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08.26.15

New study stokes debate about early-stage breast cancer treatments, shines light on need for primary prevention

  By Breast Cancer Fund Director of Science Sharima Rasanayagam, Ph.D. A new study, published in JAMA Oncology, found that aggressive treatments (surgery followed by radiation therapy) of ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, did not lead to a reduction in death. While the study sparks questions about how DCIS should be classified and treated, ... Read more...

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Rosanne Iversen

Rosanne Iversen

At age 44, living in a small ski town in Colorado, I thought I was living a healthy life but was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer. Most patients are shocked when they hear the diagnosis of cancer and their name in the same sentence. I was no exception to that rule. I am a doctor myself, armed with all the knowledge of medicine, applying that knowledge not only to patients, but to myself. I exercised, limited alcohol use, never smoked, breastfed both of my babies and had five sisters older than me, not one with a diagnosis of breast cancer.

I realized prevention was more than not smoking, maintaining ideal body weight, eating fruits and vegetables and exercising. I started to look more at the skin care products I have used for years. I started to look at the plastic in my world. Not only did I stop heating in plastic, change many skin care products, but I also changed my water bottles too. I buy more organic.

I now talk to my patients about environmental health. Just today, I had a woman come for a visit in my office, to ask me how she can lower her risk for breast cancer. I teach patients on a one-on-one basis but have also spoken to the community about ways to lower breast cancer risk.

We now have the knowledge and ability to make safer products and safer foods. It is my hope we can implement more of these healthier choices on a larger scale, thus creating a healthier world for the next generation. Join me in my goal to spread the word, prevention starts here.