DAYTON, Ohio, Oct. 1 According to the U.S. CancerStatistics Working Group (2007), an estimated 182,460 new cases of breastcancer will be diagnosed in American women in 2008. And while screeningprograms are resulting in the earlier detection of the disease when it is moreeasily and successfully treated, breast cancer claimed the lives of more than40,000 American women in 2007. On the minds of many women is one simplequestion, "Am I at risk?"
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Good Samaritan Hospital has launched a new High Risk Breast Cancer Programat Good Samaritan North Health Center (www.GoodSamDayton.org/highrisk) toprovide women with answers.
"Diagnostic advances and genetic research have given us a betterunderstanding of who is at greater risk for breast cancer, and this is helpingus gather the information we need to advise patients on how to better treatand reduce the risk of disease," said Dr. Thomas Heck, co-director of theSamaritan Breast Center at Good Samaritan North Health Center. GoodSamaritan's breast cancer program was the first in the nation to be Gold Seal-certified by the Joint Commission.
Dr. Heck, a breast surgeon, is a member of Good Samaritan's new High RiskBreast Cancer Program team, which also includes Ann Lensch, RN, MS, a breastcare coordinator; Faith Callif-Daley, MS, a certified genetic counselor who isalso on staff at Dayton Children's Medical Center; and Dr. Shamim Jilani, amedical oncologist. The team is supported by radiologists who specialize inthe reading of breast exams, including Dr. Diane Anderson, co-director of theSamaritan Breast Center.
This new program starts with an assessment of risk factors, such as awoman's personal history of cancer, previous radiation treatments, familyhistory of breast or ovarian cancer, and previous abnormal tests. Additionalassessments delve deeper into the patient's medical and family history, andare reviewed by Dr. Heck and Callif-Daley. If further testing is necessary,the option of genetic testing will be presented, and Callif-Daley will meetwith the patient and explain the advantages, disadvantages and limitations ofgenetic test results.
"Testing positive for a genetic mutation that predisposes you to breastcancer does not mean you will get breast cancer, and testing negative does notmean you won't get breast cancer," explains Callif-Daley. "There are manyother factors that determine your overall risk, and we need to carefullyexamine the whole of a woman's health, not just individual pieces."
For women determined to be at higher risk, whether through genetic testingor other methods, surgery or medications may be recommended to reduce theirrisk for cancer. Additionally, a medical surveillance program will bedeveloped to monitor for any occurrence of breast or related cancers. That mayinclude more frequent clinical breast exams, ultrasound exams or MRI (magneticresonance imaging) scans, along with digital mammograms.
Linda Blum's Story of Survival
Linda Blum, 54, of Clayton, OH, is a woman who wanted answers about herbreast cancer risk. In May of 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Blumwas a busy mom of four, wife and caregiver to her husband who was fightingthroat cancer, in addition to serving as a cheerleading coach and school boardpresident for the Northmont City Schools. She says she "had too much to livefor" and wasn't going to take her diagnosis "lying down." Seven months later,after a lumpectomy, intensive chemotherapy and radiation, she was cancer free.
When she was originally diagnosed, no one in her family had any form ofbreast cancer. Within three years, however, five cousins on her father's sidehad been diagnosed with either melanoma or breast cancer. Blum began to worryabout the possibility of a recurrence of her cancer.
After consulting with the High Risk Breast Cancer Program team at GoodSamaritan North Health Center, Blum decided to be tested for a breast cancergene mutation. She tested positive for a BRCA2 mutation, giving her a 50 to 60percent likelihood for another breast cancer, as well as a 15 to 30 percentrisk of developing ovarian cancer. As a preventative measure, Blum recentlychose to have a bi-lateral mastectomy, and plans to have a hysterectomy laterthis year.
These were not easy decisions for Blum to make, and they were made aftercareful deliberation with her family and her care team at Good Samaritan. "Wehave great medical care in this community -- right here in Dayton! These areexperts who can help you find your way through your journey," she said. "I amthe luckiest person in the world, with the team of doctors I have at Good Sam.I trust them 110%."
Armed with the information about her higher risk for breast and ovariancancers, Blum is under medical surveillance by the team at Good Samaritan, andshe will continue to carefully monitor her health and have regular exams toensure she stays cancer-free. "The more information you're armed with, thebetter decisions you can make," she said.
Patients interested in learning more about Good Samaritan's High RiskBreast Cancer Program can call 877-GSH-WELL or visitwww.GoodSamDayton.org/highrisk.
About Good Samaritan Hospital
Good Samaritan Hospital (www.goodsamdayton.org) is a leading provider ofinnovative health-care services in Dayton, Ohio. Over the last 75 years, the577-bed hospital has grown into a full-service teaching facility that deliversbest-in-care cardiovascular, cancer, and orthopedic services, as well asadvanced diagnostics and women's health services. It delivers the latest inoutpatient treatment, rehabilitation and other services through its GoodSamaritan North Health Center. The hospital has been awarded seven gold sealcertifications from the Joint Commission - more than any hospital in Ohio -for its outstanding programs, including for heart failure, heart attack,coronary artery bypass surgery, breast cancer, total hip and knee replacement,and stroke care. Good Samaritan is also a recipient of the HealthGrades 2008Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence, which places it amongthe top five percent of hospitals nationwide. These recognitions reflect thestrength and talent of its staff of 600 physicians and 3,300 employees who arecommitted to excellence and to building a healthier community. Good SamaritanHospital, along with Miami Valley Hospital, Atrium Medical Center and UpperValley Medical Center, is a member of the Premier Health Partners system.
SOURCE Good Samaritan Hospital