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Memorial Hospital Provides New Treatment for Breast Cancer Patients - 10/28/05

According to the American Cancer Society, one in seven women will have invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women—other than skin cancer—and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. An estimated 211,240 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2005.

Memorial Hospital is participating in a procedural study that has great potential benefit to breast cancer patients. This treatment is known as partial-breast irradiation (PBI). PBI is a breakthrough in breast care radiation therapy for women diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer, who opt for a lumpectomy (removal of the tumor) as their primary surgical approach. Dr. Jane Ridings, radiation oncologist with Memorial’s Cancer Services, is helping to explore and explain this innovative treatment.

Nationally, thousands of women have participated in the PBI clinical trials, which require just one week or less of radiation after breast diagnosis, compared to the typical 6-7 weeks of breast irradiation. By using PBI, doctors may be able to avoid potential side effects, such as severe skin reaction. Women interested in trial participation should consult with their radiation oncologist to pursue the screening process.

October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness month. The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for early detection of breast cancer:

  • Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
  • Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a regular exam by a health expert, preferably every 3 years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health expert every year.
  • Breast awareness and breast self-exams (BSEs) are optional for women starting in their 20s. Women performing a BSE should have a doctor or nurse check their method to assure it is done properly.
  • Women with a higher risk of breast cancer should talk with their doctor about the best approach for them. This might mean starting mammograms when they are younger, having extra tests or more frequent exams.

Media Note: Dr. Jane Ridings is available to discuss the PBI process. To schedule an interview, please contact Memorial’s Public Relations office at (719) 365-5235.