Early detection of breast cancer

October is breast cancer awareness month and calls attention to a serious fact in Louisiana:   breast cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in the state and the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women, according to LSU Health New Orleans’ Louisiana Tumor Registry.  

The registry reports that African American women in Louisiana have significantly higher incidence and mortality rates than their national counterparts. The finding is consistent with the state’s ranking among the worst in the country for health disparities. Black women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and often do not have available treatment options, serving as a disadvantage for Black and minority populations.

“Minority and Black women are disproportionally affected by and die from aggressive forms of cancer, such as triple negative breast cancer, because they have different density in their breast tissue,” said LaKeisha Williams, Pharm.D., R.Ph, Clinical Associate Professor, Division of Clinical and Administrative Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana, an LCRC member institution.

Dr. Williams explains that “2D mammograms may not necessarily see tumors women may have. 3D mammograms allow us to see breast tissue better and show different angles of what may be hidden.”

Dr. Williams is collaborating with LCRC partner LSU Health New Orleans in a clinical trial, called TMIST, which aims to increase breast cancer screenings and inclusive participation in clinical trials. The trial compares the effectiveness of 2D mammography versus 3D mammograms. The goal of breast cancer screening is to find breast cancer early when it may be easier to treat. Researchers hope to find out if 3-D mammograms, called Tomosynthesis, are better than 2-D mammography for breast cancer screening.

Standard 2-D mammography takes pictures from two sides of the breast to create a flat image. 3-D mammography images are taken from different angles around the breast and then built into a 3-D-like image.

According to Dr. Augusto Ochoa of the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center at LSU Health New Orleans and Codirector of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, investigators hope to enroll over 100,000 women around the world for the five-year study.  Cost of mammograms are covered by insurance but if a woman does not have insurance, Medicaid would cover the cost for them.

Participating Louisiana sites and contact information to enroll in the TMIST trial can be accessed here. Additional information is available on the National Cancer Institute's website.

Breast Cancer Awareness Events

Louisiana Cancer Research Center member institutions are hosting several events during October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please check this page regularly for updates.

Oct. 20 - Shreveport

Saints Watch Party & Give Back Night at Twisted Root Burger Co., Shreveport, 6 – 10 pm. Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport – Feist-Weiller Cancer Center is partnering with Twisted Root Burger Co. and Great Raft Brewing to host a watch party for the Saints vs. Cardinals game. Proceeds will benefit breast cancer programs at Feist-Weiller.

Oct. 22 - Monroe

Walk-In Mammogram Clinic at Ochsner LSU Health – Monroe Medical Center. Women are invited to visit Monroe Medical Center to receive their annual mammogram. No appointment needed. 8am-3pm

Oct. 28 – Online

Breast Cancer Screening Webinar: Friday, Oct. 28 @ 11 a.m. central - LSU Health New Orleans Radiologists Brooke Morrell and Mignonne Morrell will join LaKeisha Williams, Pharm.D., R.Ph, Clinical Associate Professor, Division of Clinical and Administrative Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana, for a webinar on breast cancer and the TMIST mammogram comparison clinical trial. Sponsored by the LCRC and the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living. Register here.

Oct. 24 – 29 – Baton Rouge

Ochsner Baton Rouge “Mammo Week” – Ochsner Baton Rouge offers “Mammo Week 2022,” a series of fun and informative events from Monday, Oct. 24 through Saturday, Oct. 29. Mammo Week will conclude on Saturday, October 29th at OMC – The Grove with the inaugural “Massages and Mammos” celebration in partnership with American Cancer Society from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, please visit www.mammoweek.org.

Oct. 28-29 – New Orleans

2022 Ochsner Multidisciplinary Cancer Update: https://education.ochsner.org/upcoming-events/cancer-update  Ritz Carlton, 921 Canal St., New Orleans

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