INTERVIEW: Fighting breast cancer

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – More than 200,000 women were told they had breast cancer this year. One study found the rate of breast cancer is 2% higher, in the Richmond area. Now the National Breast Cancer Coalition said its goal is to stamp out breast cancer by January 1st 2020. Is that a realistic goal? Joining me now is Dr Catherine Hendrickson from Senior Connections.

DIANE: That's eight year now. We're talking about stomping out this ravishing disease. Is that realistic? Is it possible?

HENDRICKSON: We feel that it is possible. Now I want to stress that this fantastic, wonderful campaign is the project of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and of course Senior Connections is supportive of this campaign. But the reason it's possible is that they have a very bright collaborative strategic effort of bringing together research scientists, oncologists, scientifically knowledgeable patients and...

DIANE: What would be the public's role? How do you make that happen? Is it through mammograms? Is that one of the tools for early detection?

HENDRICKSON: Early detection is important but the National Breast Cancer Coalition is using, you know, gathering together in various ways of the scientist, et cetera. But all of us, you know, ordinary women can play our part by getting our mammogram every year if you're 40 and over. And at Senior Connections, which is the area agency on ageing, our program, which is funded by Susan G. Komen, we say women keep getting your mammograms. If you are 55, if you're 65, if you're 70 and you're in good health, keep getting your mammograms. Because mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early. Detect it early and receive treatment. 95% of women survive five years or more if they detect it. That is an incentive. Find out, and take care of it. Honestly, our program, Focused 50 Plus, we're heartbroken when we see these youngish women dying, not getting a chance to raise their children, not raising their grand children and this is the problem in the greater Richmond area.

DIANE: You're message today, you are pushing mammograms. At what age?

HENDRICKSON: From 40 on up; 40 and over get an annual mammogram. They are readily available all over. Our program can tell people how to afford them.

DIANE: Thank you for joining us today and sharing this important information.


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