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The Best Medicine

With Dr. Ken Miller

An owner’s guide to good health.


Dr. Scott Collins 

is Chief Technology Officer at TeVido Bio-devices in Austin, Texas.

Two images above: Courtesy of National Cancer Institute

The first time breast cancer was ever mentioned in an American women's magazine article was in 1913. In The Best Medicine: Breast Cancer program we have a look at the role women's magazines have played in shaping women's ideas about breast cancer during the 20th century.

Light technology lends progress for successful lumpectomies.

Helpful Links About Breast Cancer

In 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force — a panel that determines whether preventive screening is worthwhile — took a look at mammography.  For decades, they had told women over 40 to get screened every year. But now they say: get screened every two years, and don’t start until you’re 50. That recommendation isn’t universal, though.  The American College of Radiology says: Start at age 40.  And the American Cancer Society says: start at age 45. All this has left women wondering when — or sometimes even whether — to get a mammogram. We talked about this difference with two doctors who deal with this question every day. Dr. Nancy Keating is an attending physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School.  In 2014, she wrote an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association pointing out the chief harms of mammography screening. Dr. Amy Campbell is the head of breast imaging at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC.  


At what age are mammography exams important for early detection?

Listen to interviews with

Dr. Amy Campbell and Dr. Nacy Keating

Dr. Magda El-Shenawee at the University of Arkansas is perfecting a new technology designed to keep breast cancer patients off the operating table. A lot of women who get lumpectomies have to go back in for a second surgery because the surgeon missed a piece of cancer, and left it inside the woman’s breast. Dr. El-Shenawee is working on a new screening device to fix that problem. 

Today, when a lumpectomy patient has her tumor removed and it is sent to a pathologist in a lab who looks at it to determine whether the surgeon got all the cancer out. That analysis can take several days. Dr. El-Shenawee has created a process to scan the tumor during the operation. 

We’ve all heard of X-rays or microwaves — beams of light on a particular frequency that allow us to do accomplish certain goals.  Dr. El-Shenawee also works with light beams, but they operate on yet another, completely different frequency. 

She received a grant from the National Science Foundation to create a scanner that works in the terahertz frequency, to look at tumors after they come out of a patient and see that the surgeon got all the cancer that was in there — a process that could revolutionize lumpectomy surgery.

Take the National Cancer Institute's Risk Assessment here.

National Cancer Institute's Topic on Treatment Options

New 3-D printing technology gives hope to mastectomy patients.

Learn more from Our Contributors…

Dr. Collins working in the lab.

Listen to Interview with
Dr. Magda El-Shenawee

Dr. Dennis Slamon is a leader in medical oncology who has devoted his career to improving the treatment of women with breast cancer through rigorous science. Dr. Slamon and his laboratory have pioneered the development of two major breakthroughs including the development of an antibody, Herceptin, which targets a certain type of breast cancer cell and also a new therapy called Palbociclib which target another type of cancer that is also sensitive to hormonal therapies.breast cancermamography

Dr. Nancy Keating

is attending physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Exploring Dr. Slamon's breakthrough cancer drug, Herceptin

In The Best Medicine for Breast Cancer we follow the stories of women whose lives changed after a mammogram or breast exam lead to the diagnosis of breast cancer. Breast cancer is a disease where women make choices regarding their care and we explore these options about mammography, surgery, and then chemotherapy which is fortunately becoming more focused and targeted for individual women. Along the way we uncover pioneering breakthroughs in our understanding and treatment of breast cancer and explore the latest developments to detect and treat this disease. 

Dr. Magda El-Shenawee

is a professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. 


Listen to Interview with
Dr. Dennis Slamon

Breast Cancer: Choices for Doctors/Choices for Patients

Early women's magazines and views on breast cancer

Dr. Amy Campbell 

is the head of breast imaging at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC.  

Dr. Dennis Slamon

is director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA.

It is common for women who have mastectomies to have their nipples removed.  Their choices today are limited.  They can have a tattoo created that looks like a nipple or having a plastic surgeon reconstruct a nipple and having that tattooed.

Dr. Scott Collins, with a company called TeVido Bio-devices in Austin, Texas is working to see that women in this position will never have to make that choice again. Scott received a grant from the National Science Foundation to create a 3-D printer process that will give women who have had mastectomies an amazing gift: The chance to get their missing nipple back. 

Listen to Interview with
Dr. Scott Collins