You At Your Best

October 2019 • Womens Health

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 3 of 15

sPeCial to nWa DemoCRat-Gazette There's exciting news about advancements in the detection and treatment of breast cancer, the most frequently occurring cancer for women in Arkansas. On average, an individual woman has a 1-in-8 chance of developing breast cancer over an 80-year lifespan. There are so many more options for treatment now, with new research yielding even more knowledge every year, according to Breast Surgeon Christopher Menendez, MD. "Precise targeted immunotherapy is an example of a newer treatment we didn't have 10 or 15 years ago. There's also targeted radiation that can be delivered through a catheter directly into the cancer, shortening the course of therapy significantly. And exciting work is being done now with vaccines – some of that focused on treating existing cancers by impacting cellular activities using one's own immune system. That was a surprising discovery." But the most important thing to remember is that the greatest opportunity for successful treatment begins with early diagnosis. "The bottom line is, a majority of breast cancers can be treated successfully if found early," said Dr. Menendez. "And the most effective way to detect breast cancer at an early, treatable stage is to have yearly mammograms starting at the age of 40, and to have regular clinical breast exams by a doctor or nurse. In my practice, I'm seeing younger women now, and I believe that's because there's an increased awareness around risk factors, family history, genetics and the importance of screening. It is also worth noting, however, that even early-detected breast cancers can recur as metastatic cancer in 30% of cases. So it is vitally important that research continues vigorously, not only for early stage breast cancers, but for those with metastatic breast cancers, also known as stage 4." Newer surgical techniques including an increase in nipple-sparing surgery as well as improvements in breast reconstruction. Northwest Health provides imaging technology that can detect breast cancer at the earliest stages, when treatment can be most effective, including breast tomosynthesis, also called 3D mammography. The Northwest Imaging Center at Willow Creek Women's Hospital was the first in Northwest Arkansas to offer this technology. To schedule a mammogram at Willow Creek or Northwest Medical Center- Bentonville, call 479-757-4149. Saturday times are available. To schedule a mammogram at Siloam Springs Regional Hospital, call 479-215-3140. "Mammograms save lives," said Dr. Christie Phelan, a board-certified and fellowship-trained breast radiologist who works at Northwest Health. "Today, thanks to early detection and treatment advances, more women are surviving breast cancer and living longer, healthier lives." For women of average risk, the American College of Radiology recommends annual mammograms starting at age 40, with no upper age limit as long as the woman is in good health. Different guidelines apply to women at higher risk. A screening mammogram can help detect breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages. Risk factors • Gender: Being a woman is the greatest risk factor for breast cancer, but men can get breast cancer as well. • Age: The risk of developing breast cancer goes up with age. • Genetic defects: About 5 to 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, which means they are a result of gene defects inherited from a parent. • Family history: Breast cancer risk increases if a woman has a close relative such a mother, sister, or daughter who has had the disease. In fact, a woman's risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. However, less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it. This means about 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. • Personal history of breast cancer: A woman with cancer in one breast has an increased risk of developing cancer in the other breast or part of the same breast. • Race and ethnicity: Overall, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women, but African-American women are more likely to die of the disease. • Dense breast tissue: Women with dense breasts on mammograms have a breast cancer risk of 1.2 to 2 times that of women with average breast density. Dense breast tissue can also make mammograms less accurate. • Lifestyle risk factors include being overweight, smoking, lack of physical activity, drinking alcohol, using hormone therapy. Improved treatment options In addition to being first in Northwest Arkansas to offer 3D mammography, Northwest Health was also the first in Arkansas to use a non-radioactive wire-free localization system during breast conservation surgeries, building on its commitment to offer the most advanced treatments for breast cancer patients. Radar has been used for decades when precision is vital to success. It is an efficient and precise approach to localization and surgical guidance and helps surgeons remove cancerous tissue with greater confidence. The non- radioactive wire-free radar localization system is a clinically proven, FDA cleared, zero-radiation approach to targeting tumors and breast lesions. It uses a unique radar signal to detect a reflector, the size of a grain of rice, which can be placed at the tumor site at the patients' convenience. During the procedure, the surgeon scans the breast using the system's guide to precisely and efficiently locate the reflector to within 1mm of accuracy. The ability to precisely locate tumors increases the probability of complete cancer removal and reduces the likelihood of needing follow-up surgeries – a huge advantage for early-stage breast cancer patients. In addition, the ability to strategically plan the incision may result in better cosmetic outcomes. For mammography, appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis. An order from a physician or qualified healthcare provider is required. All mammogram reports will be sent to the physician/provider, and the patient is responsible for follow-up. Check with your insurance provider to confirm coverage for a screening mammogram. For American College of Radiology recommendations, visit Latest advances offer new hope for women with breast cancer October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month sPonsoR Content menendez Phelan 4 | YOU AT YOUR BEST | nwAdg.cOm/YOUATYOURBEST OcTOBER - wOmEn'S HEAlTH | SATURdAY, SEpTEmBER 28, 2019

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of You At Your Best - October 2019 • Womens Health