Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer’

9/26/17 – Breast Cancer Live Chat Transcript

2017 Breast Cancer Live Chat Image

Thank you to those of you who joined the Breast Cancer live chat hosted by Dr. Lea Gilliland and Dr. Preeti Subhedar with Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s Glenn Family Breast Center. The chat had a good turnout and the transcript is now available below.

Breast Cancer Live Chat Transcript

Overview: Dr. Lea Gilliland and Dr. Preeti Subhedar answer your questions about breast cancer risk factors, screenings, symptoms, and therapy.

[Sep 26, 11:59 AM] EmoryHealthcare: Welcome everyone! Thanks for joining us today for our web chat about Breast Cancer: Risk Factors, Screenings, Symptoms & Therapy with Dr. Lea Gilliland and Dr. Preeti Subhedar with Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s Glenn Family Breast Center.

[Sep 26, 12:00 PM] EmoryHealthcare: We’ll get started in just a minute. Dr. Lea Gilliland and Dr. Preeti Subhedar are here to answer all your questions!

[Sep 26, 12:01 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Please note that all questions are moderated before appearing in the stream, so you may not see yours appear right away, but we will do our best to answer all your questions today.

[Sep 26, 12:03 PM] EmoryHealthcare: We received some questions that were submitted in advance of the chat, so we’ll get started by answering a few of those first.

[Sep 26, 12:04 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Q. What are your screening recommendations for women over 55?

[Sep 26, 12:04 PM] EmoryHealthcare: A. American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging recommend screening every year beginning at 40. This saves the most lives. A recent study by Cornell notes that 19% of all breast cancers occur in women age 40-49.

[Sep 26, 12:05 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Q. Does reproductive history affect breast cancer risks?

[Sep 26, 12:06 PM] EmoryHealthcare: A. According to the American Cancer Society, women who have not had children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk overall. Having many pregnancies and becoming pregnant at an early age reduces breast cancer risk. Still, the effect of pregnancy seems to be different for different types of breast cancer. For a certain type of breast cancer known as triple-negative, pregnancy seems to increase risk.

[Sep 26, 12:07 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Q. How often should I go to my doctor for a check-up?

[Sep 26, 12:07 PM] EmoryHealthcare: A. Once a year if you do not have a recent history of breast cancer. Screening mammography is recommended once a year.

[Sep 26, 12:08 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Q. What risk factors exist for breast cancer… I’ve heard alcohol, aluminum in deodorant, alkalizing versus natural pH in drinking water…

[Sep 26, 12:10 PM] EmoryHealthcare: A. According to the American Cancer Society(ACS), drinking alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Compared with non-drinkers, women who have 1 alcoholic drink a day have a very small increase in risk. Those who have 2 to 3 drinks a day have about a 20% higher risk compared to women who don’t drink alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is known to increase the risk of other cancers, too.

[Sep 26, 12:11 PM] EmoryHealthcare: A. (continued) The ACS recommends that women who drink have no more than 1 drink a day.

Additional risk factors noted by the ACS include being overweight after menopause (fat creates estrogen), not being physically active, not having children or delaying having children, not breast feeding, use of birth control (during use), and use of combined estrogen and progesterone therapy after menopause.

[Sep 26, 12:15 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Let’s move on to your live questions now!

[Sep 26, 12:15 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Please sign in using one of the options at the bottom of the chat and submit your questions for [enter doctor name] in the comment box.

[Sep 26, 12:15 PM] Guest1876: What type of doctor should I see if I think I have breast cancer?

[Sep 26, 12:20 PM] EmoryHealthcare: If the concern is a new mass, you should have a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound.  If you have a current diagnosis of breast cancer, you should visit your breast cancer surgeon for a consult.

[Sep 26, 12:20 PM] Simone: What is the hormone receptor status of my cancer? What does this mean?

[Sep 26, 12:23 PM] EmoryHealthcare: All breast cancers have a hormone that makes it grow. We look at 3 receptors for hormones to decide on what kind of treatment you need. We look at the estrogen, progesterone and Her2 receptors to direct therapy.

[Sep 26, 12:23 PM] Guest6133: How do I get a copy of my pathology report?

[Sep 26, 12:23 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Your surgeon should be able to help guide you.

