Monday, November 23, 2009

Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations

Women have learned two lessons: schedule an annual mammogram and perform breast self exam each month in the shower. That's why women of all ages--from my daughter to my mother--became alarmed and concerned last week when The US Preventive Services Task Force recommended changes in screening for breast cancer.

Just yesterday a cousin asked me what I had heard from Johns Hopkins physicians. I was able to share a statement from Dr. Nagi Khouri, director of breast imaging, and Lillie Shockney, a breast cancer survivor and administrative director of the Avon Breast Center at Johns Hopkins. You too will be interested in reading their comments:

The Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center remains committed to caring for the screening needs of women at every age. We tailor our prevention services to each individual, and decisions on routine screening are made between patients and their physicians. The study released by the United States Preventive Services Task Force will not change current practices at Johns Hopkins. We will maintain our recommendations that routine screening for women at average risk for cancer occurs annually from 40 years of age through 80, when it can be altered at that point. We also feel it is important to continue educating women about their bodies including the normal contours of the breast to promote awareness of breast health. We believe that when women are armed with knowledge about their breasts, they are more likely to report changes to their physician. Again, please continue to schedule your mammograms annually, check your breasts, and let your physician know when changes occur.


Nagi Khouri, M.D. and Lillie Shockney, RN., BS., MAS
Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center

I have known too many women who have detected breast cancer through breast self exam and annual screening mammography. Each of them believes that these important screening tools improved their treatments outcome and, in some cases, saved their lives. I hope each of you will therefore heed the advise from Dr. Khouri and Lillie Shockney.


P.S. Listen to Johns Hopkins radiologist Dr. Nagi Khouri and breast surgeon Dr. Lisa Jacobs discuss breast imaging technologies and new management and operative strategies to improve the rate of breast preservation and cosmesis.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Aftermath....

It's been a few days since the 15th annual women's health conference, A Woman's Journey, and I must admit, I am still recovering.

More than 1,100 women attended the day long conference. I have spoken to so many women who were grateful for the opportunity to listen to Hopkins physicians. They learned much: compelling evidence about the benefits of vitamin D, strategies to alter your diet to prevent the liklihood of cancer, the difference between age-related memory loss and real dementia, common symptoms women shouldn't ignore and ......

I already have placed many of the session CD recordings in my bag. I will be listening to them for the next few weeks. If you too are interested, check out the conference website for CDs of many of the 32 seminars: Let me know what you learn; we can share notes.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Someone asked me if anything has changed since Mollye Block, Harriet Legum and I began the annual Johns Hopkins Medicine women's health conference in 1995. The answer is simple: a lot.

Each year we ask thousands of women about health topics and issues that are important to them. In the 15 years since we began the day-long conference, we have seen a surge in new topics. Many of us share these concerns. In the mid-90's women were focused on the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy. As new research has helped to answer those questions, women increasingly have been keen to better understand heart disease--the number 1 cause of death among women. Today we are all focused on staying well; that can mean eating well, exercising, and learning more about antioxidants, vitamins and supplements.

What hasn't changed is the compelling need to learn about medical advances. I hope you will join us at this year's conference, Saturday, November 14. Johns Hopkins physicians will teach 32 classes about issues that are important to you. If you can't attend this year, be sure to check our web site and sign up for the monthly newsletter about women's health. It is a terrific way to learn about new discoveries and see how women's health has changed since 1995.