NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Archive for October, 2015

Annual Celebration Raises Awareness for Breast Reconstruction

bradayEach year, more than 230,000 new breast cancer cases are diagnosed in the United States. In terms of treatment options, many women choose to undergo a double mastectomy, but less than a quarter of those women are aware of their reconstruction options.

Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, or BRA Day, was established nationally four years ago, and Carolyn De La Cruz, M.D., championed the cause locally in Pittsburgh with the support of the Department of Plastic Surgery and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. As an assistant professor of plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. De La Cruz specializes in  breast reconstruction, so the cause is close to her heart.

The annual event at the Andy Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh’s North Side combines beautiful art, delicious food and a fun atmosphere. The major highlight of the evening is the art show, which featured 16 mannequins rendered by local artists in support of BRA Day. Each one depicts an artist’s individual perspective on the journey women take to breast reconstruction. The mannequins were sold in a silent auction, and the proceeds support  breast reconstruction awareness initiatives. (more…)

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Teen Girls Learn Physics, and Valuable Life Lessons, on the Ice

skatingVonda Wright, M.D., recently welcomed 56 young girls to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry as part of the Carnegie STEM Girls “Tour Your Future” program. Coordinated by the Carnegie Science Center, the program encourages girls to further explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by introducing them to female professionals across a variety of fields.

Middle and high school girls of all ages were buzzing with excitement as they arrived for an afternoon of learning and ice skating. They learned about the physics of ice skating from Dr. Wright and then practiced what they learned on one of the complex’s newly constructed ice rinks.

“Dr. Wright not only showed our girls how physics principles can be related to everyday activities, but gave them a glimpse into how science is used to improve athletic performance,” said Holly Fritz, Carnegie STEM Girls program manager. (more…)

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Adults, Children with Sleep Sensitivities May Find Time Change Disruptive

????????????????????????????????????????The average person spends one-third of his or her life — or about 20-plus years –  sleeping. This Sunday, many will gain an hour as clocks are “set back” to standard time from Daylight Savings Time.

But some adults and children with sleep sensitivities may find the change disruptive.

“If you’re the parent of a baby who is getting up at 6 a.m., it means he will now awake at 5 a.m.,” says Mehrdad Ghaffari, M.D., a sleep expert with UPMC Altoona Sleep Center in the Station Medical Center. “A child isn’t like a clock that you can instantaneously change. However, the transition can be made easier with good sleep hygiene and some adjustments to the family schedule in the days preceding and following the switch.” (more…)

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Radiologist Says Mammography Important for Finding Breast Cancer Early

BERG_WENDIE_MD_PHD_R_20141028The American Cancer Society recently announced new guidelines for when women should get a screening mammography for breast cancer. The announcement has led to some confusion for women about what is best for them.

Wendie Berg, M.D., Ph.D., is a radiologist, specializing in breast imaging at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and a professor of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She provides some information below about when and why women should get mammograms.

Q: Do I need a mammogram before I turn 45?

A: Yes. The entire reason we screen for breast cancer is to find it EARLY, when most treatable and survivable. Breast cancer is the number one cause of death in women aged 35 to 54 years. Mammography has been proven to reduce deaths due to breast cancer in women screened beginning at age 40.  We know that 25 percent of all years of life lost to breast cancer occur in women diagnosed before the age of 45.

We also know that some women who are considered at a  “high risk” for breast cancer due to known or suspected disease-causing mutation (such as BRCA1 or BRCA2) should begin screening at least by age 30, to include MRI. (more…)

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