Petra Rietschel, MD: Today in Breast Cancer Research

Petra Rietschel, MD is a noted oncologist and researcher working with breast cancer patients. Her work battling melanoma, sarcoma, and breast cancer has been a consuming passion in her life. In medical centers worldwide, researchers and physicians like this doctor work to find the cause of breast cancer and promote prevention.

Causes of Breast Cancer


Studies show that lifestyle choices can dramatically affect the likelihood of a person developing cancer. Breast cancer risk is altered by exercise, weight gain, weight loss, and the types of food present in the diet. Genes are also an influential factor.

Doctors are still not clear on any exact cause of breast cancer. What they do know is that breast cells begin to divide more rapidly than healthy cells. Those accumulating cells form tumors that may metastasize or spread into other parts of the body.

Breast cancer most commonly begins in the milk producing glands or ducts. Petra Rietschel, MD and many other researchers and doctors are constantly refining their knowledge to better understand cancer. Nevertheless, people with no risk factors still develop cancer while others who are at-risk do not. The interactions within and without the body that cause cancer are exceedingly complex.

Petra Rietschel, MD, Follows New Developments

There are many thousands of people like Dr. Rietschel who are studying cancer and learning how to better treat patients or at-risk men and women.

ñ    Chemoprevention: Preventative drugs such as Fenretinide (which is related to Vitamin A) are being studied as possible risk reducers. Studies have shown that these drugs may lower the risk of developing breast cancer. Continuing research may refine and improve results.

ñ    Gene Studies: Early stage breast cancer is problematic; doctors cannot accurately assess who has a higher than normal risk of cancer returning after treatment. Adjuvant therapy is for nearly all women being treated with breast cancer. In recent years, certain gene patterns have been linked to cancer resurfacing after treatment. This knowledge, when understood, will allow doctors to prescribe the best possible course of treatment.

ñ    Imaging methods are advancing, allowing doctors to not only detect a tumor, but to detect change and growth within the tumor.

New treatments such as oncoplastic surgery, advanced radiation therapy, and drugs that target gene changes in cells are also available.


Petra Rietschel, MD and her colleagues explore every possibility. In her time with the Brooklyn Breast Program as their Director, Petra Rietschel, MD encouraged early awareness and education. Today, she does the same, working to advance the treatment of multiple kinds of cancer. She is a graduate of the University of Heidelberg as well as a board-certified fellow of oncology, hematology, and Internal Medicine. Those experiences have only deepened Petra Rietschel’s blief that lifestyle changes, when combined with excellent medical science, can defeat cancer.

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    November 2012