Innovations in Breast Care Shares the Latest in Cancer Prevention, Treatment Options

“A breast cancer diagnosis does NOT mean you will die.” It’s only part of a chapter…in a long book that you’ll continue to write.”

Just as quickly as the words were spoken…a sense of relief resonated with those who heard it.

Breast Cancer Survivor Jessica Wolfgang and her daughter.

That advice about breast cancer was part of a larger speech by Dr. Micheal Young. Recently, the OSF St. Joseph Medical Center surgeon teamed up with Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Shermian Woodhouse of the Community Cancer Center and Plastic Surgeon Dr. Paige Holt of Twin Cities Plastic Surgery for a free community event called, Innovations in Breast Care.

The informational evening held at Biaggi’s in Bloomington invited community members to learn how area doctors collaborate to beat the disease. That includes diagnosis, surgery, treatment, and breast reconstruction options.

For breast cancer survivor Jessica Wolfgang, the evening wasn’t only inspirational…it was enlightening. “It’s amazing how far treatment has come. I’ve seen a lot of changes,” said the 70-year-old.

Thirty years ago, Wolfgang received the news no woman wants to hear…yet she was grateful.

“The cancer was smaller than a pencil eraser, but picked up on a mammogram,” she explained. “It truly pays to get checked. Early detection helped save my life.”

Others in attendance also agreed with Wolfgang, echoing her proactive thoughts when it comes to their health. Many commented how helpful it was to have an evening where their breast cancer questions could be answered, and fears could be put aside.

Hosted by the OSF St. Joseph Foundation and the OSF St. Joseph Medical Center—Center for Health Lifestyles, takeaways from Innovations in Breast Care included the following:

  • 80% of all breast biopsies turn out to be benign 
  • Exercise helps reduce the risk of breast cancer. (Less fat cells = Less estrogen production = Less breast cancer risk) 
  • Do breast self-checks every month…if not more. 
  • At the age of 40 women without a history of breast cancer should have a mammogram every one to two years. By the time they turn 50, women should be getting a mammogram every year. 
  • Breast reconstruction following a mastectomy can help some women with body image. 
  • The implant(s) will not have the same sensation as a real breast. 
  • Breast reconstruction is covered by Medicare 
  • It’s important to learn about breast reconstruction options and ask questions early on 
  • Strong relationships are often developed with the doctors who provide patients care. 

This event is so important,” said Wolfgang. After all, I’m a survivor—and it’s good to learn the latest breast cancer information. I’m grateful for the doctors who helped me, and did my reconstruction. I want more women to know help out there. They shouldn’t be afraid. This event provided hope.”

Events like Innovations in Breast Care are made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Plastic Surgery Foundation to provide health education to the community.