[Sep 26, 12:24 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Or you could contact the hospital’s medical records department.

[Sep 26, 12:25 PM] JJL94: What about genetic testing? What would the pros and cons of testing be?

[Sep 26, 12:27 PM] EmoryHealthcare: There are certain situations in which genetic testing is important. Not all people need to have genetic testing. If you are a woman under the age of 45 with a diagnosis of cancer, are 50 years old with breast cancer and have a relative with a history of cancer, or multiple family members with cancer, you may want to consider testing. These are just some of the indications.

[Sep 26, 12:29 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Pros: allows you to understand your specific genetic risk

Cons: the result can sometimes be distressing. Talk to your family about what the results may mean to you

[Sep 26, 12:29 PM] Guest8532: Does smoking cause breast cancer?

[Sep 26, 12:31 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Smoking is a risk factor for all types of cancer, including breast. It is also a risk factor for non-cancer related diagnoses such as heart disease. Talk to your primary care physician if you are interested in smoking cessation.

[Sep 26, 12:33 PM] Guest4423: I had wire localization a few years ago. Are they using seeds now, to guide the surgeon?

[Sep 26, 12:36 PM] Guest6133: What kind of impact does stress have on breast cancer?

[Sep 26, 12:37 PM] EmoryHealthcare: There are no known direct links between stress and breast cancer, but we may just not know enough about the link yet. Stress can have an adverse effect on things like blood pressure, heart rate and can therefore be deleterious. Talk to your primary care physician for ways to reduce stress.

[Sep 26, 12:38 PM] Simone: Are mammograms painful?

[Sep 26, 12:38 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Mammograms can be uncomfortable but they should not be painful. It can be difficult to image all of the breast tissue that needs to be included. Please let your technologist know if you are experiencing pain or have experienced pain in the past.

[Sep 26, 12:41 PM] Guest1876: Is there a link between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and breast cancer?

[Sep 26, 12:41 PM] EmoryHealthcare: There are 2 main types of hormone therapy. For women who still have a uterus (womb), doctors generally prescribe estrogen and progesterone (known as combined hormone therapy or HT). Progesterone is needed because estrogen alone can increase the risk of cancer of the uterus. For women who’ve had a hysterectomy (who no longer have a uterus), estrogen alone can be used. This is known as estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) or just estrogen therapy (ET).

[Sep 26, 12:42 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Combined hormone therapy (HT): Use of combined hormone therapy after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer. It may also increase the chances of dying from breast cancer. This increase in risk can be seen with as little as 2 years of use. Combined HT also increases the likelihood that the cancer may be found at a more advanced stage. The increased risk from combined HT appears to apply only to current and recent users. A woman’s breast cancer risk seems to return to that of the general population with

[Sep 26, 12:43 PM] EmoryHealthcare: population within 5 years of stopping treatment.

[Sep 26, 12:44 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Bioidentical hormone therapy: The word bioidentical is sometimes used to describe versions of estrogen and progesterone with the same chemical structure as those found naturally in people. The use of these hormones has been marketed as a safe way to treat the symptoms of menopause. But because there aren’t many studies comparing “bioidentical” or “natural” hormones to synthetic versions of hormones, there’s no proof that they’re safer or more effective. More studies are needed to know for sure.

[Sep 26, 12:45 PM] Guest8532: What are the side effects of Tamoxifen?

[Sep 26, 12:45 PM] EmoryHealthcare: The common side effects of tamoxifen include menopausal symptoms such as night sweats, insomnia, weight gain. Other side effects include muscle or joint pain. The most serious risk of blood clots and risk of uterine cancer is only 1/1000 patients. Although these risks sound serious, remember that when tamoxifen is prescribed to you, it reduces your risk of another breast cancer by 50%.

[Sep 26, 12:46 PM] Guest6015: Where can i learn about clinical trials for breast cancer?

[Sep 26, 12:47 PM] EmoryHealthcare: You can always ask your breast cancer physician (medical, surgical, or radiation oncologist). Also, Winship Cancer center has a website that can specifically allow you to see if a clinical trial is appropriate for you.

[Sep 26, 12:48 PM] Guest6133: My grandmother said wearing my cellphone in my sports bra could cause cancer? Have you seen any research to support this?

