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JENNIFER NAGY: Every month should be Breast Cancer Awareness Month – here’s why

Published on | Eric Brown

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It’s all about pink … all year round was the topic of a recent “The Breast of Everything” podcast featuring Jennifer Nagy of the American Cancer Society. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Eric Brown, MD, breast surgeon with Comprehensive Breast Care, talked with Jennifer about the wealth of free resources the American Cancer Society offers to women and men throughout the entire year.

“Everyone knows or should know that the American Cancer Society is a research organization, in fact, we are second only to the national government when it comes to research,” Jennifer points out.

Since 1946, the American Cancer Society has invested $4.9 billion in cancer research. In the US, approximately $69 million has been invested in breast cancer grants, and in Michigan, $10.1 million went toward the funding of 21 grants for breast cancer.

Jennifer also wants to remind everyone to take advantage of the wealth of resources the American Cancer Society provides.

This is where people will find reliable, credible information – information that will help walk them through their journey. You can find treatment information, nutrition information, financial resources, caregiving resources, a scheduling assistance tool, support groups in your area, and much more.

The American Cancer Society also offers a Reach to Recovery program for newly diagnosed cancer patients. Patients can talk with other patients who can provide information and support.

The American Cancer Society’s call center is open 24/7, 365 days a year. Simply call 1.800.227.2345 or visit the institution’s website at cancer.org.

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Tune in on Apple Podcasts, Google Play,   or listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Comprehensive Breast Care recently launched “The Breast of Everything,” a podcast series designed to serve as a trusted resource for breast health information, support and encouragement.

If you have a subject you would like the surgeons to discuss, please email your ideas to https://compbreastcare.com. The doctors want to hear from you! The views, thoughts and opinions shared in “The Breast of Everything” podcasts are intended for general educational and informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice, treatment or care from your physician or health care provider. Always consult your health care provider first.

Unknown Speaker 0:01
Welcome to the breast of everything podcast, your trusted resource for breast health information, support and encouragement. Your host today is Dr. Eric brown of comprehensive breast care. And welcome.

Unknown Speaker 0:13
Welcome to the breast of everything podcast today. I’m your host, Dr. Eric Brown. I’m so excited to have our first guest, Jennifer. Jennifer is from the American Cancer Society and has been a friend and colleague, and a huge help for me in my practice for over 10 years juncos managers to strategic partnerships cancer control of the American Cancer Society North Central Region, she’s won amorous awards, which she’s been awarded the patrician over sex heart of a survivor award in June of 2009, by communities Cancer Institute, as well as the American Cancer Society CEO award in 2005, as well as many others, and so happy to introduce Jen Nagy, and look forward to having a conversation. Hi, Jen.

Unknown Speaker 1:10
Hi, Dr. Brown.

Unknown Speaker 1:11
How are you? I’m good. How are you? I am just fine. Thank you so much for taking the time to spend with us today. Jen, we know this Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And it’s all about. But I think we need to talk a little bit more than Pete. And I thought what better place to look for support services and resources than the American Cancer Society and newer person that popped into my head? Could you tell us a little bit about what your role was the ACS?

Unknown Speaker 1:46
Sure, and thank you. It’s such an honor. Honestly, I was thrilled to get the invite. And so you know, it’s been a while that I’ve talked to you. So I do want to say, oh, my goodness, it has been a while. But I do want to say you’re right, it is about pink right now. It’s about breast cancer awareness. But there’s so much more happening throughout the whole entire month.

Unknown Speaker 2:06
Um,

Unknown Speaker 2:06
you know, I have started with your cancers i 20, almost 25 years ago. And I have had the opportunity to have different different kinds of roles, with healthcare systems and working with the federally qualified health systems, working with the commission, cancer health systems, all making sure that those hospitals are in a standard of care for their college department, at the same time making sure that the American Cancer Society’s programs and services are being offered. And we’re collaborating together as a unified group,

Unknown Speaker 2:38
with a number of health care systems in the valley to count on you in the American Cancer Society for just that for that support. You started 25 years ago, you must have been 14 when you started.

Unknown Speaker 2:52
I would like to say that Yeah, sure.

Unknown Speaker 2:54
Absolutely. Absolutely. So, you know, obviously, our podcast is focusing on breast and breast cancer instances, October. Obviously, it’s tober, as you would put it, and, you know, most of us cancer, breast cancer providers really don’t like to only because we think everyone has pink, not just one month. So tell us what types of things does the American Cancer Society hold on throughout the year? Obviously, things are going to happen in a more robust fashion in October. But what are the things that people can look for out in the community, just to be aware of cancer and aware of what they can do to help school and prevent late diagnosis.

