PHD to Host Fifth Annual Retreat for Breast Cancer Survivors|
DALLAS — Modern medicine has meant significant gains in the fight against breast cancer. The five-year survival rate for localized breast cancer alone has improved to 98 percent in recent years. High-resolution diagnostic imaging, targeted chemotherapies, new surgical techniques and genetic testing are helping more and more women live longer, fuller lives after breast cancer diagnosis.
Along with long-term survivorship, though, comes a host of physical and emotional challenges that survivors must face as they journey beyond their initial fight against cancer. This “transition to wellness” is the theme for Fifth Annual Breast Cancer Survivors Retreat hosted by Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.
The free event, for survivors who are at least two years post-diagnosis, will be held from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., April 26, at Gilda's Club North Texas, 2710 Oak Lawn in Dallas.
“Every year thousands of women move past the first phase of their fight against breast cancer and become part of this new generation of long-term survivors who must make the transition to wellness,” said Dr. Archana Ganaraj, an oncology breast surgeon at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. “They’ve made the journey from diagnosis to successfully fighting the disease to the third stage, which is facing the rest of their lives as breast cancer survivors.”
At this point, many of these women will deal with the challenge of resuming their careers, adjusting to life with physical limitations and, for many, accepting that cancer will always be a part of their life story, Ganaraj said.
Dealing with long-term survivorship also means accepting that many women can never again take hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Women who undergo mastectomy have to deal with the physical changes to their bodies.
“During the first two years after diagnosis, patients tend to be highly focused on fighting their disease and getting through treatments. Reaching two years post-diagnosis is a milestone all breast cancer survivors should celebrate, but with it comes psychological, emotional and physical challenges of a different kind,” Ganaraj said. “These women are dealing with a whole different set of challenges than someone in the early stages of her fight against cancer.”
The April 26th event will include an expert panel discussion led by Ganaraj; Becky Althaus, PhD, a genetic counselor with the hereditary cancer risk program at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas; and Dr. Lalan Wilfong, an oncologist on the medical staff at Presbyterian. The event will also feature keynote speaker Kathy LaTour, editor-at-large of Cure and Heal magazines, with her touching, motivational presentation "One Mutant Cell."
The rise in long-term breast cancer survival can be attributed to several factors, experts say. Mammography has led to cancers being detected earlier, when treatments often are more effective. A greater understanding of the molecular biology of breast cancer has led to new medical treatments, including genetically-targeted chemotherapies.
“These advances in cancer treatment have led to decreased mortality and a decrease in disease recurrence,” Wilfong said. “That’s wonderful news, but long-term survivors still face challenges as they make the transition to being cancer-free.” For more information or to register, call 214-345-2020.
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