Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great time to ensure that the risks, signs and basic facts of the disease remain top of mind for women. It is also the perfect time to begin a proactive approach to breast health for women of a certain age, and to let them know that they have access to detection and treatment options that are second to none, right here in Queens.
What is breast cancer and what causes it?
Cancer cells really have to do with our DNA molecules. Without bogging readers down in too much biology, occasionally there is an abnormality – a mistake, if you will – in the way a DNA molecule is made, which can cause cells to divide rapidly. That mass of cells can become a lump or swelling. So, breast cancer is a disease occurring when cells in the breast grow out of control.
If they are not treated in time, those cancer cells can metastasize, which means travel to other parts of the body. Left untreated in any location, cancer can become lethal. At the EMU Breast Center, we encourage people to be proactive with their breast health so we can try and catch cancers early. In the early stages, cancer can be more easily treated.
So, when dealing with breast cancer, early detection is the key.
What are some risks for breast cancer? Can they be reduced?
Some risk factors for breast cancer are beyond our control; among them are:
- Family history
- Previous radiation exposure
- Prior breast biopsy with benign or high risk results
- Genetic mutations such as BRCA
But, there are some risk factors that we can affect.
Estrogen & Hormone Therapy
We know that estrogen, the molecule that controls female hormones, can be fuel to the fire for breast cancer. So, being vigilant when under hormone replacement therapy is important.
Maintaining a Health Weight
We also tend to see higher estrogen levels in obese or overweight people, so maintaining a healthy weight is important.
Smoking & Drinking Alcohol
There is data that smoking, as well as drinking alcohol, can both contribute to developing breast cancer. Quitting smoking and tempering drinking are both highly recommended.
Staying Healthy & Regular Check-ups
The best practice you can undertake to reduce your risk of having breast cancer also happens to be the best practice you can undertake for overall health – maintain a healthy diet and make sure to get daily exercise. The next best step, and this goes back to staying proactive, is to make and keep a schedule of regular check-ups with your doctor. That way, if a cancer is there, we can detect it early.
When should a woman begin to get mammograms?
There has been some debate in recent years, but at the EMU Breast Center we recommend beginning breast cancer screening at age 40. That means having a mammogram and physical exam at age 40 annually thereafter. Breast cancer becomes more common as women reach their late forties and early fifties, but even women in their early forties can develop breast cancer. And, since they’re younger, they have more estrogen circulating which can exacerbate the condition.
Again, it comes down to making sure we catch cancer as early as possible. Getting patients to visit annually gives us the chance to detect cancer at its smallest and most treatable state. If the cancer cells are dividing but we catch it early on, treatment is much easier.
We’re fortunate to have some of the latest and greatest equipment for detecting breast cancer available to us at EMU. Just one example is 3-D mammography, a huge advancement over 2-D for detection that has led to us seeing cancers being caught earlier. Patients need to understand that a cancer diagnosis is not a “life sentence” anymore. In fact, the disease is almost 100% treatable when caught early.
All this said, a woman should consult with her physician, someone who knows her personal medical history and health status, to devise the best course of action for them.
How does early detection affect treatment?
When we catch cancer early, those patients can be cured much more effectively than before, using less invasive surgery and less toxic chemotherapy. Not only have mammograms come a long way, but our colleagues in the oncology world have come a long way in terms of targeting the cancer cells with better treatments.
One example is the use of therapies that activate the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells. So, instead of administering a toxic chemical that would stop all cells from dividing, it is targeting cancer cells and leaving the rest of the body’s cells unharmed.
Patients can also undergo a lumpectomy, where just the lump is removed rather than all of the breast tissue. Early detection can also help them avoid having chemotherapy, which can have toxic side effects. Even more developments will be coming out in the next few years, and we are very excited to be a part of that at Orange Regional Medical Center.
Visit EMU and see what we have to offer.
