Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer awareness’

New Mammography Guidelines

mammogramAlthough the American Cancer Society (ACS) confirms that mammography saves lives, the organization issued new breast cancer screening guidelines on Oct. 20 that recommend women at average risk for breast cancer start getting annual mammograms at age 45. The previous recommendation was to start at age 40, and I will continue to recommend that women get yearly screening mammograms starting at age 40.

Evidence shows that the most lives are saved when screening starts at age 40. Although breast cancer is a little less common in women aged 40 to 44, this group receives the same life-saving benefit from screening mammography that older women do. As a radiologist specializing in breast cancer detection and diagnosis, I see this first-hand. My colleagues in the American College of Radiology agree and are also continuing to recommend that yearly screenings begin at age 40.

The new ACS guidelines note that the “harms” associated with screening may outweigh the benefits in women age 40-44. It is vital that women compare the magnitude and implication of the harms versus benefits associated with screening mammography. The harms they identify are about getting false positive readings from mammograms that can result in women being called back in for more imaging or an ultrasound. About 10% of women are recalled for these additional tests and the vast majority are cleared at that point. About 1 – 2% of patients who are recalled receive a needle biopsy using local anesthetic.

The benefits include saving lives and finding cancers smaller and earlier so that less aggressive treatment is required. I believe most women will agree that the drawbacks pale in comparison to the benefits of screening, and will choose to proceed with yearly screening. In fact, the ACS declares that yearly screening is beneficial and something that the majority of women would want, as long as they are healthy and have a 10 year or longer life expectancy. It is vital that we preserve a woman’s access to this life-saving technology so that she may choose to screen.


About Dr. Newell

Newell_MaryMary S. Newell, MD, began practicing with Emory Healthcare in 2001 where she is a board certified radiologist specializing in breast cancer imaging and diagnosis. Dr. Newell has interests in emerging imaging technologies, teaching, and healthcare policy.

Dr. Newell chairs the American Board of Radiology Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Breast Committee and the American College of Radiology Joint Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards and Appropriateness Committee on Criteria. She is Head of Curriculum Assessment for the Society of Breast Imaging and Special Consulting Editor for CME for the American Journal of Roentgenology. She also serves as the treasurer for the Georgia Radiologicial Society, is a councilor to the American college of radiology representing the state of Georgia, and serves on numerous committees institutionally and nationally.

Dr. Newell earned her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School. She then completed her residency in diagnostic radiology and fellowship in body imaging at the St. Francis Hospital in Illinois. Dr. Newell’s research focuses on discovery and evaluation of new imaging modalities for future use in breast cancer screening and detection.

Exercise, Diet and Breast Cancer

trio-exercisingDiet and exercise can help women who have completed treatment for breast cancer to live longer and feel better. They may even help lower the chance of the cancer coming back (recurrence). The Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS) was a randomized study of a low fat diet in women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer. At five years, the women on the low fat diet lost weight about six pounds on average (the control group didn’t lose weight) and had a lower risk of the cancer coming back or getting a new breast cancer than the control group. After longer follow up, the risk of recurrence evened out between the two groups, but the women in the low fat diet group had better survival. Observational studies have also found that women who exercised more had lower risks of the cancer coming back. These kinds of studies have also found that women who gain weight after diagnosis have a higher risk of the cancer coming back. Diet and exercise are key to preventing weight gain.

Women who are obese have an increased risk of post-menopausal breast cancer compared with women who maintain a healthy weight, which means that those who maintain a healthy weight have a lower risk (of getting breast cancer after menopause) than those who do not. Studies have shown that moderate to vigorous exercise is linked to a lower risk of breast cancer. This may be in part due to effects on body composition, as well as hormone levels. Exercise can improve fatigue and other symptoms in women with breast cancer in active treatment, as well as maintain their physical function and prevent changes in body composition (like weight gain) that can result from treatment. Women in treatment may have to cut back on their exercise routine for a time (exercise at a lower intensity or for shorter periods) due to side effects of treatment, but it is helpful for them to try to stay active.

