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23 Apr. 2014

“Housewives” doctor keynotes SF breast cancer conference

The Stanford Cancer Institute’s (SCI) Community Partnership Program (CPP), will host its’ annual breast cancer education and advocacy program uniquely designed to address breast cancer disparities in African American populations in the Greater SF Bay Area and surrounding communities. The 3rd Annual Conference: Breast Cancer & African Americans (BCAA) will be held on Saturday, May 31, 2014, 7:30am – 3:30pm, at the South San Francisco Conference Center, 255 South Airport Boulevard, South San Francisco, CA. Conference Organizer is Pamela Ratliff, Sr. Community Partnership Manager, 1.800.383.0941, email:

Pamela Ratliff

Pamela Ratliff

African American women suffer a disproportionate number of deaths due to breast cancer, surpassing rates for all other racial/ethnic groups. “The reasons for persistent and worsening breast cancer disparities are multi-factorial and include social, economic, structural, and environmental barriers”, says Stanford’s Ratliff. Given that African American women are more often diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 40 and before mammography screening guidelines apply, she adds, “it is important that we provide these women with culturally tailored information, education, and resources that are promising, and offer sustainable solutions for eliminating cancer disparities in our Bay Area communities.”

A special keynote lecture on the ABC’s of Breast Cancer Prevention will be conducted by breast surgeon and expert, April L. Speed, M.D., owner of Just Breast, a private practice clinic. She did her breast surgery fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center and was awarded the ASCO National Diversity in Oncology Award by her peers. In her Georgia practice, Dr. Speed provides 100% breast services to women, men, and adolescents, and was recently featured on a special episode of ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA)’ dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer.

There is NO COST TO ATTEND this event, but pre-registration is required and convenient online registration is available at . For more info or to request a registration form by mail, the contact number is 1.800.383.0941 or email .

The conference includes breakfast, lunch, health resources, event tote bag and surprises. Registration deadline is May 15.

Dr. April L. Speed

Dr. April L. Speed

This event is sponsored by the Community Partnership Program of the Stanford Cancer Institute, in conjunction with the Global Alliance for Health Equity and Social Justice. Partners include the Bay Area Black Nurses Association, Bay Area Disparities Coalition, Bayview Health and Wellness Center, Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic, Women’s Cancer Resource Center, and a host of other community groups and organizations.


Five Things Everyone Should Know About Breast Cancer

1. Two most important risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and growing older.

All women can get breast cancer, even those who have no family history of the disease as well as those under the age of 40.

2. A mammogram (breast x-ray) can find cancer up to 4 years before a woman would notice a sign herself.

It is important for women to familiarize themselves with their bodies, including their breasts so they are aware of any changes that may occur. Regular mammograms can improve one’s chances for successful treatment and increase survival.

3. Breast cancer is not always characterized by the presence of a lump or tumor.

There are some aggressive types of breast cancer such as inflammatory breast cancer that can have other physical symptoms.

4. Women with very dense breasts are four times more likely to develop breast cancer.

When breast tissue is dense, the cells grow and multiply at a faster rate, which means there’s more of a chance for some to become abnormal or cancerous. Since mammograms aren’t as effective at detecting cancer in very dense breasts, women should consult their doctor about getting regular MRI scans or ultrasounds plus mammograms.

5. A diagnosis of breast cancer does not = a death sentence in many cases.

Women have more than a 90% survival rate from breast cancer here in the U.S. if diagnosed very early before the cancer has grown and spread to other organs.

*References: National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control, and American Cancer Society.


About the author

Sandra Varner has had her hands on the pulse of the entertainment industry and lifestyles coverage for decades, staying current, always.


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