Many breast cancer survivors and their loved ones were among a capacity crowd on Dec. 15 for a presentation on breast cancer research and treatment, part of the UFT Welfare Fund’s Medical Learning Series. Dr. Elizabeth Comen, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, discussed an array of topics — including breast cancer statistics, risk factors, breast anatomy and treatment techniques — at UFT headquarters. According to Dr. Comen, breast cancer accounts for 29 percent of new cancer cases in the United States. The disease afflicts all genders, but it’s the second most common cause of cancer death (after lung cancer) in cisgender women. Dr. Comen discussed a number of risk factors, underscoring those that affect estrogen levels, such as obesity, early menstruation or late menopause. She also outlined the various screening methods, from self-examination to clinical tests, and clarified when each is recommended. When breast cancer is diagnosed, she said, a variety of treatment options exist, including hormonal therapy, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and mastectomy. Dr. Comen emphasized how the particulars of each patient’s biology and the diverse forms of the disease necessitate individualized care. “We don’t want to just put each patient in a box,” the doctor said. A question-and-answer period followed the presentation, the latest in a series of UFT Welfare Fund-sponsored programs designed to educate and inform members about topics concerning their health and well-being.
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Breast cancer presentation