Physicians Advise Early Detection, Screening Mammograms at St. Joseph Medical Center’s “Pink Power” Luncheon
Women of Wellness
The battle against breast cancer—the second leading cause of cancer death in women—is best fought by early detection, screening mammograms and knowledge, agreed the medical experts addressing women attending the Third Annual Pink Power Luncheon at St. Joseph Medical Center October 19.
“Nine women are diagnosed with breast cancer and two women lose their battle with the disease each day in our seven-county service area around Houston,” said Marjorie Landry, Interim Executive Director of Susan G. Komen® Houston. “We appreciate St. Joseph Medical Center hosting this event to educate women about the importance of early detection, and for donating event proceeds to our organization. While there has been a 39 percent decrease in breast cancer deaths nationwide, there are still more than 40,000 women who will die this year from breast cancer. We won’t stop until there is a cure, and we get closer to it every day.”
Eniola Mudasiru-Dawodu, M.D., radiologist on the medical staff of St. Joseph Medical Center, encouraged the audience to begin annual screening mammography at age 40 and to continue beyond the age of 80.
“Screening mammography leads to the greatest reduction in deaths because it can detect breast cancer very early,” said Dr. Dawodu.
“Mammography is the only screening tool proven to reduce the rate of death by 30 percent. For women who have a higher than average risk for breast cancer, screening may begin at 30 years of age and may also include screening breast ultrasound.”
According to Dr. Dawodu, there are four key risk factors for breast cancer. They include the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutation, personal history of breast cancer, radiation treatment to the chest, and family history including certain rare genetic mutations.
“The first part of early detection is to perform monthly self breast exams so you can identify any changes in the breast,” said Dr. Dawodu. “Women should also have an annual clinical breast exam by a physician and annual screening mammography.”
Dr. Dawodu said that any changes to the breast or breast pain should be addressed by a trained physician or a patient's PCP, and that they are not all indicators of breast cancer. Benign breast conditions can be caused by a variety of factors including medication, stress, natural changes and exercise.
There are 200,000 new cases of breast cancer annually and Ngoc Pham, M.D., radiation oncologist on the medical staff of St. Joseph, said that treatment today represents a new era of advanced biological therapy. She provided an overview of the evolution of treatment from radical mastectomies in the 1890s to more individualized treatments for women today.
“Since the late 1990s, we have developed biological therapies that are the key element of standard breast cancer treatment based on rapidly expanding cellular and molecular understanding of the disease,” said Dr. Pham. “The key is early detection.”
Dr. Pham explained the advances in breast-conserving surgical treatments and radiation therapy.
“Radiation today is targeted precisely to avoid other areas of the body,” said Dr. Pham. “Less energy is needed, there is control for hot spots and it is a much more comfortable experience for the patient. Today’s breast-conserving treatment provides an equivalent outcome as a mastectomy for early stage disease.”
St. Joseph’s Pink Power annual luncheon is part of the hospital’s Women of Wellness (WOW) program. WOW is a health and social program to empower women as health care consumers by providing educational information and hosting fun, inspiring events that celebrate women’s roles in their own wellness. Membership in WOW is free and open to all women. To join visit sjmctx.org/wow or call 713-756-5051.
St. Joseph Medical Center hosted its Third Annual Pink Power Luncheon to encourage women about early detection of breast cancer. Pictured are: Annette Garber, Director of Marketing and Public Relations; Tracie Gibbs, Marketing Manager; and Jamie Branting, Business Development Manager.
At the St. Joseph Medical Center Pink Power luncheon are: Ngoc Pham, M.D., radiation oncologist; Bernard Leger, chief operating officer; Eniola Mudasiru-Dawodu, M.D., radiologist; and Heidi Wolf, chief nursing officer.