• The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans now offers BRCA gene testing to patients with a strong family history of cancer or very early onset of the disease. This form of gene testing can show inherited genetic mutations that may increase a woman’s risk of developing certain cancers. Not every woman inheriting an altered gene will develop cancer but the risk is high with approximately 80 percent of women being affected.

HEALTHBEAT• Ochsner Medical Center has installed a new system for treating cancer and neurological lesions, called the Trilogy System from Varian Medical Systems. The Trilogy system’s image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery is unprecedented in its ability to treat small legions with the utmost precision, as well as maintaining precision to compensate for a patient’s movement, even respiratory. “Using the Trilogy system, we’ve the potential to substantially improve treatment outcomes by doing a better job of protecting healthy tissue while delivering more powerful doses to tumors and other abnormalities,” says Dr. Troy Scroggins, department chairman of radiation oncology at Ochsner.

• Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center has released unprecedented maps of cancer incidence and mortality in Louisiana by parish featured in their study, Cancer in Louisiana Volume 22: Cancer in Louisiana, 2000-2004. This volume of the Louisiana Tumor Registry is the first to show cancer incidence and mortality maps for major cancer sites by parish. Some highlights of the study include: The incidence rates for cancers of all sites combined among white men and black men in Louisiana were significantly higher than those for their national counterparts. Louisiana’s incidence rates for tobacco-related cancers (such as lung, oral cavity, kidney and pancreas) tend to be higher than the U.S. rates.

• According to the New Orleans Health Department, the number of deaths in New Orleans has increased by nearly 40 percent since Hurricane Katrina, a statistic that may seem surprising in light of the population decline. However, Louisiana officials report that bureaucratic complications, financial challenges, labor and bed shortages and inadequate facilities are all preventing the local health care system to care for the remaining population. 

HEALTHBEAT• Dr. Jack Perry Strong, left, Boyd professor and chairman of pathology at Louisiana State University Health Services Center New Orleans, has been selected as the 2008 recipient of the President’s Award by the U.S. and Canadian Academy of Pathology. The award was established to recognize an individual for outstanding service to the field of pathology.

• October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and just in time, New Balance has launched its all new Lace Up for the Cure Apparel and Sneaker line. Proceeds from the clothing go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

• Free screenings and chair massages will be available at Magnolia Physical Therapy in Harahan on Oct. 3, from 3-7 p.m. as a part of a special fundraising event for Breast Cancer awareness month. Donations to Team Magnolia can be made at the event or by calling Meg O’Reilly at 733-0254.