[Sep 26, 12:48 PM] EmoryHealthcare: There has not been any reliable research to support this.

[Sep 26, 12:49 PM] EmoryHealthcare: These questions have been great! We have time for just one more question today.

[Sep 26, 12:51 PM] Guest8532: Can benign cysts become cancerous?

[Sep 26, 12:53 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Benign cysts are areas of fluid within your breast. These cysts are at no more risk of becoming cancer than any other area in your breast.

[Sep 26, 12:54 PM] EmoryHealthcare: That’s all the time we have for today. Thanks so much for joining us! As we mentioned, we’ll follow up with a blog post to answer any questions we didn’t get a chance to address today.

[Sep 26, 12:55 PM] EmoryHealthcare: Thanks for your questions!

[Sep 26, 12:58 PM] Guest3978: Thank you.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment, please call 404-778-7777.


Emory Glenn Family Breast Center at Winship Cancer Institute is dedicated to breast cancer prevention, detection and comprehensive treatment of breast health issues and breast cancer including aggressive forms of triple negative breast cancer.

Our breast cancer doctors and researchers are thought leaders in the field of breast cancer and are uniquely positioned to have access to the latest information on cancer care. The breast cancer program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University offers multidisciplinary teams including oncology surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, and advanced practice nurses with expertise in only breast cancer. There are a variety of treatment options for breast cancer; for some patients, a combination of treatment methods may be used.

 

Breast Cancer: Risk Factors, Screenings, Symptoms & Therapy Live Chat

bc-cil-638What questions do you have about breast cancer?

Emory Glenn Family Breast Center at Winship Cancer Institute is dedicated to breast cancer prevention, detection and comprehensive treatment of breast health issues and breast cancer including aggressive forms of triple negative breast cancer.

Our breast cancer doctors and researchers are thought leaders in the field of breast cancer, and are uniquely positioned to have access to the latest information on cancer care.  The breast cancer program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University offers multidisciplinary teams including oncology surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, and advanced practice nurses with expertise in only breast cancer.  There are a variety of treatment options for breast cancer; for some patients, a combination of treatment methods may be used.

Join physicians with Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s breast cancer team, on Tuesday, October 11th at 12pm EST for a live chat where they will answer your questions about breast cancer risk factors, screenings, symptoms and therapy. All are welcome to attend an online open-forum discussion about breast cancer. Sign up for this live chat here.

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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.

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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.

Life After Breast Cancer

supportive-friendsBreast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women according to the American Cancer Society. This year alone, more than 234,000 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. Most women with breast cancer do quite well and have long lives after completing treatment. One of the hardest things for survivors is living with the worry that the cancer may come back. We recommend scheduling regular follow-up appointments with an oncologist and following the screening and/or prevention guidelines that your provider recommends. I also tell my patients to try, as best as they can, not to worry.

It is easy to see how breast surgery, radiation, and some of the side effects from systemic therapy (which, depending on treatment, can include hair loss, nausea, fatigue, weight gain, hot flashes, joint aches, or other unpleasant symptoms) can wreak havoc on a woman’s self esteem. In addition, many women are used to serving as a support system for their spouse, children, parents, or other loved ones; and to being responsible for important matters at work and at home. Learning to accept help and support rather than giving it can be very challenging. I always recommend honest conversations with family and loved ones, and involving a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist if patients are interested and willing to pursue this. Sometimes it can be helpful to talk with someone outside of one’s immediate network of family and friends to try to sort through some of the feelings surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Support groups can also be helpful; hearing from others who are going through the same thing (perhaps at similar points in life and/or stages of the disease), can help normalize the experience.

Physical changes to the breast – scars from lumpectomy or mastectomy, getting used to the look and feel of reconstructed breasts (if this approach is chosen), and radiation-related changes – can make women less comfortable with their bodies and therefore less comfortable being intimate. These changes can also make them worry about whether a partner will still find them attractive. In addition, some of the systemic treatments used in breast cancer, such as chemotherapy or anti-estrogen therapy, can change hormone levels and decrease interest in intimacy. I always recommend sharing these concerns with your doctor or health care team. Talking with a social worker, psychologist, or even sex therapist can be helpful in dealing with some of the complicated feelings surrounding the look and feel of the breasts after treatment for breast cancer. There are also a number of options for managing symptoms like vaginal dryness, which can be a result of chemotherapy or anti-estrogen therapy and can make intimacy uncomfortable. Finally, open communication with significant others is critical, as they too may be struggling to find the best way to show affection in this new situation. I have actually seen many situations where the diagnosis of breast cancer actually brings couples closer together, as they navigate the path from diagnosis to treatment and finally to recovery together.

