WPMG Newsletter, Volume 7, Issue 1 -- 1/1/2010
In the past 3 months since we initiated our blog, we’ve had many examples of how valuable it can be for our patients to get timely information. As the H1N1 flu has been spreading throughout our community, we have posted on how to prevent infection, on when and where Santa Clara County vaccination clinics took place, and when we received the vaccine in our office. Although we called our pregnant patients when we had H1N1 news, the process was slow, inefficient and left out large numbers of other high risk patients. Our blog solves many of those problems.
Other topics have included comments on the USPTF mammogram guidelines, risks of oral contraceptives, announcements of local medical conferences, and research studies in which you can participate on breast cancer, endometriosis, and preterm labor. Whenever we are aware of news that might be of interest to our patients, we will post a blog at
We now offer 3 ways to be notified when we post a blog.
1) Become a Facebook fan. Sign onto your Facebook account and search for Women Physicians Ob/Gyn.
2) Follow us on Twitter. Sign onto your Twitter account and search for us under Women Physicians Ob-Gyn.
3) Join our blog e-mail list. Send an e-mail to email@example.com and request that your e-mail address be added to the blog list. This list is secure and will not be used for any purposes other than notifying you when a blog is posted.
As a launch for our new page on Facebook, we are offering a drawing for our premier fans. All you have to do is sign onto our WPMG page and post a brief comment telling us what you like best about Women Physicians Ob-Gyn. You can do this by signing onto your Facebook account and searching for Women Physicians Ob/Gyn or click the link below.
All of our “fans” who post comments by 2/1/2010 will be eligible for a drawing of a $25 Macy’s gift certificate.
By Jessie K. Jacob, MD
Director of Breast Imaging and Intervention
El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, California
There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the new guidelines proposed by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). With all the proposed changes, many women are uncertain on how to proceed. As a specialist in Breast Imaging and Intervention, I hope to shed some light and provide clarity.
Unfortunately, the statistics speak for themselves. Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of death for women in the United States1. In fact, one in eight women develop breast cancer. These astounding facts are the reason that there has been a substantial push for mammography in the past few decades. Mammography has been the only screening tool that has shown a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality in breast cancer.
The current recommendations established by the American Cancer Society and shared by numerous national organizations recommend yearly mammograms beginning at the age of 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
However, the USPSTF recently proposed that women between the ages of 40-49 and 75 and older should not routinely do mammography but discuss the option of doing mammography with their physician while taking into account the benefits and risks. Mammographic screening was only encouraged for high risk women between the ages of 40-49. In addition, it was proposed that women between the ages of 50-74 should do mammograms every two years instead of annual mammography. Lastly, breast self examination was discouraged.
The American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology do not support these new guidelines.
25% of the new cases of invasive breast cancer are found to be in women younger than the age of 502. These women often have more aggressive disease with a higher mortality rate. In addition, the majority of breast cancers are not associated with family history. Therefore, if only high risk women between the ages of 40-49 are screened, then a significant number of aggressive breast cancers would be missed.
For women between the ages of 50-74, doing ANNUAL mammography has been shown to reduce mortality the greatest. Tiny cancers that are not visible on a mammogram one year may become visible by the next year but result in a higher stage of cancer in two years. Annual mammography finds smaller tumors while they are treatable. In addition, doing annual mammography reduces needless workup of questionable findings.
The risk of breast cancer increases with age. Women over the age of 70 have the highest probability of developing breast cancer1. There is no reason to discontinue annual mammography after the age of 74 as long as a woman is willing to undergo treatment in the event that a cancer is found.
Women at high risk for breast cancer may benefit from an earlier initiation of mammography and consider screening Breast MRI to supplement annual mammography.
If a detected cancer is less than 2 cm in size and remains local, then the survival rate is over 98%1. The key to early detection is annual mammography, routine clinical breast exams and monthly breast self-exams.
Regardless of age, each person with the guidance of their physician should consider their individual circumstance. However, there is a clear benefit to having annual mammography with minimal risk. The bottom line is that mammography can potentially find cancers early while they are treatable.
Please also refer to the "Learn the Facts about Mammography Screening" panel discussion presented at El Camino Hospital on December 15, 2009 for more details.
1 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2009
2 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2005.
Survival and Treatment Cost
by Stage of Diagnosis,
American Cancer Society
One of the difficult issues surrounding mammography for women in the 40s is the fact that their breasts are denser and therefore the mammograms are less able to pick up early breast cancers. Unfortunately, women with the most dense breasts are 4x as likely as women with the least dense breasts to actually develop a cancer. In other words, women with dense breasts are at a high risk yet the mammogram is not a very good screening technique for them. So what is one to do?