So how much exercise is enough? The American Cancer Society recommends that healthy adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week. Moderate activities may include walking, dancing, leisurely bicycling, and yoga, while vigorous activities may include jogging or running, fast bicycling, circuit weight training, swimming, jumping rope, aerobic dance, and martial arts.

About Dr. Kramer:

jkramerJoan Kramer, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Kramer graduated cum laude receiving her Medical Degree from Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, Missouri. She completed her postdoctoral training with a residency in internal medicine at Saint Louis University Hospital and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Kramer served as Medical Editor for the American Cancer Society until May 2015. She is published in a number of peer-reviewed journals.


Take-Aways from Breast Cancer Chat with Heather Pinkerton, BSN
Advancements in Imaging for Early Breast Cancer Detection
Latest in Breast Cancer Research
Breast cancer care at Winship
Social services at Winship
Support groups at Winship

Latest in Breast Cancer Research

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 10%-20% of diagnosed breast cancers are determined to be triple negative breast cancer. It tends to primarily affect younger, premenopausal women and is more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. Studies show that African-American and Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer than white women. Triple negative breast cancers don’t have the three types of receptors that most commonly fuel breast cancer growth — estrogen, progesterone and the HER2 gene — so they don’t respond to hormonal therapies and treatments that target those receptors. Chemotherapy is typically used for treatment, but there is an urgent need to find more precise therapies.

LaTonia Taliaferro-Smith, PhD, is one of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s scientists who have taken up the challenge to develop more targeted therapies. In her lab research, Taliaferro-Smith searches for alternative targets in the triple negative breast cancer cell. She works closely with Winship physician-researchers toward the goal of developing drugs that will benefit patients with this disease.

“I’m very hopeful about the research we’re doing here and what Winship is offering to triple negative breast cancer patients,” says Taliaferro-Smith. “Oftentimes when patients hear a triple negative diagnosis, they think there are no options and ultimately their endpoint is death. But we’re very encouraged here at Winship because we do have active research that is trying to find alternative therapies for these particular patients, so we can let them know that you will have treatment options available hopefully in the near future.”

Check out the video below as Dr. Taliaferro- Smith discusses the continuous work research teams at Winship are doing to develop more precise treatment therapies for triple negative breast cancer:

Related Resources

Learn more about breast cancer care at Winship at Emory. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and our breast care teams want you to know that early detection is key to survival. Have questions about the role of screening in early breast cancer detection? Join us for a live web chat with a breast imaging expert on October 21, 204.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Events in Atlanta

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthThe American Cancer Society estimates that a total of 229,060 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in both men and women in 2012. In honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Emory Healthcare and the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have partnered with organizations across Atlanta to host events and help raise awareness around breast cancer throughout the month. A detailed listing of events is below:

Be the Boss of You Breast Cancer Trail Ride 
Description: Breast Cancer Research Fundraiser
Date: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Details: Registration opens at 8 AM; Ride begins at 10 AM

Winship Win the Fight 5K
Description: 5K Walk/Run and Tot Trot
Date: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Details: Warm-up- 8:10 AM, Race begins- 8:30 AM, Tot Trot- 9:30 AM
Registration: General online registration Make sure to join the Emory Breast Center’s team, “The Hooter Helpers.”

Breast Cancer Web Chat
Description: Join Heather Pinkerton, RN, BSN, OCN and Nurse Navigator for the Emory Breast Centers, as she hosts a live web chat on Breast Cancer.
Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Details: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Registration: To register, please visit

Winship at the Y
Description: Join members of the Winship Cancer Institute Breast Team along with representatives from the American Cancer  Society and Metro Atlanta YMCA to discuss the latest in screening, diagnosis, treatment and  prevention of Breast Cancer.
Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Details: 9-11 a.m., Summit Family YMCA, Newnan, GA;  1 – 3 p.m., Carl Saunders Family YMCA, Atlanta, GA; 5-7 p.m., Ed Isakson Family YMCA, Alpharetta, GA.
Registration: Not required