About Dr. Meisel

jane lowe meiselJane Lowe Meisel, MD, joined the Glenn Family Breast Center at Winship Cancer Institute as a practicing physician in January 2015. Prior to her arrival, she was Chief Fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Meisel is a medical oncologist with a special interest in women’s health and in cancers that affect women, including breast, cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancers. Her goal is to provide exceptional, state-of-the-art individualized care to patients fighting these diseases and to conduct research that improves treatment options for these patients.

 

RELATED RESOURCES:
Exercise, Diet and Breast Cancer
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

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.

 

RELATED RESOURCES
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

Takeaways from Dr. Cohen’s “Advancements in Breast Imaging” Live Chat

Thank you to everyone who joined us for last week’s live web chat on “Advancements in Imaging for Early Breast Cancer Detection.” Dr. Michael Cohen, director, Division of Breast Imaging for Emory’s Department of Radiology, discussed the latest in breast imaging screening and technology.

Questions varied from ,“What are the current breast screening guidelines?” to “What is tomosynthesis and when is it the right choice for screening?” Below are just a few of the questions and answers from the chat. Make sure to view the chat transcript for the whole discussion.

Question: What are the current breast cancer screening guidelines?

Michael Cohen, MDAnswer:
Women aged 40 and younger should have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years. All women aged 40 and over should get a yearly screening mammogram, clinical breast exam and perform a monthly breast self-examination.

 

Question:
When is breast tomosynthesis the right choice for screening? And how does tomosynthesis compare to an MRI in diagnosing cancer?

Michael Cohen, MDAnswer:
Digital Tomosynthesis (3D mammography) is an improvement on traditional 2D mammography. Rather than the traditional single view of a breast in 2D mammography, 3D mammography obtains a series of very thin 1 mm sections of the breast. This allows us to look at the breast as if we were viewing pages of a book and gives a much more accurate look inside. If tomosynthesis is available at your breast imaging facility, it is an excellent way to screen.

Studies have shown that 3D mammography permits detections of more cancers, while at the same time reducing the number of unnecessary call-backs to evaluate lesions that are not cancer. This is a win-win for the patient. MRI screening is reserved for a limited number of patients at high risk.

Question:
What about the radiation exposure for these types of test [tomosynthesis]; is it different from traditional mammograms?

Michael Cohen, MDAnswer:
With current technology, a patient receives both a 2D and a 3D mammogram at the same time. The addition of 3D about doubles the radiation exposure compared to 2D alone, but is still within FDA guidelines for mammography.

Also, some very exciting technology is on the horizon that will permit us to create a 2D mammogram from a 3D mammogram using sophisticated computers. When that becomes available, we will only need to do a 3D mammogram, thereby reducing the radiation exposure to the original level.

If you missed this informative chat with Dr. Cohen, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers on the web transcript.

If you have any questions for Dr. Cohen, don’t hesitate to leave a comment in our comments area below!

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.

Advancements in Imaging for Early Breast Cancer Detection

Advancements in Breast Imaging ChatBreast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the breast care specialists across Emory Healthcare want you to know the importance of screening and early detection.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women (without breast cancer symptoms), age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year as long as they are in good health. Getting yearly screening mammograms increases the chance of detecting cancers in the early stages, before they start to cause symptoms. By detecting cancer early, screening exams also help increase the chance of survival and lower the risk of mortality.

At Emory Healthcare, we are proud to offer patients with leading breast screening techniques, including the latest in breast imaging technology, called tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography.

Learn more about breast screening guidelines and advancements in breast imaging by joining us on Tuesday, October 21 at 12:00 pm EST for a live web chat on “Advancements in Imaging for Early Breast Cancer Detection.” Dr. Michael Cohen, Director, Division of Breast Imaging for Emory’s Department of Radiology, will be available to answer questions such as: what is the latest in breast imaging technology? When should I start getting screened? To register for the chat, click here.

