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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Story Ideas From Johns Hopkins Medicine - 10/02/2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Story Ideas From Johns Hopkins Medicine

Release Date: October 2, 2013

The Johns Hopkins Dome Goes Pink
For the fourth year in a row, the iconic dome atop The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s historic building on Broadway will be lit pink to mark national breast cancer awareness month and to remind women and their loved ones about breast health issues. Look for the pastel hue during nighttime hours throughout the month of October. Contact John Lazarou at 410-502-8902 or [email protected] if assistance is needed to set up live or taped shots.

Facts and Experts
Breast cancer is the second-most-common cause of cancer death in American women. It is estimated that this year in the United States, some 233,000 women will be diagnosed with the disease, and approximately 40,000 will die of it. If detected early, treatment can save thousands of lives. During October, physicians and public health officials encourage women who are 40 and older (before age 40 for African-Americans) to speak with their physicians about breast cancer, and the benefits and risks of screening. To interview Johns Hopkins breast cancer experts about research, treatment, prevention and screening, contact Vanessa Wasta at 410-614-2916 or [email protected]; or John Lazarou at 410-502-8902 or [email protected].

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery will recognize Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day USA on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, with activities that promote education, awareness and care related to post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. Johns Hopkins activities, affiliated with the national celebration, include the following:

Human Ribbon (Photo-op)/Musical Routine
More than 20 participants, wearing pink shirts, will meet in the common area between the Armstrong Medical Education Building, at 1620 McElderry St., and the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Clinic, at 601 North Caroline St., to form a human pink ribbon, the international symbol of breast cancer awareness. This will be followed by a dancing and singing routine to draw attention to BRA Day.

Speaker Series
In honor of BRA Day USA, Johns Hopkins is hosting an inaugural breast reconstruction awareness day speaker series titled “Closing the Loop on Breast Cancer.” The series speakers will discuss breast reconstruction options and challenges, as well as the role of the surgical oncologist and nurses. The event will be held on the first floor of the Armstrong Medical Education Building, 1620 McElderry St., starting at 4:30 p.m. and concluding at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Feature Story ideas
Women undergoing treatment for breast cancer—and even those who were treated years ago—have more breast reconstruction options than ever before, from implants to the use of natural tissue to rebuild breasts. Michele A. Manahan, M.D., assistant professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins, can discuss the most advanced microsurgical techniques for breast reconstruction, as well as the risks and benefits of reconstructive surgery. Here is a link to a patient info seminar on this subject matter from April 2011.
Manahan’s presentation starts at the 28:30 mark

Pam Vierra, a mother of three from central Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with breast cancer and decided to visit Johns Hopkins for a second opinion. She tells about her breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction experience at the Johns Hopkins Breast Center, and how it changed her life.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Department of Radiology is expanding its breast imaging services with the use of a new technology, tomosynthesis or 3-D mammography, now available at Johns Hopkins Imaging’s Green Spring Station location. Breast tomosynthesis creates 3-D images constructed from many 1-millimeter electronic “slices,” taken at the same time as standard mammography and performed at the same time with the same system. Previous research shows that mammography with 2-D imaging together with tomosynthesis is associated with improved breast cancer detection and a 40 percent reduction in the number of so-called “false positives” (tissue overlap that initially appears to be suspicious but then is found to be normal).

While there are millions of cancer survivors, there are scores more living with cancer, and some with metastatic cancer that has spread beyond its original site to other parts of the body. The Johns Hopkins Breast Center team has developed a novel retreat program for women facing metastatic disease, in which they and their spouses or partners spend a weekend discussing and learning how to cope with incurable cancer. Johns Hopkins offers similar retreats for pancreatic and colon cancer patients as well.

One of the most underfunded areas of cancer research is prevention, but at Johns Hopkins, a group of scientists committed to prevention research have several projects. Among them: a study of leptin, a cancer-promoting hormone secreted by fat cells, which scientists are trying to block; a study assessing the potential benefits of soy, statin drugs and broccoli sprouts; and a study of  biomarkers that can spot aggressive cancers earlier. More information:


For the Media

Media contacts:

John Lazarou  
[email protected]

Helen Jones
[email protected]