Tag Archive | Angelina Jolie

Part 3: How the Recent “Devastating News” About Angelina Jolie is Exposing Another “Silent Killer”

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Part 3:  How the Recent “Devastating News” About Angelina Jolie is Exposing Another “Silent Killer”

 That’s right, the recent devastating news on Angelina Jolie is shedding light on a seldom discussed but “silent killer” of women:

  • It is the 7th most common cancer for women in the world.
  • It generally attacks women between ages 50 and 59.
  • In 75% of the cases it is advanced beyond the early stages.

What is this less commonly discussed cancer killer?  Ovarian cancer has a lifetime risk of 1.6% of women with no family history.  This increases to 5% in women with a family history.  In women without an increased risk by way of family history, testing will only predict its occurrence 3% of the time! 

So what does Angelina Jolie’s breast cancer risk have anything to do with ovarian cancer?  There is a known increase in incidence of ovarian cancer in women who develop breast cancer.  In women who test positive for the BRCA gene mutation (the most commonly discussed  breast cancer family gene), the risk can be as high as 46% lifetime probability of ovarian cancer.  And what this means for someone like Angelina Jolie is not only is she at an increased risk of developing breast cancer had she not undergone surgery, but she also carries an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, too.

Beyond the scope of our discussion are the treatment controversies in women before menopause (around age 50) as well as after menopause concerning blocking natural hormone effects to decrease breast cancer development.  But what is clear is in this small group of women who have an increased risk for either breast and/or ovarian cancer, they must undergo close surveillance and sometimes very aggressive treatment.

But what about most women who do not have a family gene for breast or ovarian cancer?  The worry running through most women’s minds is what should they do.  One of the biggest problems identified in the last article was that women, even at lower risk for developing breast cancer, are not compulsive enough with starting base line mammograms at age 40 and following through with annual screening that has been shown to catch breast cancer earlier than without screening alone.  The real question that many may be asking is what about ovarian cancer itself.  This is very difficult, because in many ways, like PSA testing in men for prostate cancer, the current basic tumor marker testing combined with ultrasound, is better at telling women that they don’t have it (which is most women) than predicting that they will get it.  On the other side of the argument is that many unnecessary surgeries and interventions for removing ovaries and blocking estrogen receptors, would not only diminish the quality of a woman’s life, but may also have its own set of risks including osteoporosis and earlier heart disease.

So, what resources do women have when they are not at increased risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer and yet still want to be sure that the type of hormonal therapy that they’re receiving is actually more beneficial than risky.  One of the main reasons that individual hormonal expert consultation is required before the initiation of any hormonal regiment, including that of replacing female hormones, is seeing what would help a woman and not put her at increased risk.  In fact, I even see women who have been treated for breast cancer or are at increased risk, and have custom tailored the therapy to reduce risk and increase benefit.   One of the benefits of concierge medicine is that you can deliver a “personalized approach” and ultimately create a quality of life for women so that they can enjoy their daily relationships, activities and optimism toward a healthier lifestyle.

Dedicated to your Body Hormone Transformation,

George F Moricz, MD

P.S.  – If you have missed any news about free giveaways and more, you definitely need to contact us by email:  info@bodyhormonebalance.com, or “like” us on facebook  www.facebook.com/bodyhormonebalance

P.P.S. – Whether you are an e-book/kindle reader or love paperback, please go to www.hormoneblueprint.com.  If you are having trouble finding Body Hormone Balance Revolution in your local bookstore, please call Alicia at (903)306-2215 to discover all the anti-aging secrets of the Body Hormone Balance program and why your transformation is closer than you really think.

P.P.S. – For those that are more intrigued than ever about how natural hormonal therapy could benefit them without increasing risks of certain cancers, be sure to call Alicia at (903) 306-2215 for your very own individualized assessment and hormonal replacement plan.

 

 

 

 

 

Should All Women Be Tested For Hereditary Breast Cancer – Like Angelina Jolie?

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The spotlight is on preventive mastectomy (removal of breasts), which was recently highlighted by Angelina Jolie.  After testing for the genetic breast cancer gene and  her mother’s history of breast cancer from which she died at age 56, Angelina has brought much needed attention to the QUESTION – Should all women be tested for hereditary breast cancer? 

First, a word or two about breast cancer.  Every year 207,000 invasive breast cancer cases are diagnosed in the United States.  40,000 women are reported to die from breast cancer every year.  Risks include age, genetics and use of estrogens with synthetic progestin.  85% of cases are found in women age 50 and above.

With all the attention on breast cancer cases, it is well documented that most are spontaneous cases – which means that they arise on their own.  Women have a 12% risk of developing breast cancer throughout their lifetime, if they do not have the genes for breast cancer.  This can be as high as 60% if they have the breast cancer gene.  Women who have a family history, but no evidence of the genetic cancer gene, have an elevated risk over twice that of the normal population.

Since over 90% of the cases are spontaneous (occur on their own and are not related to breast cancer genes) and 6% of cases are related to genetic breast cancer genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2, this calls into question whether everyone should be tested.  There has been a breast cancer model that is designed to predict risk of breast cancer but has many limitations.  And then there is the reality that many women, regardless of family history, do not get tested in time, if at all, for breast cancer.

So, today, I will do an overview of these issues and in a following discussion look at breast cancer screening itself.  As a start, it is well known that there are different ways to screen for breast cancer and most societies recommend starting at age 40 unless there are histories that would require earlier screening.  Follow up tests when the initial screening mammogram is abnormal can involve ultrasound or more detailed imaging studies like MRI.  There has been much debate on the frequency of testing with mammograms, with arguments as to whether it is needed every year or every 2 years.  Clinical experience by doctors like myself has seen people become diagnosed within a year of having a normal mammogram.  So in our next discussion, we’ll look in a more detailed way at the way mammograms as the current mainstay compared to other imaging modalities that have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

So with all the attention on Angelina’s decision to have her breasts removed because of the breast cancer gene, the takeaway message is that breast cancer screening is still recommended for people without known family history or breast cancer genes.  And more importantly, because this is a cancer that strikes middle aged women, complications of breast cancer are highly preventable and manageable with implemented screening.  Ultimately, the decision for reducing breast cancer complications comes down to the relationship of the woman and her physician.  A good start would be a frank discussion about concerns of breast cancer screening and reasons that a woman would not want to do it at a certain time in her life.  Oftentimes having a mammogram every 1 – 2 years after age 40 becomes the issue and often presents with newly diagnosed cases outside of that window when a woman decides not to have regular follow up screening mammograms.

So as a great deal of attention is being directed toward the breast cancer gene, which for a select group of people is very, very devastating and may increase not only breast cancer but ovarian cancer risk, many women never get to undergo proper screening and may needlessly be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and die from this disease.  In the next few discussions, we’ll not only discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different types of breast imaging, but also look at the prevention and screening for ovarian cancer as well.

Dedicated to Excellence in Women’s Health,

George F. Moricz, MD

Diplomat of American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology

 

P.S.  Also, I almost forgot to mention that we have added new services to benefit women in the Arklatex even more.  Please remind us when you come in to see us.

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