Louisville Magazine

OCT 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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1 4 2 0 1 8 B r e a s t H e a l t h S e c t i o n SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Special Education teacher Mary Horn shares her experience with reconstructive surgery Women First shares breast cancer prevention strategies by Dr. Rebecca Booth In October of 2016, Elizabethtown special education teacher Mary Horn felt a lump. But her OB/GYN did not feel anything when she went in to have it checked, so they decided to wait and see if she felt it again. Around Christmas time, Mary thought she felt it again but put off doing anything because it was during the holidays. "And I just woke up one morning toward the end of January and while getting ready for a shower, there was just a whole, complete change," Mary said. "It was almost like it happened overnight." This time, her doctor immediately sent her for an MRI, which led to a biopsy a week later. "When the results came back, it was cancer," Mary recalled. Following surgery to remove two large tumors and 28 rounds of radiation at her local hospital, Mary went to see a plastic surgeon in her hometown. Her plastic surgeon said because of the radiation, she would not be able to perform the type of reconstruction Mary would need. "So I prayed about it and talked to my husband because I kind of went back and forth with do I even want to do it. And then we just decided to look online to try to find somebody," she said. "My first instinct was to go to UofL's website and try to see what I could find there. And when I read about Dr. Wilhelmi and looked at all his background and did my research, I thought he would be the one. So we made an appointment, we went in, we met him, and we were sold." Dr. Bradon Wilhlemi is professor and chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at University of Louisville School of Medicine and a UofL Physicians plastic and reconstructive surgeon. "I just felt in my heart that he was the one. And he was very, very patient with us. We came in at least three times before we really sat down with an actual plan of what we were going to do," she said. "He gave us all kinds of information and things to read about. He always answered our questions." For Dr. Wilhelmi, this level of service is the standard for his practice. His patients' needs always come first. And as an academic surgeon, he stays at the forefront of breast reconstruction to impart this knowledge on the next generation of surgeons, as well as his patients. "It's amazing to me what he did. He's a genius," Mary said. "I would recommend Dr. Wilhelmi every day of my life. And his nursing staff also has been great. As a difficult journey as this has been for me, they were like a ray of sunshine. " This fall, Mary is planning a vacation to celebrate being cancer- free. "I can finally shut the door and put all of this behind me. I'm healed. There's no more radiation. There are no more surgeries," she said. "Everything is done. And I'm back to normal." Breast cancer affects one in eight American women; however, your diet and lifestyle can make a difference in lowering your risk for breast cancer. Drink green tea — This anti-oxidant and source of healthy polyphenols blocks new blood vessels that cancer tries to build to support rapid growth. Green tea can decrease stress hormones to help lower the risk of many cancers. Add spice to your life — Just ¼ to ½ teaspoon/day of turmeric may rid the body of cancer-causing toxins, inhibit inflammation, and stop the growth of cancer-feeding new blood vessels. Together, green tea and turmeric enhance each other's positive effects in fighting cancer. Lean into lignans — Found in flaxseeds, certain whole grains and plants, lignans act on the human estrogen receptor to reduce hormonally sensitive cancer (most breast cancer). Flaxseeds are also loaded with healthy omega-3 oils. Healthy lignans are in sesame seeds, soybeans, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, and apricots and strawberries. Sleep well — Nighttime wakefulness and insomnia are associated with higher risks of breast cancer. Melatonin, a natural brain substance that regulates sleep, is a potent antioxidant and available at most supplement stores. Keep your bedroom a quiet, dark space to improve sleep quality. Keep your waistline — Belly fat is associated with breast cancer risk. Eat organic foods low in carbohydrates and high in plant protein (nuts, seeds, legumes, lignans, lentils, etc.) and fewer processed foods to achieve the ideal waist-to-hip ratio (less than 0.85). Be cautious with alcohol — Alcohol increases insulin, a hormone that increases cell division. More than five alcoholic beverages/week can increase your breast cancer risk by 40%! Exercise — Balance your metabolism with healthy diet and regular exercise (150 minutes/week) to lessen chances of runaway cell division in breast cancer development/tumor growth. Lessening insulin surges can also help suppress cancer. Take Vitamin D — Low levels of vitamin D (sunshine vitamin) increases risks of breast and colon cancers, so add at least 1,000 IUs of vitamin D daily. Get screened — Improve early detection with a yearly breast exam and mammogram, and perform your self breast exam each month. Ask your doctor if you have dense breast tissue, which may increase the risk of false breast imaging results and slightly increase your risk for breast cancer. Understand your individual risk (cancer.gov/bcrisktool) and ask your health-care provider for the best ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

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