The other week I moderated a Breast Cancer Symposium. What a great experience! I walked away with many lessons, and some new facts. When I was recruiting the doctors for the panel I was commonly asked about the topics. Now, people who were in attendance are asking for a list - so here are the main topics we discussed: (If you want a synopsis of the answers, or a complete list of questions please let me know.)
There has been a sharp decline in US breast cancer deaths. It is wonderful to see the rise in survivorship, and decline in mortality. What are some of the biggest contributors to this fact?Who should be screened for breast cancer along with how they should be screened? A topic often bringing up mixed opinions and debate in relation to age, and method.
Recently a study has been released showing a significant decline in women in their 40’s getting annual mammograms. The sharpest decline being women age 50-64, and higher incomes. We need to change this. How can we as a community reverse the results and cause a rise to occur?
We are seeing breast cancer being diagnosed at earlier ages. We need to make sure we are educating young women. How do we, as a community, create programs of young activism and awareness with breast cancer?
ACS issued new guidelines recommending MRI’s in conjunction with mammograms for certain women. Is this a practice we will be seeing more in our area?
In a recent publication, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that computer assisted detection using mammographies to identify breast cancer is less effective than previously thought. The study was met with some confusion. What can screening centers around the country do to help with the questions women have about their results?
Is genetic testing a topic we should be aggressively discussing with women who pose a greater risk? What exactly are the BRAC1 & BRAC2 genes?
Researchers have identified a key protein for the spread of ¼ of all breast cancers – the protein Akt1 could be a potential target for new drugs in stopping the spread of the disease. What does this really mean? Should we be watching this closely?
“The Deceptive Breast Cancer” – Inflammatory Breast Cancer. We need to improve the survival rate on this form of breast cancer. Though it is more rare, in speaking to women what do they need to know about the signs and symptoms?
A point that I find VERY interesting - every person in there (besides the doctors) thought it was the daughter who should be tested for BRCA1 & BRCA2. When, in fact, the mother should first be tested to see if she carries the gene.