National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day
Description: Research shows that 7 out of 10 women are not aware of their breast reconstruction options following mastectomy. Do you know your options? Ask your health care provider about reconstruction today!
Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Details: 9-11 a.m., Summit Family YMCA, Newnan, GA;  1 – 3 p.m., Carl Saunders Family YMCA, Atlanta, GA; 5-7 p.m., Ed Isakson Family YMCA, Alpharetta, GA.
Registration: Not required

National Mammography Day
Description: The third Friday in October each year is National Mam-mography Day, first proclaimed by President Clinton in 1993. On this day, and throughout the month, women are encouraged to make a mammography appointment. In celebration light refreshment tables will be set up at both the Clifton and Midtown Breast Imaging Center Lobbies.
Date: Friday, October 19.2012
Registration: To schedule an appointment, call (404) 778-PINK (7465).

Ready, Set, Pink!
Description: Join Bloomingdales and representatives from Winship Cancer Institute for a fall fashion presentation and complimentary skincare consultations by Lancôme. 10% of all purchases go to Winship and the fight against breast cancer.
Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Details: 11:00 a.m. at Bloomingdales at Lenox Square, Level 2, The New View
Registration: RSVP by October 18 by calling 404-778-1769 or emailing

Clinical Breast Exams (for Emory Employees only)
Description:  Free Clinical Breast Exams for Emory Employees.
Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Location: 2nd Floor East Clinic
Start Time: 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Registration: To register for the event, call (404) 778-PINK (7465)

Extended & Weekend Hours
Description:  The Emory Breast Center is offering extended and weekend hours for women needing a screening mammogram.
Dates & Details: – Extended Hours: Tuesday, October 23 – Thursday, October 25; 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM at the Emory Breast Center on Clifton Campus.
Saturday Hours: October 27; 8:00 AM- 3:00 PM at Emory University Hospital Midtown
Registration: To schedule an appointment, call (404) 778-PINK (7465). Standard rates apply.

Get All Your Breast Cancer Questions Answered Live & Online!

Breast Cancer Online ChatThe American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012, a total of 229,060 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in both men and women. In honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to help our community get their questions answered, we are hosting an online chat on the topic of breast cancer.

Join Heather Pinkerton, RN, BSN, OCN and Nurse Navigator for the Emory Breast Center, on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 to get all of your questions on breast cancer—ranging from diagnosis, to treatment, to survivorship—answered.

Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Time: 12 noon – 1:00 pm EST
Chat Leader: Heather Pinkerton, RN, BSN, OCN and Nurse Navigator for the Emory Breast Center
Chat Topic: Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Related Resources:

Dr. Styblo Follows Up with Answers to Breast Cancer Questions

We held a chat on the topic of breast cancer with Dr. Toncred Styblo in October. From that chat, we got lots of great questions and feedback and even a couple questions we couldn’t get to in the chat’s allotted time. Dr. Styblo has taken the time to answer those questions for this follow up blog post, mostly covering questions related to ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a type of breast cancer typically found in the lining of the milk ducts that has not yet invaded nearby tissues.

Below are the questions Dr. Styblo has covered in this post:

  • How long does one continue to follow up with oncologist and surgeon after DCIS diagnosis and resultant mastectomy?
  • What is the risk of recurrence in other breast after DCIS and mastectomy?
  • Does that include blood work for Ca27-29, and how often?
  • I’m interested in risk of recurrence after DCIS diagnosis. If you continue to follow your patients for life (which Dr. Styblo mentioned in the chat that she does), that suggests a moderate risk for recurrence.]
  • What would you suggest in the case of multifocal DCIS?

Answers from Dr. Styblo:

Toncred Marya Styblo, M.D.DCIS, intraductal cancer and in situ ductal cancer are names for stage “0” breast cancer. Stage 0 breast cancer is cured by removing it completely with surgery, but does not have any affect on the risk of developing a second breast cancer in that breast or the other breast.

