treatment is starting now of biopsy 
samples of  Cancer grown in Petri dishes or whatever.
    More traditional means of treatment include radical surgery, lumpectomies, 
gamma knife treatment, other radiation treatment, chemotherapy and so on.  
I'm hearing than chemotherapy is now an easier process.  Quite a while ago now, 
one of my health physics colleagues remarked that she would rather die than go 
through chemotherapy again.  I wish her well.
    I hear lately that Pancreatic Cancer is being treated  with much greater 
success nowadays.  I also see advertisements in the newspaper about proton 
machines (i.e. accelerators) being used to treat prostate cancer.
    Well, this is getting long.  I wish great success  to anyone doing cancer 
research as their real job.
    I guess, if Cancer and Heart Disease are truly being conquered then people 
will live longer lives and possibly die of natural causes, circulation clogging, 
organ failure and so on.  Soon, organs/tissues will be easily grown in Petri 
dishes and/or other lab glass-ware.
    Keep moving forward....
    Regards,    Joseph R. (Joe) Preisig, PhD
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