Paramedics Pink Supports Cancer Research

Captain Tim MacDonald (back row, second from left) and Lieutenant Deanne Chase (back row, fourth from left), Worcester EMS, shared their custom-designed t-shirts, hats and patches with members of the Core Team.

Members of the Worcester Emergency Medical Services team recently attended the Core Team meeting to share how they’ve taken the initiative to raise funds for cancer research with their “Paramedics Pink” project. Lieutenant Deanne Chase and Captain Tim MacDonald, along with staff medics Patrick Ring and Evan Kirby, came up with the idea to incorporate pink into their uniforms during Breast Cancer Awareness month with special patches, t-shirts and baseball hats; make those items available for sale; and donate the proceeds to cancer research at our Medical School. “We met with Chief Haynes in April asking for his blessing on the project,” said Chase. “He couldn’t say yes fast enough.” There’s still time to support the initiative. Patches are $10; hats and t-shirts are $25. Contact Deanne Chase to place your order.

Simply Well: Is 3D Mammography Right for Everyone?

Finding breast cancer at its earliest stage gives you the best chance for a cure. And mammography has long been the gold standard when it comes to screening and early detection of breast lumps long before they can be felt. Three-dimensional (3D) mammography – or breast tomosynthesis – is a revolutionary tool in the fight against breast cancer with its ability to capture even more detailed breast images than traditional two-dimensional (2D) mammograms. However, 2D mammography is still an appropriate option for some women. In this issue of Simply Well, Gopal Vijayaraghavan, MD, director of breast imaging, helps explain which type of mammography is right for you.

Health Watch: Can Breast Implants Hide Breast Cancer?

Women who are having mammograms should be sure to tell the technician if they have breast implants before the test begins. In a recent Health Watch segment, Gopal Vijayaraghavan, MD, director, Division of Breast Imaging, discussed types of breast implants and the challenges they pose during breast cancer screening with mammography. “Implants do not increase the risk of breast cancer, but what really happens is, since implants can obscure the breast tissue, there may be a delay in the diagnosis,” he said.

Q&A with Dr. LaFemina: Learn about Her Calling to Cancer Care

Dr. LaFemina (Worcester Business Journal photo)

Surgical oncologist Jennifer LaFemina, MD, was recently profiled in Central Mass Health, the quarterly health care magazine published by Worcester Business Journal. She said, “The breast cancer population is very special, I find. It’s generally a very educated population who is scared and anxious, yet proactive and I just find particular satisfaction in that group.” Read the article and learn what inspired Dr. LaFemina to become a physician and work with breast cancer patients, as well her current research work with Alliance Trial. Visit our Facebook page to share you feedback and read comments shared by her patients and colleagues.

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month; Schedule a Mammogram Today

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers for women. A mammogram can help detect breast cancer earlier, when the most treatment options are available. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a perfect reminder to take the time and make your health a top priority. Consider the details below when you schedule your mammogram with UMass Memorial Health Care:

  • UMass Memorial Health Care offers 10 convenient mammography locations.
  • Several of our sites feature 3-D mammography, a screening option for women with dense breasts.
  • Breast size is not an indicator of breast density, and a woman’s breast density can change during her lifetime.
  • Tri-River Family Health Center in Uxbridge is our newest site to offer this innovative 3-D technology.
  • Call 855-UMASS-MD or visit our website today to schedule your mammography appointment at a location convenient to you.

Dr. Jennifer LaFemina Expands Clinical Interests to Breast Cancer

Dr. LaFamina

Congratulations to Surgical Oncologist Jennifer LaFemina, MD, who has expanded her clinical practice to the care of patients with breast cancer. In addition to performing surgery for breast cancer patients, Dr. LaFemina specializes in working patients with melanoma and sarcoma cancers and with high-risk pancreatic cancer patients. She sees patients in Worcester on the Memorial and University campuses, and is available for surgical consultations. In addition, she is an assistant professor with the Medical School. For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. LaFemina, call 855-UMASS-MD.

Schedule Your Mammogram Today at One of Our 10 Locations

Making your health a top priority is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself and your loved ones. Having regular mammograms, or encouraging a loved one to have a regular mammogram, is an important part of good health. We have 10 locations throughout our health care system, with many offering evening and Saturday hours. Several of our sites provide 3D mammography, including our facility in Shrewsbury on Julio Drive which was recently upgraded and now provides 3D mammography. See the complete list of locations and hours. Call 855-UMASS-MD to schedule a mammogram or visit our website for more information.

Study Finds Videos Help Cancer Patients to Make Informed Decisions

In a new study conducted by the Medical School, primary care experts have found that videos help patients make more informed decisions about controversial breast and prostate cancer screenings. “People find videos, or basically anything that is story-like, more engaging and ultimately more convincing than materials that simply convey the facts,” said Kathleen Mazor, EdD, professor of medicine, and one of the coauthors of the study. The videos help break the assumption that all cancer screenings are good and allow for an informed decision, rather than jumping into a procedure that may not be the safest option. Learn more about the study.

Health Watch: What Every Breast Cancer Patient Should Know

Lymphedema refers to swelling in an arm or leg, most often occurring in cancer patients. Women who have been treated for breast cancer may be at risk for lymphedema in the arm, breast, chest and shoulder area, especially during the warmer summer months. In this Health Watch, Jennifer Baima, MD, physiatrist, discusses the symptoms and treatment options for lymphedema patients, especially as it relates to breast cancer patients.

Honoring Dr. Quinlan at Pink – Lighting the Way 2015 

pink cardAll are invited to attend Pink – Lighting the Way tomorrow, Thursday, October 1, 6 pm, Albert Sherman Center, University Campus. This emotional event remembers and supports those battling breast cancer. A hallmark of this very inspirational evening will be a special tribute to Robert Quinlan, MD, director of our Comprehensive Breast Center. There is no charge and those interested in attending can register at the door. Free valet parking is also available. Visit the event website for more information and how to purchase votive candles that celebrate the lives of breast cancer patients.