At the EMU Breast Center we are very proud to introduce the community to our doctors, the surgeons, the staff, and our latest technology, including:
- 3D mammogram
- Stereotactic buided breast biopsy with the Affirm upright biopsy system, which employs advanced, proprietary imaging technology to visualize even hard to see lesions
- Ultrasound guided breast biopsy process with Bard core biopsy system, which uses real-time ultrasound imaging for instant verification of needle position and automated biopsy specimen sampling.
This is technology on the leading edge, and we’re very excited to offer it to our community in Queens at EMU.
EMU’s Breast Center is home to a dedicated and passionate team focused on breast cancer. We provide access to new technologies that can help women be proactive with their breast health, both in detection and treatment. We’re happy to be here for our patients in the community.
EMU Health is proud to announce its partnership with Mount Sinai to provide cardiology services in its Glendale, Queens multispecialty medical center. Mount Sinai, Ranked 9th nationally for Cardiology & Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report, is celebrated internationally as a world leader in all facets of cardiology care, cardiac surgery, and advanced research.
Mount Sinai’s team of award-winning physicians has invigorated the science of cardiovascular medicine, pioneering treatments for arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular disease, and vascular disease. Dr. Joseph Tawil of Mt.Sinai’s Cardiology Department will be providing cardiac services at EMU Health. He is board certified in cardiovascular disease holding certification from the National Board of Echocardiography and the Certification Board of Nuclear Cardiology. He is an active member of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology.
Dr. Tawil earned his medical degree from the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. He advanced his training with a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Beth Israel Medical Center. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva University.
Daniel Lowy, CEO and Founder of EMU Health, said that “this partnership brings EMU another step closer to fulfilling my dream of bringing world class Medicine to the borough of Queens, eliminating the need for residents to travel to Manhattan for the highest quality of care.”
About EMU Health: Queens is the most diverse urban area in the entire world and home to two and a half million people. Yet, its residents are often compelled to seek quality healthcare outside the borough. Why is this? Because that’s just the way things have always been. But Daniel Lowy, EMU’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, is not content with how things have always been, or how they are. He sees how things should be, and he makes them happen. Like the indigenous Australian bird, the Emu that cannot walk backwards, Daniel is an Aussie that is always moving forward. He founded EMU to provide patients with the highest quality healthcare possible, and move healthcare forward to benefit every resident of Queens. Visit www.emuhealth.com for more information.
Vinita: It is now for Morning Rounds at CBS News contributor Dr. Holly Phillips, and Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Neil Roth. Neil is sports medicine specialist and has served on the medical staff for several teams. First up, football and concussions. Concern over head injuries is dominating all levels of the sport and the CDC plans a rigorous evaluation of the risks of tackling in youth football.
One study found that 1 in 30 players ages 5 to 14 will suffer a concussion during any one season. I still think despite all of these talks, some people don’t really know how to evaluate if they’ve had a concussion. What is it?
Doctor Holly: Concussions actually can be confusing, but I’m so glad there’s increased awareness. It’ll help our young people, it’ll help athletes, it’ll clear up a lot of misconceptions. Concussion actually comes from a Latin term that means to shake violently and that’s essentially what it is. Concussions happen after a sudden and violent blow to the head.
Our brain is made of soft tissue. It is cushioned by a strip of spinal fluid inside of the skull. The impact from a sudden blow to the head can jolt the brain or sometimes physically move it within the skull. That results in bruising, damage to blood vessels, damage to nerves. The ultimate effect of that is that the brain doesn’t function normally whether that’s for a period of days, weeks or month. There can be a huge number of symptoms ranging from nausea, or vision disturbances.
We’re understanding more and more that concussions can affect your mood or even your personality. We see depression, we see changes in the way people behave.
Anthony: Neil, I know from having had a concussion that didn’t really show itself the effect for about a week to ten days later that it can be complicated to know whether you had. Have you actually diagnosed a concussion?
