Friday, October 27, 2023

Key to the City goes to "ARE YOU DENSE?"


Waterbury celebrated a citywide Pink Out on Thursday, October 26th! Saint Mary’s Hospital Foundation has once again partnered with the City of Waterbury to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness. Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, Saint Mary’s Hospital President, Kim Kalajainen and special guest Joe Cappello will address organizers and volunteers from the Waterbury Police and Fire Departments as well as the Education Department, area students and others at 11:00 a.m.  at Waterbury City Hall.  

"PINK OUT" DAY- transcript from Mayor O'Leary's speech:
We want to thank Waterbury public schools, all of our great city employees who have embraced this PINK OUT. Of course the people in my office who have worked tirelessly on this, particularly Allie and  Judy and Jen. I hope our message resonates with you. I hope you all go home and talk about this tonight with your families and your, your children, and maybe even your grandchildren on your siblings and your, uh, family members.  We do preventative screening each and every year, and please reach out to us and we will make sure that we put you in the queue for the preventative screening, which will take you all of about seven minutes. Nothing intrusive. We take some samples from you, we check you out. More than likely you're gonna be fine, but every once in a while we come across someone who's not and we save their life. 

It's one of the reasons why we signed on with Cigna Healthcare, because Cigna healthcare is in front of the curve in this area, and that's why the City of Waterbury switched over to Cigna back in 2013. Without further ado, I just want to present this plaque to Mr. Joseph Capello for his amazing speech today, but more importantly for his commitment to honoring his wife, Nancy, and her ordeal and what she went through. And think about this, when this becomes a federal mandate in September, thanks to the work that started right here, we will save through the His Joe's initiative, the lives of millions of women, not hundreds of thousands, millions of women throughout, not only the United States of America, but as you heard globally. And that's the difference here, folks. And thank you, Mr. Capello. And this is a key to the city of Waterbury with our pink. Now you only have so November 30th to use it in one of the doors. <laugh>. Thank you all you guys, you're great. We love you and thanks, of course. A special thanks to Trinity St. Mary's. 

Under a joint report with the Women's Diagnostic Network and HealthTech Reporter, our research editor Dr. Robert Bard caught up with Ms. MJ Smith, a clinical ambassador from Screen Point Medical (breast imaging AI) at the 2023 NYC Roentgen Society conference. At the height of the medical conference, we found MJ to be a uniquely profound and engaging speaker about women's health topics.  Exploring a private connection opened us into a collaborative and educational journey befitting our UNDERDIAGNOSED WOMEN series where MJ is truly a life-long crusader in support of clinical advocacy. (see complete feature)

A major concern is the presence of breast cancer in underserved communities, including those TOO YOUNG FOR A MAMMOGRAM.  Whereby the medical community touts the recommended (and legal/billable status) of getting a mammo scan should be between 40-50, what happens to the many women who do not fit this age criteria?  How would they even know to get checked without the support of their clinicians or an alarm from family history? Decades into the battle against breast cancer, clinicians and the public are much more educated about EARLY DETECTION, PREVENTION and the current protocols and modalities available to save lives.  Recent headlines on DENSE BREAST and the advancements in ULTRASOUND SCANNING supports a major part of this battle. SEE COMPLETE FEATURE

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS),  women ages 45 to 54 and post-menopausal years are required to get mammograms every year.[1a] But for the underserved ages (20-40), the risk for breast cancer exists in growing numbers. In support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Integrative Cancer Resource Society, the AngioFoundation Institute (501c3) and the "Are You Dense?" Foundation  addresses the continuing concerns for breast cancer in the New York area by recommending early detection screening programs for women over 20 (and not just anyone 40+ as standardized by the insurance companies.

I went to my doctor for a lump I felt in my breast and she gave me a response that set off red flags: "don't worry about it". Being a researcher involved in breast density and breast cancer, I knew that I had to take action; I was fortunate enough to have my breast ultrasound training with Dr. Robert Bard (cancer imaging specialist, NYC) upcoming in the next week. Dr. Bard showed me how to use the ultrasound to help me find two benign tumors in my breasts, and it was there that he reported that I have dense breasts. Had I not taken action in getting screened at the young age of 22, I would have never known that I should be getting screened via ultrasound every 6 months (because having dense breasts puts me at a higher risk for breast cancer), nor would I have known that I had benign breast tumors. 

Cancer Researcher/ Graduate- Molloy Univ.

Profiling the Dense Breast Paradigm  - by: Dr. Roberta Kline
As an Ob-Gyn physician and genomics specialist, I have spent the better part of 10 years translating research in the genomic and gene expression areas into clinically usable information for healthcare professionals. One of the biggest challenges we face when connecting research with patient care is the long delay in the translation process and dissemination of the information. It often takes 10 to 20 years for information (validated findings) that comes out of research to be applied in clinical practice. These delays result in many lost opportunities to provide better care for our patients. This is one of the reasons why I'm really passionate about accelerating this process and making it easier for clinicians and their patients to take advantage of cutting-edge information and new technologies.  (see complete report)

"In order to catch cancer, you need to be able to detect it at an early stage so we can treat patients with the most effective mechanisms.  Ultrasounds are an easy, cost-effective method for screening for early breast cancers, especially in women below the age of 45, who are likely to have dense breasts. When you are young and premenopausal your breasts are dense and we know that breast density is linked to cancer and which also makes it harder for cancers to be seen on a mammogram. Although breast cancer is rare in women under the age of 40, early detection is key.  Public health campaigns are spending so much money on mammograms for this population of women who can easily and cost effectively be screened using an ultrasound."

"I LOVE this new program! Early detection is essential! There is a stigmatization around mammograms that they are painful and frightening. There is anxiety while you wait for the results. And, don't forget the appointment scheduling hassle.  Women, particularly younger women with active lives, small children, careers don't want to have to fit one more thing into their hectic and demanding schedules. However, mammogram technology itself has advanced and it no longer has to be a painful experience. Clinics and imaging centers are offering untraditional scheduling opportunities, such as very early morning appointments to late evening appointments that are timed for very minimal wait times. And, clinicians are often prioritizing mammogram interpretations so the results are back within 24 hours. The Self Care message is trending right now. Mammograms should be a part of self care."

Key to the City goes to "ARE YOU DENSE?"