New research in mice finds that having an unhealthful balance in the gut microbiome can cause breast cancer to spread more aggressively.
One factor that may drive the spread of breast cancer is the population of gut bacteria.
Although the outlook of people with breast cancer has improved dramatically in recent years, predicting and preventing the spread of cancer to other parts of the body (metastasis) continues to be a major challenge in the medical community.
Recent estimates place the number of women living with metastatic breast cancer in the United States at 154,794.
Around 5–9% of new breast cancer cases are already in metastasis at the time of diagnosis, according to some estimates.
There are several factors that influence the likelihood of breast cancer spreading. One of them is the hormone receptor status.
For instance, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, which accounts for the majority of breast cancer cases, is driven by the hormones estrogen or progesterone. It usually responds well to treatment. Hormone receptor-negative cancers, on the other hand, tend to spread faster.
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