Doctor Neil: It’s a great question. Concussions are like snowflakes. They’re different all the time, there’s really no two that are alike. As we will look into the brain which basically controls every function of our body it can manifest itself in a lot of different ways. You can have some dizziness, you can have headaches which are some of more obvious, but you can have more subtle findings with mood changes and things along those lines.
The real way to diagnose it is to, number one, know your kid, know your athlete and if something just does not seem right, then that’s a pretty good indication that something could be wrong and you could have a concussion. Doesn’t mean you necessarily have to, but it certainly would warrant having it worked up and being looked at.
The best way to really diagnose it is we do these preseason evaluations. We do baseline testing, there are a lot of neurocognitive tests, there are balance tests that are done preseason so in the event that an athlete gets a concussion, we can evaluate it to where they were at their baseline and monitor their progress and additionally monitor the severity of the concussion itself.
Vinita: I have to, though as a parent, it makes me nervous that I should notice certain things and that the symptoms could always be different. Is there a way for there to be some definitive diagnostic tools? Is that something in the works?
Doctor Holly: There’s a lot of work going on in that area. Just this past week at the American Academy of Neurology conference, ome researchers presented a small,but very promising study using something called a transcranial doppler. They developed basically a device where you can put it on the head, it does a Doppler ultrasound of the brain which measures blood flow.
What they found was that it was 83% accurate in distinguishing between high school students that had concussions and high school students that had healthy brains. The point of all of this and other research like it is to try to develop some type of device or diagnostic tool that is fast, that’s portable and it’s accurate and it can be used right on the sidelines of the game.
Neil, I know you were a team doctor for the LA Lakers, if you just a quicky device right there on the sidelines, I’m sure that would have been a big help.
Doctor Neil: Of course, in an ideal world if we had these portable devices that were reliable and gave us instant information that would be fantastic. The fact remains that concussions are very subtle, tough sometimes findings. Athletic trainers, parents, and coaches need to know your athlete and be able to see what’s going on.
Obviously, we’ve spoken about how the brain is a metabolic type of organism and if it basically has a concussion, the metabolism is altered and a brain flow study or something in those lines would be the crux of being able to diagnose that.
Anthony: Okay. Next up, a problem that sidelines many elite athletes. Of course, back spasms don’t only affect the pros, millions of Americas suffer from the painful muscle contractions each year. Neil, what actually causes this?
Doctor Neil: Back spasm is an end result of irritating one of the nerves in your lower back. It can happen from our everyday activities, from an impact, from an athletic maneuver, from doing something very strenuous and in turn the nerve will send an impulse to the muscle and the muscle sees this constant on signal and goes into spasm, because it’s basically turning it on, like you are flicking the light switch on and off, it seems as though the light switch is on, that the light is on all the time. The muscles go to spasm and becomes very painful and debilitating.
Vinita: I’m convinced led to my back spasms.
Because I also get a massage when it was really intense, what are the best treatments? What should you be doing?
Doctor Holly: Right, massage is a very good one, my oldest childhood friend called me everyday to switch. She was suffering from terrible back spasms. She said, “What’s the treatment?” There’s really isn’t a quick fix, what I can say is that using heat and cold therapy is important. Medications we use very judiciously just some anti inflammatories, muscle relaxants. We try by all means necessary not to use heavy duty medications like the opioid, pain killers or anything else. Massage, acupuncture, stretching, yoga, all of these things are really keys to getting better. Then, strengthening your core and your lower back muscles is critical so you don’t re-injure yourself.
Vinita: Well spasms are just one symptom from those who suffer from chronic back pain. A study of 342 patients by researchers in Seattle points to a potentially helpful treatment; meditation. It found those who engage in yoga and mindfulness based meditations had a 61% improvement in the activities they could do compared to 44% who stuck to their normal routines. The meditation group also reported 55% improvement in pain compared to just 27% in normal care mind over matter a little bit of that.
Doctor Holly: Very much so.