The surgery to remove the cancer may be a lumpectomy or it might be a mastectomy.  This risk of a patient developing another breast cancer post-surgery is dependent on many factors and the risk is best assessed by your doctor.  The subsequent follow up and recommendations about screening and risk reduction will be dependent on additional factors including the pathologic features of the DCIS and the patient’s risk of developing a second breast cancer.

Because DCIS is stage 0 breast cancer, follow up is primarily to screen for another breast cancer rather than recurrence.  The screening includes breast imaging and clinical exam, there are no blood tests indicated.

Dr. Styblo also received a question on the topic of support in the chat: What role, in your opinion does emotional support play in achieving the best possible outcome after breast cancer? Where or how do you recommend patients find advocates? The Winship Cancer Institute has several programs for survivors and support, including the Peer Partner Program which “matches cancer survivors and caregivers with cancer patients and caregivers dealing with a similar diagnosis of cancer, pre-cancerous condition, or benign tumor.”

Breast Health & Breast Cancer Related Resources:



A Year of Momentum in Raising Breast Cancer Awareness… & We’re Not Done Yet!

Breast Cancer Awareness Year RoundIn November of last year, right after Breast Cancer Awareness Month wrapped up in October, we pledged to keep pushing for breast cancer awareness year-round. It’s been almost a year since that date, and we’ve made some great strides in raising community awareness and action around breast cancer.

September 2010 – Emory Healthcare launched an overhauled breast health microsite to provide educational resources on breast health and breast cancer to web users. Website release is followed by launch of Emory Healthcare and Winship at Emory cancer blog.

November 2010Pledged to keep breast cancer awareness going throughout the year. Started by asking for feedback from the community. Those who provided feedback, tips & stories were entered to win tickets to the GA Tech v. UConn women’s basketball game.

Feburary 2011 – The Emory Breast Center and Winship Cancer Institute partnered with Georgia Tech women’s basketball again, this time for their “PINK” game. Breast cancer survivors joined together to form the tunnel the Lady Yellow Jackets ran through to enter the game.

March 2011 – The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University received a high impact donation from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation in the amount of $5 million. The donation contributes to supporting breast cancer patient care, research, education and community outreach.

October 2011 – The Winship Cancer Institute and Emory Breast Center kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month by hosting a live online web chat with breast surgeon and surgical oncologist, Dr. Toncred Styblo. The well-attended chat provided a free opportunity for the community to ask questions about breast cancer risk, prevention, screening and more.

October 2011Emory Healthcare and the Winship Cancer Institute partner with 11 Alive News for an hour-long community education special on beating breast and prostate cancer that is aired across the Atlanta area and various cities across the nation.

And we’re not done yet! The Emory Breast Center has a number of events lined up in the month of October to keep momentum going.

All of our team members from Emory Healthcare, the Winship Cancer Institute and the Emory Breast Center would like to thank our community for helping us make this an awesome year for breast cancer prevention awareness. We have lots more to do to keep the momentum going!

In the comments below, we’d love it if you’d share with us an example of something you’ve done over the last year to help promote breast cancer awareness.

Breast Cancer Questions? Dr. Styblo Has Your Answers

Breast Cancer Doctor Chat

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women. In fact, 13% of all women will develop breast cancer in their lives. Many women are concerned about their risk for breast cancer, and are unsure what their next steps should be. Our doctors frequently get questions such as, Is getting yearly check-ups sufficient? At what age should I start scheduling regular mammograms? What symptoms should I look out for?

Are you concerned about breast cancer? If you have unanswered questions related to breast cancer, look no further. To kick off October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, surgical oncologist and breast surgeon at the Winship Cancer Institute, Dr. Toncred Styblo will be hosting a live 1-hour web chat to answer all of your breast cancer questions.

