Dr. Eva Anderson-Dubin and Dr. Elisa Port of the Dubin Breast Center talk about the latest breast cancer treatments and lifestyle factors impacting the disease.
The entrance of the Dubin Breast Center founded by Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin and her husband.
Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin founded the Dubin Breast Center of the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City with her husband, the financier Glenn Dubin, to create a comprehensive, integrated program for breast cancer patients. Since its founding five years ago, the center has treated nearly 100,000 patients, including Sandra Lee. Here, Dr. Andersson-Dubin and Dr. Elisa R. Port, codirector and chief of breast surgery at the Dubin Breast Center, discuss the latest news con- cerning the disease.
What prompted you to develop the Dubin Breast Center? Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin: I had breast cancer when I was 41 years old. So I’m a survivor for 13 years. I developed the center because I wanted a very patient-oriented place where you could get all the care in one place. It eliminates all the extra appointments, extra waiting, and extra anxiety. As we grew, I added other services that, to me, are important, such as nutrition, psychology, psychiatry, yoga, massage therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, etc.
The American Cancer Society recently changed its screening guidelines, pushing the starting age for mammograms to 45, changing the recommended frequency of mammograms, and stating that clinical and breast self-exams didn’t have clear benefits. What are your thoughts about this? Dr. Elisa R. Port: We’re opposed. Everyone agrees, including the American Cancer Society, that mammograms reduce the risk of dying of breast cancer. The issue is what people choose to prioritize. We know that mammograms aren’t perfect, and there are false positives, and that people get anxious [with those] results. But in our experience, most patients believe this is a reasonable price to pay to make sure you’re doing everything you can to [detect] a cancer early, to improve your chance of surviving, and also to reduce your need for more aggressive treatment. EAD: Very few people are talking about how waiting and detecting the cancer later impacts quality of life. If [through early detection] you can have a lumpectomy and radiation versus [a later diagnosis that necessitates] more aggressive surgery, plus chemotherapy, that’s a whole different quality of life.
Is there a link between nutrition and breast cancer? ERP: There is no specific dietary element that increases or decreases your risk of getting breast cancer, but we do know that obesity, and being overweight [in general], increases the risk, and if you’ve had breast cancer, being overweight increases the risk of it recurring.
What is the role of exercise as a preventive measure? EAD: Exercise is important, not only [to reduce the risk of developing] breast cancer but also for overall health. It can be as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day.