Doctor Neil: We’re talking about how the brain, how it affects concussions. It would certainly follow that you have a complete connection on the physical nature of back issues that are tied to your brain, that are tied to your mood, your stress levels, there are hormonal changes that occur with stress levels that will affect your entire muscular approach to things. It’s a great connection and one that obviously should be incorporated into any type of therapeutic regiment.
Anthony: Doctor Neil Roth, Doctor Holly Phillips, thank you both very much for being with us.
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About International Women’s Day (8 March)
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.
“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. Thus International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been occurring for well over a century – and continue’s to grow from strength to strength.
Learn about the values that guide IWD’s ethos.
What colours signify international Women’s Day?
Internationally, purple is a colour for symbolising women. Historically the combination of purple, green and white to symbolise women’s equality originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK in 1908. Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolises hope. White represents purity, but is no longer used due to ‘purity’ being a controversial concept. The introduction of the colour yellow representing a ‘new dawn’ is commonly used to signify a second wave of feminism. Thus purple with green represents traditional feminism, purple with yellow represents progressive contemporary feminism.
International Women’s Day timeline journey
Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs – and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament – greeted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was the result.
Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women’s Day was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events. 1911 also saw women’sBread and Roses‘ campaign.
On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women’s Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity. For example, in London in the United Kingdom there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in support of women’s suffrage on 8 March 1914. Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charing Cross station on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square.
On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for “bread and peace” in response to the death of over 2 million Russian soldiers in World War 1. Opposed by political leaders, the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women’s strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.
International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975. Then in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
The UN commenced the adoption of an annual theme in 1996 – which was “Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future”. This theme was followed in 1997 with “Women at the Peace table”, and in 1998 with “Women and Human Rights”, and in 1999 with “World Free of Violence Against Women”, and so on each year until the current. More recent themes have included, for example, “Empower Rural Women, End Poverty & Hunger” and “A Promise is a Promise – Time for Action to End Violence Against Women”.
By the new millennium, International Women’s Day activity around the world had stalled in many countries. The world had moved on and feminism wasn’t a popular topic. International Women’s Day needed re-ignition. There was urgent work to do – battles had not been won and gender parity had still not been achieved.
The global internationalwomensday.com digital hub for everything IWD was launched to re-energize the day as an important platform to celebrate the successful achievements of women and to continue calls for accelerating gender parity. Each year the IWD website sees vast traffic and is used by millions of people and organizations all over the world to learn about and share IWD activity. The IWD website is made possible each year through support from corporations committed to driving gender parity. The website’s charity of choice for many years has been the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts(WAGGGS) whereby IWD fundraising is channelled. A more recent additional charity partnership is with global working women’s organization Catalyst Inc. The IWD website adopts an annual campaign theme that is globally relevant for groups and organizations. This campaign theme, one of many around the world, provides a framework and direction for annual IWD activity and takes into account the wider agenda of both celebration as well as a broad call to action for gender parity. Recent campaign themes have included “Be Bold for Change”, “Pledge for Parity”, “Make it happen”, “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum” and “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures”. Campaign themes for the global IWD website are collaboratively and consultatively identified each year and widely adopted.
2011 saw the 100 year centenary of International Women’s Day – with the first IWD event held exactly 100 years ago in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the United States, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be “Women’s History Month”, calling Americans to mark IWD by reflecting on “the extraordinary accomplishments of women” in shaping the country’s history. The then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the “100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges”. In the United Kingdom, celebrity activist Annie Lennox lead a superb march across one of London’s iconic bridges raising awareness in support for global charity Women for Women International. Further charities such as Oxfam have run extensive activity supporting IWD and many celebrities and business leaders also actively support the day
2018 and beyond
The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation may feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so each year the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements. IWD is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more. Many global corporations actively support IWD by running their own events and campaigns. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google often changes its Google Doodle on its global search pages to honor IWD. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally!
Make everyday International Women’s Day.
Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.