Wonder if you’re at high risk for developing breast cancer and what you should do? Dr. Styblo will provide guidance on how to determine if you are high risk and steps you can take if you are. And as an expert in surgical oncology, Dr. Styblo will also be able to answer questions related to breast cancer treatment and surgical options.

Don’t forget, early detection is key to providing the best chance for cure. So take action and control of your health by scheduling your mammogram today and remind a friend to do the same! And, make sure to sign up for Dr. Styblo’s breast cancer chat and bring your questions with you. We’ll see you on October 4th for what’s sure to be a great discussion!

High-Impact Donation Helps the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory UniversityIf you’ve been following our cancer blog, you’ve probably seen some of our efforts to keep breast cancer awareness going not just in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but year round. The Winship Cancer Insitute of Emory University just received a truly generous gift that will make that fight, and the fight against breast cancer on the whole, a whole lot easier.

The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation has generously committed $5 million to the Winship Cancer Institute. The commitment will name the Glenn Family Breast Program at Winship, establishing a fund to support patient care, research, education and community outreach.

More than 200,000 women in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. The gift bestowed upon Winship from the Glenn Foundation will allow the cancer treatment team at the Winship Cancer Institute to further advance results in the research and treatment of breast cancer.

Some of the initiatives in place to achieve this expansion of breast cancer research and treatment include:

  • A Strengthened Effort in Breast Cancer Biobanking: expand and strengthen breast cancer tumor banking efforts at the Winship Cancer Institute and leverage collaborations with the Avon Comprehensive Breast Center at Grady and Emory University Midtown Hospital.  This will make Winship’s breast cancer tissue bank among the most robust in the nation and will ensure full integration of patient outcomes.
  • High Risk Breast Cancer Care:  Building on its strength in assessing women at high risk for breast cancer or disease recurrence and its history of collaboration with other cancer centers, Winship will expand its multi-disciplinary approach to screen and care for more women.
  • Seed Grants:  Building on the success of the established Glenn Scholars program, these seed grants will support young investigators in their research in four critical areas: new therapeutics, early detection, health disparities and imaging.
  • Clinical Trials:  The Glenn Foundation grant will contribute to new clinical trials, including novel treatment trials such as those targeting women with high-risk breast cancer, such as triple negative disease and those women who currently lack access to quality breast health care and treatment.
  • Survivorship:  The gift will strengthen Winship’s survivorship program to include an online database to match patients and caregivers with trained peer partners who offer support and guidance throughout treatment.
  • Community Access:  Winship will build a stronger coordinated community outreach program to enhance access to cancer screening and early detection services throughout and beyond metro Atlanta.

We thank the Glenn Foundation for the very generous gift and look forward to seeing lots of great developments in the research and treatment of breast cancer from the Winship Cancer Institute.

Full Court Press Against Breast Cancer

PINK gameEvery year, Georgia Tech’s women’s basketball team hosts a PINK game to raise awareness for breast cancer. This year, Tech is teaming up with the Emory Breast Center and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University to honor breast cancer survivors at the game.

This year’s PINK game is a home game match-up between Georgia Tech (25) and NC State. Tip-off will take place at 5pm on Sunday, February 13, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2. To keep breast cancer awareness top of mind, Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck women basketball players will wear pink jerseys for the game and will enter the arena by running through a typical tunnel, made up of not-so-typical participants*. Breast cancer survivors from around Georgia will form the tunnel to welcome the team to their home stadium.

So why should you care? One in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That’s why we ask that you join Emory and Georgia Tech as we wage a “full court press” against the disease and raise awareness about the importance of screening mammography and understanding breast cancer risk.

*We are still recruiting breast cancer survivors to form the team’s tunnel! As an honoree, survivors will receive a free ticket to the game and a pink Emory Breast Center t-shirt to wear on game day. It is not a requirement that participating survivors have been treated at Winship at Emory.

Please join us for this special event. You can register by calling 404-778-7777 or visit for more information.