The 4th annual Power of Pink luncheon was held Thurs. at the Agave restaurant.
James Smith, D.O., and Nanette Evans, M.D., presented information on the latest strides in women's health and breast health.
Smith, Ob Gyn specialist at Stephenville Medical and Surgical Center, said that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has become beneficial in targeting certain sexually transmitted strains of HPV associated with the development of cervical cancer.
“We are seeing a decline in cervical cancer,” Smith said.
There are now many minimally invasive procedures, she said. A tubal sterilization can be performed in the doctor's office without an incision.
Smith said that there are risks and benefits of hormone therapy. The hormone prescriptions dropped dramatically in 2002 because of warnings. The media pushed the dangers of hormone therapy, he said.
“We are now seeing women and the medical community returning to hormone therapy,” he said. It controls bone loss, controls hot flashes, nigh sweats, and mood swings. “It improves the quality of life,” Smith said.
He said that the risk of breast cancer due to hormone therapy probably doesn't exist. However, the risk of blood clots and strokes are always a possibility.
The physician said studies have shown a significant decrease in the degree of dementia for women on hormone therapy.
In 2007, according to Smith, new medicines are being tested every day for prevention of breast cancer and to improve the quality of life.
Evans is the medical director of radiology on the Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital.
She said that Oct. 22-26, there will be a reduced rate for mammogram screening. The cost will be $65. Anyone will be considered, regardless of insurance or not.
Evans said breast tissue is normally sensitive. Fibrocystic changes is a normal variant.
Tenderness in the breast is termed mastalgia. The exact causes are a mystery, she said. Vitamin E is beneficial, as well as lowering caffeine intake and reduction of fats.
There are preventable risk factors for cancer, Evans said. Number one is that everything should be in moderation. Smoking cessation is always advised. Then, one should exercise and maintain a low-fat diet.
Several things should be considered to know if one is at risk for breast cancer, she said. They are: being a female, age, personal history, and family history.
Evans said that the American Cancer Society recommends monthly exams beginning in the teens with annual exams. The mammogram baseline is 35, and at 40, yearly screens should be performed.
There are many faces of breast cancer, the radiologist said. There are different growth rates and behaviors of the cells. Digital mammography is the latest technology that better detects even slight changes.
Computer Aided Detection (CAD) is an ultra sound used in screening. The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is not as defining as other tests used, Evans said.
According to the U.S. Department of Health, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in U.S. women. It is estimated that each year about 210,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 40,000 die from the disease.
Prevention and early detection begins with self exams and mammograms.
SHERRY BOARDMAN is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-965-3124, ext 229.