Yale: Black Women With Breast Cancer Less Likely To Benefit From Early Chemo

Black women with breast cancer fare worse than other women when treated with early chemotherapy, according to new research from the Yale Cancer Center. Typically, black, Hispanic and Asian women are more likely to undergo neoadjuvant chemotherapy, or chemotherapy prior to surgery, than white women because they are more likely to develop advanced-stage breast cancer. But the new study found that black women are less likely to benefit from the treatment. The finding is significant because it proves further research is needed, and could impact how future research and treatment options are pursued for black women, said Brigid Killelea, the study’s first author and associate professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine. “African American women didn’t respond as well to the chemotherapy when a pathologist looked at the tumors under a microscope after [subsequent] surgery,” she said.

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New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Rekindle Rage, Debate

When the American Cancer Society announced new guidelines for mammograms a week ago, the response on the organization’s Facebook page was swift. “For adoptees, this just adds 5 more years of potential unknowing,” wrote Angela from Connecticut. “Without a medical history, we are denied mammograms through insurance carriers.”

And then Dr. Henry Jacobs, a Hartford area longtime OB-GYN who, among other duties, serves as the Connecticut State Medical Society president, took to Facebook, too, and posted a message that summarized the general rage: “It is clear that rationing care is the new sales pitch and sacrificing women that could live out their lives is considered acceptable. I think it is UNCONSCIONABLE!!!!!!! We can afford athletes, entertainers, CEOs, hedge fund scammers that make upwards of a 100 million $$$$$ a year, but we can’t provide decent medical care to people???

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Yale: Taking More Breast Tissue Reduces Need For Second Surgery

Breast cancer patients who have additional tissue removed during a partial mastectomy are half as likely to need a second surgery, according to a Yale Cancer Center study released today. The study could have a major impact on thousands of patients, sparing them a second operation, according to researchers. “No one likes going back to the operating room, especially not the patients who face the emotional burden of another surgery,” said Dr. Anees Chagpar, the study’s lead author, associate professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine and director of The Breast Center, Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Nearly 300,000 women nationwide are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Most of them have early stages of the disease, and more than half of those undergo partial mastectomies to remove the cancer, Chagpar said.

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Recap: Online Breast Cancer Chat With Dr. Kristen Zarfos

Missed Wednesday’s chat on breast cancer? If you did, you can view the discussion with Dr. Kristen Zarfos by going to courant.com/beyondpink. Zarfos, the director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Program at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, division of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, answered questions on mammography, genetic testing and lifestyle risks, among others. This live chat was a collaboration of the Conn. Health I-Team (www.c-hit.org), which in October held a forum on breast cancer, and the Hartford Courant.

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Join Dr. Kristen Zarfos For Web Chat On Breast Cancer

Do lifestyle choices increase your risk of breast cancer? Should you continue breast cancer screening after age 65? Should you get genetic testing if your mother had breast cancer in her 80s? Dr. Kristen Zarfos, the director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Program at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, division of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, will answer your breast cancer questions during a live web chat on courant.com, Wednesday, from 12:30-1 p.m.

Zarfos, who successfully advocated to end the practice of “drive-through mastectomies’’ in Connecticut, will answer questions on the latest inroads in screening, treating and preventing cancer.   This live chat is a collaboration of the Conn. Health I-Team (www.c-hit.org) , which in October held a forum on breast cancer, and the Hartford Courant.

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Connecticut Breast Health Centers And Resources

Connecticut has a wide array of breast health resources and accredited breast centers. These organizations and institutions work to remove care barriers and collaborate on solutions and funding during the cancer diagnosis and treatment process.  The following is a partial list of resources available to residents.

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Juana Pecunia, (at left) speaks through her interpreter, Glenda Wagner, as her doctor listens.

Interpreters: Need Grows But No Funding In CT

Quality health care relies on patients and doctors communicating well, but in Connecticut medical interpretation is not covered by public or private insurance. In 2007 the state extended coverage for face-to-face professional interpreters for all Medicaid patients and estimated its cost at $4.7 million yearly, half of which would be reimbursed by the federal government. But the program has never been funded in the state budget, so none of the services promised under the law have ever been delivered.

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