October 2009 MedBytes: Breast Cancer

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Tex Med. 2009;105(10):56.  

As people across the nation observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, physicians should take the opportunity to educate their female patients on preventive measures and to stay updated on the latest treatments for women battling the disease. These Web sites contain news and information on breast cancer prevention and treatment and feature valuable resources for patients.

Texas Medical Association
The Physician Oncology Education Program (POEP) of the Texas Medical Association strives to provide Texas physicians, physicians-in-training, and medical and undergraduate students with the knowledge and skills necessary to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality. The POEP Web site,  www.poep.org , has a link to breast cancer  early detection guidelines  from the American Cancer Society. Also on the site you'll find information on  BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic tests  used to determine hereditary risk of breast, ovarian, and other cancers in women. Spend some time on the Web site, and read up on costs associated with cancer, information on clinical trials, cancer survivorship, and other cancer-related resources.

Dedicated to help women and their families make sense of the complex medical and personal information about breast cancer,  Breastcancer.org  features reliable and up-to-date information about the disease. The site is well-organized and geared toward patients. Categories of resources are  Symptoms & DiagnosisTreatment & Side EffectsDay-to-Day MattersLower Your Risk , and  Community Knowledge . The Day-to-Day Matters portion of the site has practical advice for women with breast cancer regarding paying for health care; managing the emotional, physical, and legal aspects of balancing work and treatment; managing medical records; staying on track with treatment; eating right; and other topics. Treatment & Side Effects guides patients through planning treatment, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal therapies, and other concerns.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Division of Cancer Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site,  www.cdc.gov/cancer , is brimming with resources on preventive cancer screening, cancer control and detection programs, and data on cancer rates by state. The site can be daunting with so many topics to choose. A good starting point is the  Publications  page, where you can download publications online or order printed versions. Next, click  Prevention  for guidelines related to various forms of cancer. Under Types of Cancer, click on  Breast Cancer  for information on free or low-cost mammograms, breast cancer research and statistics, and other resources.

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
In its quest of "Making Cancer History," the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center,  www.mdanderson.org , designates a portion of its Web site for  health care professionals . The  Clinical Tools and Resources  page contains assessment tools, patient referral information, a physician oncology toolkit, and information about training for medical group practices. The  Education and Training  page features quick links to medical education, research training, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the School of Health Professions, and professional education calendars. To access information specific to  breast cancer , from the home page choose Patient and Cancer Information, and then click on Cancer Information to be directed to Cancer Types. The multimedia resources provide interactive guides to breast cancer in younger patients, breast cancer and pregnancy, screening and diagnosis, and personalized medicine. The page also includes patient education materials, as well as related publications and news.

Texas Department of State Health Services
Physicians treating women diagnosed with breast cancer can visit the Texas Department of State Health Services Web site, www.dshs.state.tx.us/bcccs , to access information on referring patients to the  Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer  program and  finding treatment facilities  for women who qualify for the program. The DSHS Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program offers clinical breast examinations, mammograms, pelvic examinations, and Pap tests throughout Texas at no or low cost to eligible women. Partial funding comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. The  Outreach/Education  link on the site will direct you to tools that help you conduct outreach and education in your community to promote low-cost services. Materials also include information on reaching women of color, as research shows higher cancer mortality rates among this population.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, e-mail  Crystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  


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