Unknown Speaker 3:40
First of all, let me even acknowledge that this year specifically has been a key challenging year for us. Typically, in this month of October, we are celebrating several of our Making Strides Against breast cancer events, walk that celebrate survivors that provide education provide resources and information in the community. And we’ve been challenged with that by the fact that we had to do everything virtual. So COVID-19 definitely has a twist to our way of bringing some Breast Cancer Awareness activities and information to the community. We are doing quite a bit of podcasts or social media tags, reminding the women to get their mammogram to get back into screening to make sure that they are following up with their physician and then just really continuing to educate the corporations and the schools and the the churches to make sure we get that basic education now,

Unknown Speaker 4:31
if you experience a decrease or increase in the number of men or even people for that matter that participate in these programs, it’s easier to access by just sitting in front of your computer working harder to get in the car and drive somewhere. So I’m just curious are the turnouts more or turnouts less? Is it harder to get the word out? What have you found?

Unknown Speaker 4:57
We are seeing a little bit of a decline He asked in participation. And actually we’re seeing a decline in funds being raised. And that’s probably one of our biggest obstacles right now. Because, you know, we look for our events and our activity is to bring us the fundraising dollars to help us fund our research programs. And so we’re currently we’re looking at about a 50% decline in cancer reduction versus looking at the New Year, or as we look at research dollars, that’s what we’re currently forecasting.

Unknown Speaker 5:28
So it’s a big, it’s a big hit in terms of funding. It is important,

Unknown Speaker 5:36
it is especially because, you know, Dr. Brad, everyone knows the American Cancer Society as a research organization. And I think that’s important for people to know that we are second to the national government when it comes to research and funding institutions. We have since 1946, invested $4.8 billion 150 grants and $400 million in just breast cancer alone. And so for COVID-19, to take this hit for us even it’s it’s drastic, it’s a drastic head. And we are you know, we’re trying to regroup and we’re trying to identify key leaders in the community to help us gain some momentum, but keep that keep the attitude and energy around us. While we move forward.

Unknown Speaker 6:21
Now, we begin notice in our practice, that no kind of a follow is the lack of screening with mammography centers been closed for over a month. You know, it’s not affecting as many people as it could have if they were close longer. But, you know, certainly you have women that have delayed getting their mammogram. And what we find is that diagnosed with breast cancer, they feel very guilty that they didn’t get the mammogram done, because you know, the lockdown is unlocked, and laboratory centers open up, but we’re in the middle of life, and you can’t get right to it. And so then delays and so we’ve seen that on a day to day basis, just in our practice, with the lack of treatments available.

Unknown Speaker 7:11
Well, I’ll be honest with you, we are looking at an 87% decline in mammography rates right now, based on the data based on people that are going to get their mammograms. So we’re seeing that decrease happen. And we’re hoping to help the hospitals catch back up, but they have to catch up. And then they have the new patients as well. So you know, it’s an obstacle. Absolutely. We want to get them up to date, as well.

Unknown Speaker 7:37
That’s an excellent point. And I remember early in the pandemic, when we kind of had a chance of how long these big time lockdown. So to ask us a question, how do you start screaming again, because like you said, you have the people that are doing for them and mccrane. And then once and potentially, it would have been more months if women that didn’t have them and women need to get in? Well, that could overwhelm the system. You know, a lot of societies were looking at, how do we ration mammography, for that matter,

Unknown Speaker 8:14
you know, and I can actually share my own personal example, I was due for my mammogram in March. And I had to wait and it got postponed. It got postponed until July. But I’m one of those people, though, that I wanted to get in, right. So I’m not waiting. I’m I’m trying to get in as soon as I can. And so I had to wait a few months to get in. But I will say that the safety precautions that the health systems are doing to make sure women and men get and get screened. It’s unbelievable. It’s awesome. It’s just awesome.

Unknown Speaker 8:45
Yeah. And that kind of leads to another question you had in terms of what ECS provides. You know, in big urban areas, there’s a lot of disparity in terms of access to demography, access to care. And what we saw with COVID, how high the mortality rates were in urban areas, because of the disparities or lack of any good ongoing health care for patients that live in those areas. What are we doing? Do we have monography on wheels? Or what are we doing in the cities where people don’t always have access to pages or

Unknown Speaker 9:22
what? Well, I will say that there are some health systems that you work with mammography vans, and they have the opportunity. We also do some are a huge supporter of the breast and cervical cancer control program, which is a state funded program that offers free and reduced mammography for for women. And so you know, we’re just trying to get the word out to make sure that they understand that they can get the information they can get to a mammogram if they need to.

