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September 26, 2006 > Early Detection Saves Lives

Early Detection Saves Lives

Free Class Explores Breast Cancer Diagnosis, New Treatment Options

by Washington Hospital

Breast cancer. Every woman has at some point had these two words flash in her mind. The words themselves carry an ominous weight.

For women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or have a family history of the disease, learning more and having their questions answered by an expert can be among the most powerful tools they have.

On Monday, October 2, Dr. William Dugoni, a surgeon and medical director of Washington Hospital’s Women’s Health Center, will present a free Health & Wellness class about breast cancer, its diagnosis and treatment options.

The class, “Breast Cancer and Self-Breast Examination,” will be held at 1 p.m. at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont, across the street from the main hospital.

To register, call Washington Hospital’s Health Connection line at (800) 963-7070.

“Early diagnosis of breast cancer saves lives,” Dr. Dugoni says. “The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the cure rate is.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women, except for skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as the most common cause of death among women.

When it comes to breast cancer detection and diagnosis, a woman plays a vital role in helping her physician catch problems early by performing monthly self-breast exams and seeing her doctor regularly for appropriate screening measures, according to Dr. Dugoni.

Typically, patients are diagnosed one of two ways, he says. Either they discover a lump or abnormality in their breast tissue when performing monthly self-breast exams or an abnormality is found during their annual routine screening mammogram.

Mammography is a particular type of radiological imaging that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine breasts. Screening mammograms play an integral role in early detection of breast cancers because they can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them.

To find out more about routine mammograms at Washington Hospital or to schedule an appointment, call (510) 791-3410. Mammogram appointments require a physician’s order and referral. During the class, Dr. Dugoni will also discuss surgical and alternative management of breast cancer, as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Those who attend the class will have the opportunity to hear about an innovative breast cancer procedure performed at only a handful of health care centers in the Bay Area. Dr. Dugoni and Dr. Prasad Kilaru, a plastic surgeon and medical director of the hospital’s Outpatient Wound Care Clinic, have partnered to perform breast cancer surgery and following immediately with reconstructive surgery.

Unlike traditional mastectomies, in which the patient wakes up from surgery without any visible breast tissue, Dr. Dugoni performs surgery to remove cancerous tissue and the entire breast, and Dr. Kilaru follows immediately to perform reconstructive surgery.

“The ultimate goal is getting women towards not only physical recovery, but psychological recovery sooner,” Dr. Dugoni says.

To learn more about advances in breast cancer surgery and other women’s health services offered at Washington Hospital, call (510) 797-1111, ext. 4856.

Dr. Dugoni says he would like women and family members to walk away from next Monday’s class knowing the importance of early detection and that breast cancer is curable if detected early enough. To learn more about women’s health services available at Washington Hospital, visit, click on “Services & Programs” and choose “Women’s Health” from the drop-down menu.

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