October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Accordingly, we have gathered together our most recent posts on breast cancer. Members of WVFC’s Medical Advisory board—physicians who are specialists in their fields—write all of these articles. They highlight the latest research on the full range of patient concerns: anesthesia, alcohol and breast cancer, breast density, breast reconstruction, hormone therapy, implants, radiation, screening, and surgery. And see our next Medical Monday post (October 15), by Dr. Elizabeth Port, for information on screening designed to tailor chemotherapy.



On Mammograms and Their Value: A Breast Surgeon Weighs In
By Dr. Elisa Rush Port 
When it comes to recommending yearly mammograms and affirming that mammograms save lives, let’s stop getting hung up on technicalities. Let’s stop re-crunching the numbers until they give us a different answer, and accept what the data demonstrates: From age 40—not age 50—yearly mammograms save lives.

News Alert: Dr. Thomas Kolb on Breast Density Imaging
By Thomas Kolb, M.D.
Knowing your breast density is of vital importance, for the higher the density of the breast, the lower the accuracy of the mammogram. Adding a screening ultrasound for women with dense breasts can detect invasive cancer that the mammogram has missed.

Menopause, Ten Years Later: A Milestone Study Reconsidered
By Wulf H. Utian, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Wulf H. Utian, founding executive director of the North American Menopause Society, takes another look at the momentous decision, a decade ago, to halt one part of a Women’s Health Initiative study involving estrogen and progestin, discussing what that decision has meant for our generation of women.

Ask Dr. Pat: About That French Breast-Implant Scandal…
By Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D.
What’s going on? How can find out if I am at risk? If I am, can I get someone to pay for the removal of my implants?

In the News: Breast Cancer and Booze
By Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D.
This week brought more information for women to consider as they choose whether to alter their lives to decrease the risk of developing breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Update: Anesthetic Options for Surgery
By Eleni Tousimis, M.D.
Breast surgery is already anxiety-provoking and psychologically traumatic. Why not help decrease the physical pain associated with these procedures?

Breast Cancer Update: Important Findings on Radiation Treatment
By Patricia Yarberry Allen
A report like this, based on an analysis of many studies involving thousands of women treated in many countries, provides a significant answer to an important question: Is radiation useful or harmful in the treatment of women with breast cancer?

Breast Cancer Surgery: The Good News
By Eleni Tousimis, M.D.
This, 2011, has been an exciting year for breast cancer patients and their treating physicians. Now, the trend in breast cancer surgery is toward less invasive surgery with improved reconstructive options.

A Rare Breast Cancer Remembered
By Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D.
I was a 27-year-old surgical intern at New York Hospital in 1976 when I took care of my first patient who died from breast cancer. Mrs. M. was a 40-year-old woman with two young children and a loving husband. About eight weeks before I began treating her, she had noticed that her left breast had become swollen, red, and somewhat tender. Her skin felt firm and the texture was like the skin of an orange.

Prophylactic Mastectomy: Why Remove a Healthy Breast?
By Eleni Tousimis, M.D.
New research out of Wake Forest Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, revealed an interesting trend: Women diagnosed with breast cancer were choosing to have not only the affected breast removed, but also the normal, healthy one—even when they did not carry the gene for developing breast cancer

Special Report From NAMS: The Impact of High-Tech Imaging on Surgical Choices
By Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D.
High-tech imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT, and MRI allow physicians to see structures more clearly and precisely. This information may have an impact on treatment protocols for conditions such as ovarian cysts, endometrial thickening, and small tumor deposits in the breast that often are not detected by mammography or palpation.

Mammograms: Why Women Should Be Screened
By Thomas Kolb, M.D.
Who should get mammograms, and how frequently? WVFC expert Dr. Thomas Kolb summarizes the recent findings and explains what’s most important.

Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer: The New York Times Ends the Week With More Bad News
By Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D.
The Million Women Study is a British observational study that began in May 1996 and ended in December 2001. Women were 50-64 at the time the study began, and their numbers included one in four of all women in this age group in Great Britain at the time.

Oncoplastic Surgery: When Is It the Right Choice?
By Eleni Tousimis, M.D.
Lately, there’s been a new buzzword surrounding the surgical treatment of breast cancer: oncoplastic surgery. A report from a recent meeting of top surgeons about options for reconstruction.


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