Unknown Speaker 9:49
Great and it’s a great service that’s provided. And I think, you know, if there’s any mission out there, it’s to get the word out to all areas whether it’s something Urban urban high income, low income, no income, you know, cancer isn’t cheap. And the earlier you find something, the less you need to treat that something. Another thing that we see a lot more and more lately, because the cost of health care is going up so much is financial toxicity from cancer treatment. Now the drugs are expensive, surgery is expensive, radiation is expensive. And our co pays and deductibles are going up. So what access is there for patients in terms of financial health during their breast cancer journeys, to put people in touch with

Unknown Speaker 10:46
money even say that, you know, access to information is the number one priority. And so we want to make sure that women men you name at the community gets access to information, which would be through the American Cancer studies, Toll Free 800 number or their website. And so what I would what I would recommend is for if you’re looking for that kind of information, if you’re seeking financial assistance, we have a financial assistance assistance program that helps with national programs, help bridge those gaps. And so I would recommend calling the American Cancer Society, I would recommend calling us or getting on our website and asking for some of those questions. If you’re looking for a support group, if you’re looking for something in the community that you can’t find right now, call us where they are, where they’re 20 473 65.

Unknown Speaker 11:34
And so important, thank you for that information, because it really is very, very critical. And really the best teacher have jobs most of the time. And you can always work every day during the treatment, they need to buy groceries, they have kids that need to send the kids to school to daycare, and we know that there are resources that are available for them. This is such a huge, huge part of the puzzle in putting together a treatment plan because you know, US doctors, we we kind of get tunnel vision into what’s the best surgery, what’s the best treatment after surgery. And sometimes we lose sight of the fact that you know, there’s a patient that’s a mom, or a wife or partial earner in the family or full earner of a family. And it’s nice to hear it Morley, I can’t miss this much work, I can’t, I can’t be out of income only have so much time off. And of course, Dr. Sequel wouldn’t give me time off for going through this. But what’s the real world out there? This is not nothing for free. I guess nothing’s for free.

Unknown Speaker 12:48
No, but I guess that’s an added benefit, I guess, of the American Cancer Society is that we are free, we are a free resource. Um, you know, I think about the amount of calls we receive in a year, over 100 million. The amount of hits that we get on our website are over 100 million over 1 million. But at the same time, what I think is important is that that individuals are getting reliable information, credible information and information to help walk them through that journey. So whether it’s treatment information, nutrition information, how to talk to your doctor, how to track your appointments, and you need a scheduling assistance tool, we have it. And we want to make sure that gets in the hands of the right people

Unknown Speaker 13:33
with information and and i agree with you completely. That is the one thing for free is the American Cancer Society and the services that they provide. Is there any resource available for patients that have trouble with transportation? Because that is another issue that women have they get radiation, for example, that’s an everyday treatment, many patients feel just fine going to and from it some maybe have other health issues or a little bit older, and maybe not quite able to use the resources available? And if so, how has that been affected by this lovely virus that we’re dealing with health care?

Unknown Speaker 14:13
Absolutely. You’re we’re proud to have a road recovery program, which is a volunteer transportation program that drives cancer patients to and from their treatment. We have hundreds of volunteers nationwide that are part of this volunteer program that drives cancer patients for us daily. The hard part about this is that since COVID, we’ve had to put it at a halt. So we have to stop driving cancer patients because of COVID-19. And so that’s difficult to sit down and we have tons of volunteers that want to do good want to drive cancer patients to their treatment, but they just can’t right now.

Unknown Speaker 14:51
Yeah, we’ve actually in the past had drivers so we’ve been put in touch with through the society that drive patients to certain Because we get somebody that would stay with you. And sometimes the family gets can’t be there the entire time of somebody surgery when, especially when it’s minor, because you know, there’s nothing that’s short in the hospital. So even the most minor of surgery that might take an hour, they’re there for four or five hours. So having somebody with you, but it’s just a phone call away, man, they kind of embedded to the American Cancer Society. Also, I’m sure there’s people a lot of comfort. Without any question they’ve been, I’ve been a huge, a huge help.

Unknown Speaker 15:35
I just wanted to add, you know, you talk about the buddy system in a way, and I think of our reach to recovery program, that has been around for a very long time for breast cancer patients and survivors. And, and the thought of having someone newly diagnosed, being able to talk to someone who is a breast cancer survivor, who’s had the second type of diagnosis, maybe there’s some kind of family history, same backbone they may come from, we have that capability of bringing them together now, even through an app and charity online. And so before it was old fashion, you made a phone call. And maybe if you visited with somebody, now it’s all it’s all virtual. So you can do it all even virtually to have that buddy system as well.

Unknown Speaker 16:18
I can only imagine my mother having to find an app to get a driver, nightmare. But that’s a story for another day, for another day. You know, one of the things that’s really dear to the heart of our practice is research. In being involved in research, we participate in a number of clinical trials. And we have even surprised that we’re doing as a smaller collective group. Understanding that the American Cancer Society supports research, can you tell us a little bit of all the support, and we’re gonna set fun of the income.

