June 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Breast Cancer Five-Year Survival Rate is 99%!

(Courtesy of SMGH) “They can’t blame this one on us,” said George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison at St. Mary’s General Hospital. “The first mention of cancer of any kind was a case of breast cancer documented in Egypt around 1600 BCE.1 An ancient text found in 1860 in an Egyptian tomb described eight cases of tumors or ulcers of the breast, and doctors said there is no treatment Now, we all know that Yosef became Viceroy of Mitzrayim in 2229 (1532 BCE) and in 2238 (1523 BCE) Yaakov and family went to Mitzrayim. So cancer was discovered before the Jews even got there.”

Still, we must have taken it out of Egypt, since some specific changes, or mutations, in BRCA12 and BRCA2 genes occur more frequently in Jews (in particular Ashkenazi) than in the general population. These mutations increase the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast and ovarian in women and breast and prostate in men. (Yes, men can get breast cancer.) About one out of every 40 individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry has a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, as compared to one out of every 800 members of the general population, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And 95% of all breast cancers in the U.S. occur in women 40 and older.

But it doesn’t have to be fatal, and in fact breast cancer deaths have been declining since 1990 thanks to early detection, better screening, increased awareness and new treatment options. However, the COVID pandemic has caused delays in diagnosis and treatment. Now that restrictions are more lenient, women need to get

regularly screened for breast cancer, where you have a 47% lower risk of dying from the disease compared to those who don’t.3 With proactive early screenings, breast cancer is very treatable. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate is 99% when found early and confined to a localized area. The critical first step is self-examination, and you can follow the five-step program for doing a breast exam on Breastcancer.org.4 Women 40 and over should also have an annual mammogram.

When you are fighting breast cancer, you need a support team—family and friends to help when and where needed. You also need a whole team of medical experts and state-of-the-art equipment to win the battle. And since our community is more at risk for cancer in general and specifically breast cancer, the Cancer Center at St. Mary’s General Hospital is here to help.5

“Our cancer center is one of the best in the tri-state area,” said Edward J. Condit, CEO of St. Mary’s General Hospital. “Some of our cancer fighting tools include PET/CT, traditional and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, colonoscopy, 3D mammography, breast ultrasound and stereotactic breast biopsy. Lung cancer screening and a wide variety of tests and expertise for cancers of the blood are also available.

“We provide many other radiation therapy options, including the most advanced procedures and treatment technology available—TrueBeam® Radiotherapy, RapidArc® volumetric arc therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and image-guided therapy (IGRT). And, of course, the experts involved with this technology to diagnose and treat our cancer patients.”

The multimillion-dollar TrueBeam® Radiotherapy System offers patients treatment that is powerful and precise, minimizing damage to surrounding tissue and in some cases offering treatment in less than five visits. TrueBeam® is noninvasive and painless—no incisions or surgery, fast and effective treatment—higher doses of radiation means most treatments can be given in just minutes a day in fewer treatments; precise treatment—the tumor is treated in real time and targeting the tumor is done with pinpoint precision. Every tumor is different, and TrueBeam® can shape the radiation beam to match the size and form of most tumors accurately, regardless of the shape. TrueBeam® is used in eight of the top 10 cancer hospitals in the United States.6

“Our entire kehilla comes out to support those with cancer, or any ailment,” said Matyjewicz. “My wife, Phyllis, and I have helped wherever and whenever we could. In one case, Phyllis had the youngest girl in a family of seven children over every Sunday to hang out, bake, cook or just talk. She is still known as “Smommy”—Sunday Mommy. I have taken patients to various treatment centers. And it is always joyful when we all learn that the cancer is in remission.”

While we were joking about the origin of cancer and our experience in Mitzrayim, we are serious about breast cancer awareness and October being an ideal time to get tested. Call your physician now and get a script and then call 973-365-4450 to schedule a mammogram or sonogram.

To learn more visit us at: https://www.smh-nj.com/our-services/cancer-center/ or to make an appointment please call: 973-365-4450, or email [email protected].

St. Mary’s General Hospital—nationally recognized, locally preferred—among the top hospitals in America for health, quality and patient safety. A center of excellence for maternal-child, the hospital has over 550 physicians and 1,200 employees, with every staff member committed to providing respectful, personalized, high-quality care to satisfy patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has had more Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country, including a “Top 15 Healthcare System” by Truven Health Analytics. To learn more about St. Mary’s General Hospital visit https://www.smh-nj.com/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.

For more information, please contact George Matyjewicz, PhD, Community Liaison at [email protected]

1 https://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/a-brief-history-of-breast-cancer

2 BReast CAncer 

3 American College of Radiology. “New Study Cements Fact That Mammography is a Primary Factor in Reduced Breast Cancer Deaths” 2019.

4 https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam

5 https://jewishlink.news/monthly-sections/health-link-new/39014-the-new-cancer-center-featuring-truebeam-radiotherapy-system-at-st-mary-s-general-hospital  or https://www.smh-nj.com/our-services/cancer-center/

6 US News & World Report’s 2016-2017 “Best Hospitals for Cancer.”

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