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Research Worth Watching: San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2018 - Plenary

Plenary Session – December 5, 2018

The best talk I heard on Wednesday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium was the plenary lecture presented by Nicholas Navin of the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The talk, “Breast Tumor Evolution and Intratumor Heterogeneity — Insights from Single Cell Genomics,” focused on scientists’ use of single cell genomics to understand how ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) evolves into invasive cancer. 


DCIS is an acronym for ductal carcinoma in situ. DCIS is a precancer that is usually found on a mammogram. In this video, you will learn how DCIS is diagnosed and treated.

Are All Appearances What They Seem? New Insights Into DCIS

We tend to forget that science does not always represent "the truth" but is instead our best guess based on the data currently available. Much of our understanding of breast cancer comes from looking at cells under a microscope and predicting how they are going to behave. Based on this research, we have determined that breast cancer starts as an abnormality in the lining of a breast duct, somewhat like rust. It then eventually breaks out of the duct and moves into the surrounding breast tissue.

Dispelling the Myths

These are 10 of the most common myths or misunderstandings about breast cancer.

1. One in eight women will get breast cancer.

This is one of the most misunderstood breast cancer statistics. The one-in-eight statistic doesn’t accurately reflect the average woman’s breast cancer risk. Age is the most important risk factor for breast cancer, so as a woman gets older, her breast cancer risk increases, approaching a one in eight risk after age 70.


Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation has a long and rich history of collaborating with other researchers, institutions, and organizations to conduct innovative research.

ImPatient Science

The majority of women today are aware of breast cancer from a fairly young age, and there are countless resources available that provide basic information about the disease, risk factors, and screening; e.g., what to do if you have an abnormal mammogram, or ten things to ask your doctor about your diagnosis. At the other end of the information spectrum, patients and family members/caregivers can become lost and discouraged by the universe of complex scientific data available about breast cancer.


If a clinical breast exam identifies a breast lump, calcifications that look suspicious are seen on a mammogram, or an ultrasound or MRI identifies an area that looks abnormal, typically the next step is a biopsy.

A biopsy is a sample of cells or tissue. The biopsy is sent to a cytologist or pathologist who will look at it closely under a microscope and may also perform tests on the cells to learn more about them.