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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 1:33 am | Fair 49º


‘Think Pink’ Forum Focuses on Cancer Care

Sansum doctors pack panel at town hall meeting to raise awareness for breast cancer

A power-packed panel of local doctors presented a united front Friday in the ongoing fight against breast cancer, taking time out of their busy schedules to answer questions during an afternoon town hall meeting.

The medical experts provided insight and peace of mind to community members gathered during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the lobby of the Sansum Clinic on West Pueblo Street in Santa Barbara.

The talk — “Think Pink: Navigation the Breast Care Continuum” — was sponsored by the Women’s Council of Sansum Clinic, and featured a panel of seven experts who focused on their team approach to breast care.

Sansum Clinic CEO Dr. Kurt Ransohoff moderated the discussion, which was aptly timed to occur a year after the clinic began its partnership with the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.

“We are very fortunate to have a comprehensive team right here in our community,” Ransohoff said. “Breast cancer is a disease that really, as the expression goes, takes a village.”

Each panelist was tasked with fielding a question from Ransohoff — coming up with an answer less than five minutes long — before addressing the concerns and queries from those in the audience.

Topics ranged from breast cancer prevention to genetic testing, breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and reconstructive surgery.

As a breast cancer survivor herself, Dr. Kathy Pojunas happily explained that the breast cancer mortality rate has fallen significantly since the 1980s.

Pojunas, who is a radiologist, said scheduling an annual mammogram is the best way to stay ahead of any risk factors.

Tammy Stockero outlined her role as a registered nurse and breast care navigator, a relatively new position that works with patients throughout the treatment process to help quell as much anxiety as possible.

“I get to educate them,” Stockero said, noting the many resources available via wellness classes and more.

Not every cancer patient will need radiation treatment, according to Dr. Warren Suh, medical director of radiation oncology.

“I always emphasize a team approach,” Suh said. “We each have our own areas of expertise.”

Dr. Fred Kass touched on the amazing gains that have been made in the breast cancer medical field, in which doctors have learned to accomplish more with less because of smarter processes.

Dr. Rosa Choi, genetic counselor Danielle Sharaga and Dr. Wesley Schooler rounded out the panel of “overachievers” — a term Ransohoff lightheartedly used to describe the experts who have helped stack the community with the best possible breast health care.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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