By John Cerretani
On Thursday, Feb. 23, Dr. Camelia Lawrence, a breast surgeon at St. Vincent’s Hospital and an advocate for women’s health, will be speaking at Sacred Heart University to spread information on breast cancer awareness and explain the importance of early breast cancer screenings.
Sacred Heart released a statement on the event, titled “Breast Cancer Awareness in the 21st Century,” highlighting Dr. Lawrence as the key speaker.
“A fellowship trained breast surgeon and a staunch advocate of women’s health. Her passion and expertise are an invaluable resource to women in the community,” said Sacred Heart in the statement.
Sacred Heart’s College of Nursing and the SHU Faith Community Nurse Program is sponsoring the event in order to spread awarness and encourage early screenings for students.
“Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, and every woman has approximately a 1 in 37 or 2.7% chance of getting breast cancer,” said Dr. Sue Goncalves, an assistant professor in the Sacred Heart School of Nursing. “Since 2007, the breast cancer rates have decreased in older women, whereas they have increased in younger women.”
According to breastcancer.org, breast cancer rates have significantly decreased in the past 15 years, especially in women under 50 years of age. However, about one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
The website reported that in 2016, 30% of all cancers diagnosed in women were some form of breast cancer.
“Breast cancer does not discriminate,” said Goncalves. “It affects females, as well as males, of all ages. Health promotion and education regarding early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer has never been a more relevant topic.”
The United States began seeing a decrease in breast cancer diagnoses and according to breastcancer.org, the studies show that this could be directly related to a decrease in hormone replacement therapy and an
increase in screenings.
The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 252,710 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States and approximately 40,610 women will die it.
Women advocates like Lawrence want to educate women at a younger age so breast cancer may be preventable in the future.
“Breast cancer has a high survival rate after five years, however breast cancer tends to come back later in life,” said graduate student Mike Lembo, a student in the School of Health Sciences. “Patients have been known to go back into remission in a 20-year period. Therefore, frequent checkups are needed to avoid future complications.”
The event will take place at 2 p.m. in the Cambridge Commons.