STEUBENVILLE — While early detection and advances in medical treatments have lowered the incidence of death due to breast cancer, there’s room for improvement.
And annual screening mammograms for women 40 and older are important in that effort — a message communicated to a small turnout on hand Wednesday for the Ohio Mammography Day Wreath Ceremony sponsored by the Women in Action Against Cancer Coalition of Jefferson County.
Dr. Harry Patton, a radiologist at Images Mammography Center at Trinity Medical Center East, offered breast cancer statistics as part of the program held at the Visitor Center at Historic Fort Steuben — numbers he said are “important to keep in mind.”
“Breast cancer is common and affects about one out of eight women throughout the course of their lives,” Patton said. “The most significant risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman and growing older with family history a strong indicator as well.”
In 2022, an estimated 287,850 new cases of invasive patient breast cancer will be diagnosed in U.S. women, he said, pointing out that breast cancer not only impacts women, but affects men, too, albeit more rarely.
“Through the course of my career, I’ve probably seen a total of about five or six cases of male breast cancer, including three of those at Images, so we do see it,” he said, explaining that a man’s lifetime risk is one out of 833.
Approximately 43,250 women in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer this year, “but the overall death rate from breast cancer decreased by 43 percent from 1989 to 2020, and that’s due to early detection and advances through medical treatments.
“We can do better — we need to do better,” Patton stressed, noting COVID-19 has posed difficulties with delayed screenings and mammograms. Continued education and encouraging mammograms are important, he said.
Among other statistics Patton mentioned were:
— Breast cancer death rates are higher than those of any other cancer besides lung cancer, which is the leading type of cancer.
— From 2014-18, breast cancer was the second most common cancer among men and women in Jefferson County.
— Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among African American women.
— Having a first-degree relative (mother, sister or daughter) with breast cancer almost doubles a woman’s risk.
Patton said 80.1 percent of women ages 50 to 74 reported they had had a mammogram in the past two years, which is slightly higher than that of the state at 78.2 percent and the county at 78.9 percent.
“Current screening guidelines recommend annual screening mammograms — and this is from the American College of Radiology and what we follow in radiology — beginning at age 40 for women at average risk and continuing until life expectancy is less than five to seven years from the end of their life, so that’s really important — it’s annual screening starting at age 40,” Patton said.
“Regular mammograms increase the chance of detecting breast cancer, which in general translates to less aggressive treatment, breast-conservative therapies and better outcomes, so if you haven’t done so, please schedule your screening mammogram,” he said.
Janet Sharpe, co-chair of WIAACC, welcomed those attending the ceremony, a tradition of 23 years. Jefferson County commissioner Tom Graham did double duty, singing the national anthem and “How Great Thou Art” as well as presenting a proclamation on behalf of the commissioners.
Steubenville Mayor Jerry Barilla and 5th Ward Councilman Willie Paul, who noted breast cancer claimed his mother at age 48 in 1985, presented a resolution on behalf of the city of Steubenville.
Coalition members Sharon Kirtdoll offered the prayer and Ericka Guz, an overview of what the coalition is and does. The community-based nonprofit organization was started in 1994 in response to the high incidence and mortality rates of certain cancers in the Jefferson County area.
It focuses on increasing awareness, providing education and promoting early detection and prevention of cancer in Jefferson County, helping residents become more aware of when and where to seek early detection for cancer, how to proceed when cancer is diagnosed, how to navigate through an increasingly complex health care system and where to turn for community resources and support for survivors, according to Guz.
“Key to the process and purpose is the talent and commitment of our members,” Guz said.
The coalition helps women who need financial assistance to get their breast and cervical screenings and generates funding through grants; the coalition’s annual banner project; a bake, book and soup sale in partnership with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Steubenville; car shows; donations; and Reisbeck’s box lunch program on Fridays during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Volunteers assemble and provide gift bags for new clients at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center, and the coalition provides financial assistance for the Minority Health Month prostate screening.
“The breast cancer wreath ceremony is one of the coalition’s long-standing and cherished events,” Guz said, noting it is observed on the third Wednesday in October.
In August, the coalition became a member of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce to increase its visibility and to reach more women and men in need of its services.
It welcomes new members.
Guest speaker Patti Mannarino of Mingo Junction admitted “my world started to spin” when her doctor told her she had stage one breast cancer, a diagnosis that came in late 2021 and fueled her need to research and learn all that she could about breast cancer and how to fight it.
“After going through every emotion, every thought, I gained my new mindset and that was embrace and conquer,” explained Mannarino, who said she did not need chemo, but did need radiation.
“Knowing the history of heart disease on both sides of my family and my cancer being right over the heart, radiation isn’t, long term, the best thing for that region, so the more research I found, I took into consideration what I was going to do,” she said.
“I happened to come across the GammaPod, a unique piece of technology and with this you need five treatments, not 20 to 40 like everyone else,” she said, excited that she could receive the treatment not too far from home — in Pittsburgh.
In so doing that, Mannarino was Allegheny Health Network’s first patient treated with GammaPod, the world’s first radiation device specifically designed for the treatment of breast cancer. The GammaPod is located at AHN Cancer Institute’s hub at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
There are three other locations where the technology is in use — Baltimore, Texas and Italy, according to Mannarino, who explained the process of what amounted to a 30-minute treatment and noted there was no pain associated with it.
“This Friday, I return for my one-year mammogram, and so I’m a little nervous just being the first time back at that,” commented Mannarino, who closed her time of sharing with a poem titled “Guide to Sharing Grief.” She said it fits the emotions one experiences in the wake of a cancer diagnosis and how it changes one’s life.
Leslie Aftanas, coalition co-chair, presented a bouquet of roses to Mannarino as well as roses to breast cancer survivors on hand — Janet Pillar, Ann Cash, Joyce Locascio and Kathy Coldebella.
Door prize drawings rounded out the program.
Credit: Source link