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Breast cancer diagnosis; Treatment options; Male breast cancer; DONNA Foundation

A 3-D mammogram reveals a normal breast.
A 3-D mammogram reveals a normal breast.

October is breast cancer awareness month.

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S. While prognosis has improved over time, it remains the second leading cause of cancer death among women overall and the leading cause among Hispanic women. Black women have a higher death rate from breast cancer than white women.

Florida has the second-highest overall cancer burden in the U.S., replacing heart disease as the leading cause of death. In addition, Duval County has a higher rate of breast cancer than the national average; however, substantial support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped create advances in diagnosing and treating the disease.

Also, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this week that his wife, Casey DeSantis, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Guest: Dr. Dianne Johnson, diagnostic radiologist, Hill Breast Center, MD Anderson.

Treatment options

All breast cancer treatments have two goals: to rid the body of as much cancer as possible and to keep the disease from returning.

Breast cancer treatments have evolved substantially over the past decade. Now more individualized options exist based on the patient’s preferences, the type of breast cancer and how far it has spread.

Surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and radiation therapy represent the most common treatments. Additionally, 14 new targeted breast cancer drugs hit the market last year, with dozens more undergoing clinical trials and hundreds in development.

Creating an individualized treatment plan requires a multidisciplinary approach. Surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists work together to provide the best care to their patients.

Guest: Dr. Saranya Chumsri, hematologist and oncologist at the Mayo Clinic.

Male breast cancer

In the U.S., male breast cancer represents 1 percent of all breast cancers. By contrast, in some regions of Central Africa, male breast cancer accounts for 6 percent of all cancers. As with women, the incidence of breast cancer in men rises with age, and men tend to be five to 10 years older than women at the time of diagnosis. Diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of breast cancer in men are similar to that of women.

Guest: David Luckin, WJCT station manager and music director.

The DONNA Foundation

When it comes to breast cancer awareness locally, the DONNA Foundation is a significant force in helping individuals with breast cancer.

In addition to the famous DONNA Marathon, the organization participates in various community outreach and education programs and hosts several fundraising events to support its mission.

Guest: Donna Deegan, founder of the DONNA Foundation and DONNA Marathon.

What’s Health Got to Do with It? Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at khobbs@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.

Katherine Hobbs joined WJCT as an associate producer of talk shows following her internship.