Hospital hosts breast cancer awareness event

Dr. Kenneth Mason, of Woodstock Surgical Clinic, talks about breast cancer during an event at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital on Thursday afternoon. Kaley Toy/Daily

WOODSTOCK – The Give Cancer the Boot breast cancer awareness event was held at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital on Thursday afternoon.

Joyce Dunlap, breast health navigator for ValleyHealth, said, “This is a lovely event for our breast cancer survivors. I’m excited about being a part of it.”

Carol Weare, public relations manager for Valley Health, said, “The event usually attracts a good crowd to socialize and learn more about breast cancer, early detection and treatment options, with lots of fellowship between survivors and those touched by cancer.”

The lobby of the surgical center at the hospital was filled with people hoping to learn more about breast cancer.

Dr. Kenneth Mason, of Woodstock Surgical Clinic, spoke to participants about how breast cancer is now being treated and on what increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer.

“The risk of breast cancer goes up the older you get,” Mason said.

Some factors that contribute to developing breast cancer are genetics, age, age during pregnancy, nursing your child and hormone replacement therapy.

New studies have aided doctors who treat breast cancer, and Mason said some advancements have allowed patients to complete treatment with less pain and deformity. He said the incision size for tumor removal has greatly diminished over the years, allowing for less deformity and reconstructive surgery. He also said fewer women are receiving chemotherapy as better treatments are matched with individuals.

Mason also spoke of how doctors treat their patients with breast cancer.

“People need to be treated as individuals,” he said. Some doctors aren’t prescribing the right treatment for the patient, he said, but every patient needs to be matched up with the correct treatment for their unique circumstances.

With the new guidelines on breast cancer treatment, Mason said that they “are recommendations, not rules.”

Your doctor should “do what’s best for you as an individual,” he added.

After patients leave the hospital, there are people who continue to advise them. Dunlap said that even after treatment and doctor visits are over, she remains a part of a cancer survivor’s life.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com