Breast Cancer Awareness month is celebrated each October. Breast Cancer is something that has impacted us deeply. As breast surgeons, this month means so much to us. We strive to provide compassionate care to our patients and their families as we navigate their treatment plan, surgery, and post-operative care. Breast Cancer Awareness Month allows us all to come together to support a common goal: The fight against Breast Cancer.
This month, each of our surgeons answered a very important and personal question: What Does Breast Cancer Awareness Month Mean to You?
Dr. Desiree D’Angelo-Donovan:
Breast Cancer Awareness Month to me is an opportunity for women to take control of their health. We should all have our own health and wellness at the forefront of our minds, but as women we frequently put ourselves last as we care for children, family and friends. October, I hope, will be a reminder to women to put themselves first and take a moment to focus on their health and get their mammograms. It is something so simple, that can make such a lasting impact when a lesion is found early and never has a chance to manifest into cancer.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month also means success and survival. Breast cancer survival has continued to improve over the years. The average 5-year survival rate for women diagnosed with non-metastatic breast cancer is greater than 90%. 60 years ago, that number was 25%. We have made great leaps and bounds forward with research and new treatments for breast cancer. We still have room to continue to improve, but October makes me feel hopeful for the future. I hope that women take control of their health and that we continue to see the survival rate go up when it comes to the treatment of breast cancer. Now, go out and get your mammogram!!
Dr. Ann Chuang:
The whole world turns pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Football teams wear pink uniforms, bridges and streets are lit up in pink. This is a reminder that both men and women need to stop and pay attention to their breasts. Masses or nipple discharge that was previously ignored should be relooked at. Make that appointment to see your primary care physician, OB/GYN or breast surgeon. Life is busy, but now is the time to stop and take care of yourself. Breast cancer screening saves lives. Breast cancer can be detected early and most early breast cancers are 99% curable. Breast cancer awareness month reminds people to put their health as a priority.
It is estimated that 42,690 deaths (42,170 women and 520 men) from breast cancer will occur this year and that is just too many. There are too many lives that could have been saved with screening and intervention. As a breast surgeon, I will not stop advocating for breast health until we stop losing loved ones from cancer. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please take a moment to take care of yourself.
Dr. James Frost:
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Every October I remember.
My maternal grandmother, Ruth
My grandmother’s two sisters Tea and Bert
My mother Sheila
Bert’s daughter Barbara
My father’s sister Eleanor
My wife’s mother Reba
My wife’s Aunt Arlene
My wife’s grandmother Anne
They all had breast cancer.
Two are still alive.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Earlier diagnosis leads to more cures and lives saved.
It’s time to grab yourself, your mother, grandmothers, daughters, and girlfriends.
Get your mammograms, and breast exams
The newest 3D mammograms, ultrasounds and MRI exams offer the best screening ever available.
Risk assessment and genetic testing allow identification of our highest risk women.
New treatments offer improved care and survival.
Don’t let Breast Cancer be a Goliath.
Allow us your health care professionals to be your sling shot and stop the Goliath of Breast Cancer.
When it comes to breast cancer, you can control the memories you create.
Dr. Anjeanette Brown:
So why Breast Cancer as my professional focus?
My maternal grandmother, Frances Graham- an educator/guidance counselor- was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in college at University of Maryland. She had opted for a mastectomy instead of having a lumpectomy and radiation. She had a successful surgical outcome, but I remember seeing her incision. A general surgeon had used staples to close her incision and I thought visually it was jarring…who wanted to look like Frankenstein?
My grandmother stated that it didn’t matter as long as the incision was closed BUT it bothered me–she knew I was considering medical school at that time. When I was accepted to University of Maryland for medical school, then general surgery residency, she brought up our previous conversation. She said that I should consider breast surgery as a profession, as there had recently been the addition of a Breast Fellowship with a focus on patient care/aesthetics (how to make the incisions look better) and overall wellness.
She passed at age 91, 4 years ago (not from her cancer) but I work daily to uphold all that she embodied to take the best personal care of my breast cancer patients.
Breast Cancer is something that has affected so many people and impacted our lives in some way or another. As with many cancers, there are several risk factors besides family history that impact this disease. On the topic of Health & Fitness Day, Dr. Ann Chuang details the correlation of breast cancer and living a healthy lifestyle.
1 out of 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Most of these women do not have a family history of breast cancer. 1 out of 10 breast cancer can be attributed to genetic mutations such as BRCA 1 and 2. Women who get regular exercise (physical activity) have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who are not active. When the evidence is looked at as a whole, regular exercise appears to lower breast cancer risk by 10-20 percent.
Most women with early breast cancer will beat it and never develop another breast cancer. It is important that breast cancer survivors practice healthy diet and lifestyles. These lifestyle modifications include maintaining a BMI between 18.5 and 25, limiting alcohol intake and maintaining or increasing exercise to the moderate or vigorous category. In addition, it is important to take care of other aspect of your health, including being up to date on health care screenings and visits.
Authored by Dr. Ann Chuang