Unknown Speaker 16:54
So the funding actually comes from our donors out in the community. And so that’s why events like making strides or our Relay for Life events, those are all donor dollars that we look for, and anticipate to help us with our research projects. I will say that, you know, I mentioned just the breast cancer grants, just in general, that we have about $69 billion right now in breast cancer since March of 2020. invested and immense amounts nationwide. In Michigan, just even to break it down even a little bit more, we have 21 grants in Michigan with about $10.1 million. So it’s coming back into the community and that avenue. And so when something doesn’t work, or someone makes a donation, it’s all allocated into a way that it could help support the kind of research that we’re doing, as a relates to prevention as relates to quality of life. And you know, therapy, genetics, you name it, it’s there, and we’re on the cutting ground for it. You know, we’re we’re also known for our Nobel Prize winners. And so I’m not even sure if you remember this or not, but we have 49 Nobel Prize winners that have come from the American Cancer Science Research Institute. And so to think that those individuals at the highest level were funded to the American Cancer Society first. I heard that at that level is just amazing.

Unknown Speaker 18:21
Wow, that is that is amazing. 49 Nobel Prize winners. Fantastic. Fantastic. So one question I have is, what if a breast cancer patient wants to get more information? Where should they go? What’s the website or a phone number? How did they get that information?

Unknown Speaker 18:40
Sure. Um, our best Avenue is our call center. It’s 1-800-227-2345. That call center is available 20 477 days a week, we do not close that event on the holidays. We are there to answer your calls. I will even say during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, our volume does go up. And about 2am our volume goes up, we see a spike that people asking questions needing information at that time in the morning, when maybe their doctors they can’t get to their doctors, right. So who do they call they call the American Cancer Society. Another Avenue is our website, cancer dot work cancer.org. It’s been around for a very long time. It’s a wealth of information. It not only has statistics that not only has actual nutrition, Hobson, and dexmet related to different types of treatment or surgeries, when also hit now currently has a COVID-19 hub, where you can actually get some more detailed information for cancer patients that are dealing with COVID-19. At the same time, there’s caregiver information. There’s resources that are on our website that are so available to anyone. And I want to just highlight one specific resource that we have that I think is the best kept secret Correct. It’s on our website. And it’s cancer.org backslash, Ph. and it’s our personal health manager kit. And at one time, we we would hand out a personal health manager kit to the owner who’s been diagnosed, or a man who’s been diagnosed. Now you can access it online, you can actually get all that information online or mailed to you based on your what your need is. And so it’s there. It’s there for people to get what they what they want, or desire and have it at their leisure.

Unknown Speaker 20:30
That’s antastic. And we, we’ve seen the book before and not a secret, it’s online. Everything’s turned on line in virtual or electronic. It’s a super helpful guide. It’s very difficult and challenging for patients to keep things straight, but to be able to kind of have almost like a diary, if you will, great tool in the cancer journey. And finally, I want to ask you, let’s say somebody wanted to get involved in a cancer patient, per se, but somebody who wants to be the real men will wear pink this year, or something. Maybe the pink underpants on for you today, Jen, just so that. So how did we get involved the same same way? Or is there a different way to get involved?

Unknown Speaker 21:19
Same way, same way, our website and our call center can answer those questions. If you want to volunteer for road recovery, if you want to be a reach to recovery volunteer, if you want to be a part of the real men wear pink campaign and fundraise. If you if you want to walk with us. All of that is available through our website. All it’s easy to access and you get you get catchweight back to the local local office.

Unknown Speaker 21:44
terrific, terrific. Well, this has been so fun, and I hope informative to people listening. It is an absolutely fantastic organization, the American Cancer Society. I want to repeat the 800 number because unfortunately, people are up at two o’clock in the morning worried about this. So if you are 20 473 65 1-800-227-2345 and the personal health manager is it cancer.org forward slash p h. m. Chen, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to talk to me today. You’re my favorite. We will be forever. I always know that if I call on you, you come through quickly and with no hesitation. It’s always appreciated as as today’s time. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Brown. It’s an honor and i i truly enjoyed the time. I hope we can do it again with another topic even if we have to salutely Absolutely. Well, then this is Dr. Brown. This is the breast of everything podcast. We’ve been talking to Jennifer Nagy from the American Cancer Society. We really appreciate her time. We hope you found it worthwhile. Again, reach out to us if there’s other topics you’d like us to cover. We want to be a resource just like the Cancer Society. So anything you want to talk about you want to please let us know.

Unknown Speaker 23:20
You’ve been listening to the breast of everything podcast with your hosts and board certified breast surgeons, Dr. Eric Brown, Dr. Lindsay gold and Dr. Ashley Richardson of comprehensive breast care. If you have a subject you would like the surgeons to discuss, please submit your suggestions online at comp breast care. com. That’s co mp breastcare.com. The views thoughts and opinions shared in this podcast are intended for general education and informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice, treatment or care from your physician or health care provider. Always consult your health care provider first


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