ENCINITAS — To celebrate October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Encinitas Library. The event will be moderated by Deputy Mayor Maggie Houlihan. Guests are encouraged to participate by bringing questions of special concern for the four panelists.
“Forty-thousand women, young and old, lose their life to breast cancer every year,” said Dr. Rupa Subramanian, a presenter from the San Diego Cancer Center in Encinitas. “Two hundred thousand new cases occur every year. You do not need to be one of these women. There are estimates that up to 30 percent of breast cancers can be prevented by even simple things like lifestyle modification.”
Dr. Subramanian will discuss strategies for prevention and the latest developments in chemotherapy and innovative agents that target cancer cells.
In 2005, Dr. Subramanian founded a comprehensive multispecialty breast care center at the San Diego Cancer Center in Encinitas. She has established a bimonthly breast cancer tumor board that reviews treatment plans with surgeons, radiologists, radiation oncologist and supportive staff. In addition, she has developed networks with community physicians and UCSD faculty to identify high-risk patients and offer preventative care. Prior to coming to San Diego County she established one of the most respected comprehensive breast centers in Orange County as a member of the Compassionate Cancer Care Medical Group. She was also assistant clinical professor of hematology and oncology at UCI Medical Center.
Dr. Subramanian advises women to follow recommendations for yearly mammograms starting at age 40. To assess individual risks for breast cancer Dr. Subramanian suggests visiting the website www. sdcancer.com/breast where women can use the online breast cancer risk calculator.
“Risks include late pregnancy, early onset of puberty, no breast-feeding, family members with the disease, breast biopsies, etc.,” she said. “Women with greater than a 21 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer on the calculator can be eligible for an annual breast MRI.”
Dr. Subramanian adds that the SDCC has a breast cancer prevention clinic where she can discuss a woman’s individual risk with her and develop a risk reduction and surveillance program.
Dr. Mary Ann Rose, M.D., will speak about the role of external radiation therapy for both early stage and advanced cancers.
Dr. Rose came to UCSD in 2007 and is professor of radiation oncology and medical director of UCSD Radiation Oncology North County in Encinitas. Initially a staff radiation oncologist at the Harvard Joint Center for Radiation Therapy, Dr. Rose was based at Beth Israel Hospital and the Breast Evaluation Clinic of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She subsequently served as chief of radiation oncology at St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, Mass., prior to relocating to San Diego in 1993. Dr. Rose has worked in private practice in the San Diego area for nearly 15 years, serving as medical director at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and medical director of the Vantage Oncology Centers in both Temecula and Wildomar.
Dr. Rose will report on strides that have been made in the treatment of breast cancer.
“Women with breast cancer now have more options for breast conservation than ever before,” she said. “New techniques have reduced side effects and shortened the course of therapy. Women should not be afraid to pursue lumpectomy and radiation as an alternative to mastectomy in early stage breast cancer.”
The third presenter is Dr. Anne Wallace, who will speak about the surgical management of breast cancer, including options for reconstruction.
Dr. Wallace has been the director of the breast care unit at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center since 1995. She is a specialist in breast cancer surgery, breast reconstruction and aesthetic surgery for the breast. Dr. Wallace participates in the Translational Oncology Program at the Moores, where she studies the causes, behavior and treatment of breast cancer and melanoma. Her special research interests include breast cancer prevention and improvement in techniques for sentinel lymph node biopsy.She is an investigator in the ongoing National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) study of breast cancer treatments. She also collaborates with basic science researchers to develop early detection methods in high-risk individuals. In 1999, the Komen Foundation honored Dr. Wallace as Breast Cancer Clinician of the Year. She was named the Clinical Teacher of the Year for 2000 in the UCSD Division of Plastic Surgery.
She will discuss advances in breast surgery to include oncoplastic techniques for lumpectomy defects, proper breast surgery planning, nipple sparing mastectomy and options for post-mastectomy reconstruction
“I will detail some of the advances in medical and radiation oncology that allow for less surgery and better cosmetic outcomes,” she said. “I will also discuss the I-spy trial, which is an innovative neoadjuvant trial offering patients with high-risk tumors the opportunity to receive new systemic agents before surgery, hopefully to better the treatment of their cancer and enhance the downstaging of the tumor. This trial is only being offered by 20 institutions throughout the United States, with UCSD being the only one in San Diego.”
Finally, Dr. Catheryn Yashar, M.D., will discuss new techniques of partial breast irradiation for early stage patients.
As associate professor or radiation oncology at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, her clinical and research focus has centered on cancers in women, notably breast and gynecologic cancers. Her surgical training is particularly valuable in the application of brachytherapy in both breast and gynecologic tumors. Dr. Yashar is the chief of these services at UCSD. She has also been an invited speaker on gynecologic oncology issues at numerous national meetings including the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, the Gynecologic Oncology Group and the American Brachytherapy Society.
“This lecture will focus on the science behind partial breast irradiation, and the technologies available in 2010,” Dr. Yashar said.
The Encinitas Library is located at 540 Cornish Drive (between D and E streets). The event is free. Food and drinks will be served.