Dr. Nicholas Tranakas, surgical oncologist from Broward General Medical Center (BGMC) and Kelley Mitchell, news anchor and reporter with WLRN, will share their knowledge of breast cancer with attendees at Chabad Lubavitch of Fort Lauderdale's Feminine Link Breast Cancer Awareness Dinner on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.
Tranakas, BGMC medical director for cancer services and a specialist in breast cancer will talk about the changes in breast diagnosis and treatment as well as preventative measures women can do to try to avoid the disease.
Mitchell, a breast cancer survivor of 10 years, will talk about her experience with the disease, her recovery and the affects it had on her life.
"Breast cancer is increasing," Tranakas said. "One in eight women develops the disease in their lifetime and 300,000 women will develop breast cancer in the coming year in the U.S. Of those, 1,300 to 1,500 will be from Broward County."
The reasons for the increase in breast cancer are due in part to better diagnostic techniques for detecting the disease.
"Now that we have better methods of screening people for the disease, we find more breast cancers, but we are also detecting the disease earlier and that is import for the recovery and survival of the patient," Tranakas said.
"We also see more and more younger women developing breast cancer," Tranakas said.
The reasons the oncologist said that younger women are developing the disease are environmental, genetic, hormonal and obesity.
"Obesity is a factor because obese people have an over exposure to estrogen," he said. "We also see that Vitamin D deficiency is a cause. If we spot the Vitamin D deficiency and put the patient on a weight loss program we can sometimes avoid the disease."
For women that develop the disease, new technologies allow better survival rates and less invasive treatments.
"We have clinical trials with newer medications and breast cancer vaccines for advanced breast cancer," Tranakas said. "The future of treatment in the surgical field is more minimally invasive, doing lumpectomies instead of mastectomies whenever possible."
Other new breast cancer treatments include less radiation.
"We now are starting to use targeted radiation cutting down the amount of time and sessions of radiation to five days instead of six to seven weeks," Tranakas said.
The oncologist said that physicians and scientists are looking at the "biological behavior" of cancer and using it to decide what patients need chemotherapy.
"Who does and who does not need chemotherapy following the disease can sometimes be determined by a protein pattern of the cancer, a thumbprint of the disease," Tranakas said. "Some cancers are at low risk for reoccurrence and chemotherapy is not necessary for the biological behavior of some cancers."
Mitchell said she underwent two rounds of chemotherapy after her lumpectomy 10 years ago.
She was 46 when she was told she had the disease. She underwent treatment at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami.
"I think it's important for people to know that they can survive breast cancer but that the treatment and recovery is extensive," Mitchell said.
Mitchell said she underwent nearly a year of actual treatment and 11 weeks of radiation. The advances in treatment described by Dr. Tranakas are aimed at shortening the treatment and recovery from the disease.
"It took a full four years for my hair to grow back in a style that wasn't frizzy and more like myself," Mitchell said.
Today, Mitchell said she feels great and maintains excellent nutrition and takes vitamins.
"Time is your enemy," Mitchell said. "Survivors go on to live full lives, but you have to go to your doctor for your yearly mammograms."
For more information about breast cancer and for the dinner catered by Café Emunah kosher restaurant, call 954-568-1190. Tickets are $36. The event will take place at the synagogue located at 3500 N. Ocean Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun