The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Students learn about breast cancer prevention and detection

Students learn about breast cancer prevention and detection
Graphic by Liz Collingsworth

(Graphic by Liz Collingsworth)

A prominent Dallas surgeon delivered a motivating presentation to an intimate crowd of young women on Wednesday night in correlation with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Dr. Terre McGlothin, a board certified general surgeon who specializes in breast oncology, spoke to female students in the Mack Ballroom about breast cancer prevention and detection with a focus on obesity and women of African American descent.

The Nu Iota chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority invited Dr. McGlothin, a member of the sorority herself, to lead a discussion with students as part of a series of events put on by the black community at SMU hoping to bring awareness of breast cancer to campus.

“I want to make sure everyone knows the reality of breast cancer and how it can affect our everyday lives in ways that are preventable,” Courtney Kelly, the vice president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, said.

While there are 230,480 cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed each year and 39,520 expected deaths, Dr. McGlothin stressed the importance of early detection and modifiable risk factors.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and the incidence generally increases with age.

“You cannot change the fact you are female, you can’t change your age or your family genetics, but there are things you can change,” Dr. McGlothin said.

Dr. McGlothin recommends staying in shape, not smoking or drinking heavily and practicing self-breast examinations once a month.

The substantial racial gap in breast cancer between African American women and Caucasian women can be attributed to a later stage of detection and poorer stage specific survival.

“By in large, African Americans seem to be diagnosed at a much later stage,” Dr. McGlothin said.

Barriers for African American women include the fear of the medical system, a bias towards doctors, lack of insurance, neglect to follow through with recommendations and treatments and the shear biology of aggressive tumors.

Obese breast cancer patients have roughly a 30 percent higher risk of mortality than women who maintain a body mass index below 25 percent.

“Obesity is a problem in America,” Dr. McGlothin said. “It’s not about looking good, this is a health issue.”

Sixty percent of the adult population is overweight and 85 percent of African American and Hispanic women are overweight.

Dr. McGlothin conveyed the importance of physical activity in your every day routine.

After the lecture, audience member Tarryn Shelman said she benefited from Dr. McGlothin’s words.

“I am more informed about breast cancer in African American women and I am going to start to exercise more,” she said.

Dr. McGlothin attended Drake University in Iowa during her undergraduate years, went to medical school in Nashville and completed her general surgery training at the University of Louisville.

She found her way to Dallas through a fellowship at Baylor University, which at the time was the single breast-only fellowship in the United States.

 

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