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PHD to Host Fifth Annual Retreat for Breast Cancer Survivors
04/18/2008

DALLAS — Modern medicine has meant significant gains in the fight against breast cancer. The five-year survival rate for localized breast cancer alone has improved to 98 percent in recent years. High-resolution diagnostic imaging, targeted chemotherapies, new surgical techniques and genetic testing are helping more and more women live longer, fuller lives after breast cancer diagnosis.

Along with long-term survivorship, though, comes a host of physical and emotional challenges that survivors must face as they journey beyond their initial fight against cancer. This “transition to wellness” is the theme for Fifth Annual Breast Cancer Survivors Retreat hosted by Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.

The free event, for survivors who are at least two years post-diagnosis, will be held from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., April 26, at Gilda's Club North Texas, 2710 Oak Lawn in Dallas.

“Every year thousands of women move past the first phase of their fight against breast cancer and become part of this new generation of long-term survivors who must make the transition to wellness,” said Dr. Archana Ganaraj, an oncology breast surgeon at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. “They’ve made the journey from diagnosis to successfully fighting the disease to the third stage, which is facing the rest of their lives as breast cancer survivors.”

At this point, many of these women will deal with the challenge of resuming their careers, adjusting to life with physical limitations and, for many, accepting that cancer will always be a part of their life story, Ganaraj said.

Dealing with long-term survivorship also means accepting that many women can never again take hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Women who undergo mastectomy have to deal with the physical changes to their bodies.

“During the first two years after diagnosis, patients tend to be highly focused on fighting their disease and getting through treatments. Reaching two years post-diagnosis is a milestone all breast cancer survivors should celebrate, but with it comes psychological, emotional and physical challenges of a different kind,” Ganaraj said. “These women are dealing with a whole different set of challenges than someone in the early stages of her fight against cancer.”

The April 26th event will include an expert panel discussion led by Ganaraj; Becky Althaus, PhD, a genetic counselor with the hereditary cancer risk program at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas; and Dr. Lalan Wilfong, an oncologist on the medical staff at Presbyterian. The event will also feature keynote speaker Kathy LaTour, editor-at-large of Cure and Heal magazines, with her touching, motivational presentation "One Mutant Cell."

The rise in long-term breast cancer survival can be attributed to several factors, experts say. Mammography has led to cancers being detected earlier, when treatments often are more effective. A greater understanding of the molecular biology of breast cancer has led to new medical treatments, including genetically-targeted chemotherapies.

“These advances in cancer treatment have led to decreased mortality and a decrease in disease recurrence,” Wilfong said. “That’s wonderful news, but long-term survivors still face challenges as they make the transition to being cancer-free.” For more information or to register, call 214-345-2020.

About the Breast Care Program at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas
The Breast Care Program at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas offers a full continuum of for the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The Breast Care Program is a comprehensive program featuring leading diagnostic technologies, from digital mammography to breast MRI to MRI-guided biopsies, and the latest surgical and medical treatments, including genetically-targeted chemotherapies. The program’s multidisciplinary approach includes not only specialists on the Presbyterian medical staff but also a breast care coordinator who reflects the program’s emphasis on a patient-centered approach. These professionals help patients navigate the course of care, from treatment to reconstruction to follow-up. Other specialties include radiation oncology services, a genetic testing program and advanced plastic surgery for reconstruction after mastectomy.

About Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas
Established in 1966, PHD is the flagship hospital of Presbyterian Healthcare System, a member of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system. US News and World Report ranks PHD, a recognized clinical program leader, providing technologically advanced care to patients, among the nation’s best hospitals in digestive disorders, orthopedics, and neurology and neurosurgery. The 866-bed facility has approximately 4,000 employees and an active medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians. For more information about PHD, visit www.PHSCare.org.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR controls 13 affiliated hospitals and a medical research organization, and is a corporate member or partner in seven additional hospitals and surgery centers. THR’s family of hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.

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Contact:
Stephen O’Brien, Public Relations manager
214-345-4960 Office
214-759-2584 Pager
StephenObrien@TexasHealth.org

 

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