A Conversation on Breast Health with MSU Health Care Breast Surgical Oncologists

March 22, 2023 - MSU Today with Russ White

Originally published March 21, 2023 at 12:30 PM EDT on WKAR:

Breast health is the topic on this episode of MSU Today. 
MSU Health Care breast surgery oncologists Jessica Henderson and Harvey Bumpers talk about risk factors and their treatment and practice philosophies.

Conversation highlights:

(3:03) – “We’re both breast surgery oncologists, specifically that means that we primarily treat breast cancer. Breast surgery as an umbrella also focuses on benign breast disease. And we make sure we’re screening the women who are high-risk for developing breast cancer and make sure they’re being assessed throughout their lifetime. We see a really wide spectrum of breast disease.”

(4:35) – “Some breast cancers are genetic. But one of the myths we hear a lot is that a lot of women think that all breast cancer is genetic and that if they don’t have a family history that they’re not likely to develop breast cancer. Only a small portion of breast cancers are genetic. Having a family history does increase your risk, but it’s not required to develop breast cancer. About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime before the age of 85 even without a family history.”

(6:05) – “For most women, mammogram is the best initial screening test for identifying cancer at an early stage.”

breast health trio.jpg
Lindsay Gluf-Magar/
Henderson, Bumpers, White

(7:15) – “A myth we hear a lot is that if a woman does not have any symptoms in her breast such as a palpable lump or pain, they feel that they can’t have cancer because they associate those things with having cancer. Most of the time, especially early-stage cancers do not have any symptoms.”

(10:05) – “There are some risk factors that women can change and some that they can’t. They can’t change the genetics and the family history. But things they can change to protect themselves from developing breast cancer are lifestyle modifications like exercising regularly, reducing alcohol intake, and reducing their overall estrogen exposure over their lifetime.”

(13:20) – “The first thing we do is determine if there is a cancer. People come in with a variety of lumps and cysts and other abnormalities. Anything that looks suspicious or malignant gets a biopsy.”

(14:47) – “As surgeons, our job is to remove the cancer.”

(16:35) – “There’s a lot of research happening in the breast surgical oncology world right now.”

(20:38) – “There’s a big health disparity between certain populations in the community. The disadvantaged and minority populations have the worst outcomes. But they also have the least involvement in clinical trials.”

(23:06) – “Some women tend to put off coming in for a visit or to be screened. Or if they feel something abnormal in the breast, they tend to delay coming in because they’re afraid of what it might mean. Most of the time, the treatment for early-stage cancer, while there are some steps involved, is well tolerated by most women, and has changed so much in the last five to ten years. Don’t delay care because you’re afraid of what the treatment might entail.”

(27:42) – “We also treat male patients. Men do get breast cancer. About one percent of the cancers occur in men.”

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