Health Beat

GREG MILES PHOTOGRAPH

• Dr. Frank DellaCroce, above left and Dr. Scott Sullivan, above, two local breast cancer surgeons who founded the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery and the St. Charles Surgical Hospital (the world’s only hospital dedicated to breast reconstruction for breast cancer patients), have opened the St. Charles Charities Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Their first donation will be $1 million over the next 10 years to the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans, which will go towards BREASTORATION, a program that provides educational resources for women who are at risk for, or diagnosed with, breast cancer and who are considering breast reconstruction surgery. “We saw a great need among our patients, and felt compelled to find a way to support their desires to feel whole again,” says Dr. Sullivan. Drs. DellaCroce and Sullivan have also committed to providing pro-bono breast reconstructive surgery to four women per year. For more information or to make a donation to BREASTORATION, visit BREASTORATION.org.

• Researchers have identified the mechanism of how rapamycin, an antibiotic commonly used on stents implanted during angioplasty to prevent reclosure of arteries, regulates cell movement, a critical step in wound healing and disease progression, namely coronary heart disease and cancer. T. Cooper Woods, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, led the team of researchers who determined how the drug prevents tissue from growing over stents in the artery, which helps prevent future blood clots and heart attack. This same technology could theoretically be applied to inhibit tumor growth and prevent the spread of cancer cells.

• At the monthly EnCourage support group meeting, women facing a potential cancer diagnosis were encouraged to consider such options as in-vitro fertilization or freezing their eggs so that fertility is preserved after treatment. Dr. Belinda Sartor, a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist led the discussion and provided the audience with information and education on the options at their disposal.

• According to a U.K. study of patients treated for minor stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), around 70 percent of patients didn’t recognize their symptoms, with less than half seeking medical attention within three hours of the first appearance of symptoms. One in three patients who had already suffered a stroke failed to seek medical care in a timely manner. TIAs are usually precursors for possibly serious and disabling strokes, as one in 20 people who suffer a TIA will experience a major stroke a few days later, while one in 10 will have a serious stroke within three months. Symptoms of a minor stroke or TIA include sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs; sudden difficulty speaking; dizziness; severe headache; or confusion. The most important step to take after experiencing such symptoms is to call 9-1-1, as timely medical care can not only help prevent future stroke but can assess potential future risk.

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