Also, during October, the Emory Breast Imaging Centers are offering extended and weekend hours for women needing a screening mammogram. Dates and details are below:

Extended Hours: Thursday, October 9, Tuesday, October 21, Thrusday October 23; 7:30 a.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Emory Breast Imaging Center on Clifton Road.

Saturday Hours: October 18, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Emory University Hospital Midtown.

Registration: To schedule an appointment, call 404-778-PINK (7465). Standard rates apply.

Chat Details:

Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Time: 12:00- 1:00 pm EST
Chat Leader: Dr. Michael Cohen
Chat Topic: Advancements in Imaging for Early Breast Cancer Detection

Chat Sign Up

Survivor Story: Debbie Church’s Battle with Breast Cancer

Debbie Church

Debbie Church is Coordinator of the Cancer Survivors’ Network and Patient Navigator at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and a 5-year breast cancer survivor. Debbie has shared her story through the journey of survivorship below. We’re lucky to have Debbie and Saint Joseph’s Hospital as part of the Emory Healthcare family and we thank her for sharing her story. We hope our readers and community members are as inspired by her story as we are!

“Dick and I fell in love over 32 years ago and have never quite gotten over it! We have had some interesting moments, but we have made it through each challenge. Love always finds a way. Unexpectedly, our lives changed in an instant when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2008. We knew life would never be the same. Life is like that box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.”

Read more of Debbie’s story on the Saint Joseph’s Hospital blog >>

About Debbie Church, BA
Debbie Church, BA in Psychology and History, Salem College, and a M.Div. from Southeastern Seminary Wake Forest and a Certified Cancer Services Navigator has worked in oncology for over 20 years. She is currently employed at St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta as Coordinator of the Cancer Survivors’ Network and Patient Navigator. She has worked also as Director of Support Services and Chaplain at Northwest Georgia Oncology Centers, Atlanta Medical Center and various hospitals in the Southeast. She has spoken at many cancer events including GASCO Conferences here in Atlanta and other hospice and oncology centers in the southeast. She was a contributing author for Thomas Nelson’s Women’s Study Bible as well as publishing a book in 2010 with her husband, Don’t’ Ever Look Down; Surviving Cancer Together.

Chronic Pain Lingers For Some Postoperative Breast Cancer Patients

Chronic Neuropathic Pain Postoperative Breast Cancer

Different surgical procedures come with varying levels of risk for post-surgical pain during the healing process. Regardless of the surgery type, postoperative pain is not uncommon. For women who undergo surgery to treat breast cancer, however, postoperative pain and/or numbness can greatly affect a patient’s quality of life. This pain, which can be encountered after a mastectomy, is characterized by a constant, achy, stinging, burning sensation around the surgical area near the chest or underarms.

 Before having surgery to remove cancerous breast tumors, women typically undergo what’s called a sentinel lymph node biopsy. Sentinel lymph nodes, as described by the National Cancer Institute are, “the first lymph node(s) to which cancer cells are most likely to spread from a primary tumor.” Chronic underarm pain after surgery (as opposed to chest pain) is more common among women who have had their lymph nodes removed rather than a sentinel lymph node biopsy alone.

Often, chronic pain among breast cancer patients is related to nerve damage that occurs via surgical and/or radiation treatment. Although the painful side effects from surgery typically subside in 3 months for most women, some women experience pain for months or even years after treatment.

To ease the recovery process after surgery, physicians often treat patients with postoperative pain with a multi-modal approach including physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, neuropathic pain medications, and sometimes narcotics. Alternative techniques such as massage and acupuncture can also help reduce pain and tenderness for some patients.

Interventional Pain Physicians can also help to reduce this pain via injections, including thoracic epidurals and intercostal nerve blocks. Both of these involve placing local anesthetic and steroid around the nerves, which stabilizes cell membranes and decreases inflammation and swelling. Doing so helps to decrease ectopic neural discharge and thus provide pain relief.

About Josephine Clingan MD, Physician Pain Specialists at Saint Joseph’s Hospital:
After attending MCG Medical School, Dr. Clingan completed  both her residency in Anesthesiology, and her fellowship in Interventional Pain Management at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.
She joined Physician Pain Specialists, at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, in 2011 and loves her patients!

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