First of all, digital mammography does provide an advantage over film screen mammography when it comes to dense breasts. Be sure you are having that technique. Secondly, for very high risk cases, MRI can increase the breast cancer detection rate, but with many more false positive results, and a cost that is greater than 10x the cost of a mammogram. Finally, breast ultrasound can be used as a complementary technique. Though it is not currently recommended for screening due to the high rate of false positives, ongoing research may expand its usefulness. Thermography is not a recommended screening technique as findings tend to be inconclusive. Talk with your physician at WPMG to assess your individual risk of breast cancer and decide which screening techniques would be best for you.
Good news may be on the way. A completely new breast screening technique called molecular breast imaging (MBI) which uses “gamma cameras” is being evaluated. It appears to be sensitive even for dense breasts. It is not yet clinically available, but the doctors at WPMG are always on the lookout for new and better techniques.
Dr. Katherine Sutherland Presents
Are you a parent of a teen or young adult? Pamela Carlton, MD offers a free ongoing educational program for parents of teens and young adults. This program focuses on topics around nutrition, exercise and the psychological health of teens and young adults. The sessions are held on the first Tuesday of each month from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Dr. Carlton’s office in Melchor Pavilion, 2490 Hospital Dr., Suite 205, Mt. View, CA 94040.
Dr. Katherine Sutherland of Women Physicians Ob-Gyn has been invited to speak on the topic of Teen Sexuality on the first Tuesday in February, 2/2/2010 at 7:00 pm. Come and learn what is the reality of sexuality in this age group. Are you sending the right messages? Asking the right questions? What are the risks? STDs? Pregnancy? Sexting? There will be adequate time for questions and interaction.
For more information on Dr. Carlton’s program, including topics of upcoming sessions, please go to www.doctorcarlton.com. You can also send an email with questions or requests for future topics to education@doctorcarlton.
By Danean Gallaher
HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s a time of new beginnings and a fresh start to your year. This is a time when many of us take stock of our lives and decide to make a New Years’ resolution. The most common resolution has been to shed unwanted pounds, but perhaps you have something different in mind. Maybe you want to go back to school, change professions, take ballroom dancing lessons, or join the local gym. Whatever your resolution is, it’s very important that you practice healthy self-care along the way. Taking care of your health and making your own needs a priority will positively impact your ability to succeed.
Some examples of healthy self-care are eating right, exercising regularly, getting eight hours of sleep each night, and spending quality time with friends and family. What you may not immediately consider as healthy self-care is taking the time to look good. Paying attention to your outward appearance directly affects how you feel about yourself.
The average American woman is said to see her reflection 55 times daily! That means 55 opportunities to react either positively or negatively to her own appearance. That can be quite a confidence booster or confidence buster. Even small changes in your personal image can transform your self-confidence and uplift your life. When you take the time to look good it will actually make you feel better. And when you feel better, your self-esteem is ignited, your confidence will get a lift, and you will feel more capable to tackle that New Year’s resolution.
Your personal image is so much more then hair, makeup and clothing. Looking great and feeling great can actually have an impact on your health. Studies have shown that there is a direct link to expediting a woman’s recovery from illness when she is encouraged to spruce up and do her hair and makeup. Ever notice that when you are recovering from being sick you feel like taking a warm bath and putting on fresh clothes? Why do we do this? Because it makes us feel better. The actual term for this is “Appearance Related Side Effects” and it has been used in health programs dealing with stroke, cancer, and even domestic violence victims. It’s as if paying attention to our physical appearance triggers something deep inside us that raises our self-esteem, elevates our mood and is healing.
So, this year remember that practicing healthy self-care includes taking the time to look your best. It’s good for your self-esteem, your confidence and most importantly your health.
· First and foremost remember that self-care is not self-ish
· Wear colors that compliment your eyes, skin tone, hair and personality
· Try current make-up tips
· Update your hairstyle
· Practice good posture
· Brighten your smile
· Wear clothes that are the right proportion, fit and style
· Clear your closet of items that are not your style, personal colors or no longer fit
· Wear clothes that accentuate the positive and camouflage the challenges
· Appreciate and embrace the body you have today
· Smile, it’s your best asset
Information on this website is for educational and reference purposes only and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice.
Copyright © 2010
Women Physicians Gyn Medical Group