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Dr. Lydia Komarnicky Named to National Breast Cancer Campaign

September 30, 2008

Lydia Komarnicky, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Drexel University College of Medicine, has been named the medical advisor to a national breast cancer awareness campaign. The Learn.Love.Commit. campaign, developed in response to a survey conducted by the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC), the nation's leading source for women's health information, offers new information and support on breast health.

The survey showed that women who are dissatisfied with their overall physical appearance are significantly more prone to fall behind on preventative screening actions, like mammography and breast self-exams. Another key finding showed 82 percent of women did not realize the No. 1 risk factor for breast cancer is age. Furthermore, Hispanic women are more concerned about breast cancer and more pessimistic about their chances of surviving it. They also demonstrate significantly lower levels of knowledge about the disease and its recommended screening procedures.

"This survey and campaign are important in identifying and targeting specific categories of women requiring better breast cancer information," says Dr. Komarnicky, a leader in the treatment of breast and gynecological cancers. "About 500,000 women each year have a breast biopsy; 85 percent of those are benign; and 90 percent of women will survive breast cancer up to five years, and certainly beyond. There are many great resources out there, but we still need to move forward and increase our knowledge of breast cancer prevention and treatment."

Dr. Komarnicky has a history of developing breast cancer awareness programs throughout the Philadelphia region and co-authored a book, "What to Do If You Get Breast Cancer."

The survey found that women who feel good about their overall physical appearance are very likely to have had mammograms (68 percent), teeth cleanings (81 percent) or Pap smears (78 percent). On the contrary, women who are unhappy with how their bodies look are significantly less likely to have gotten a mammogram (59 percent), teeth cleaning (65 percent), or Pap smears (61 percent) in the past year. Twenty-one percent of women say they cannot afford to get a mammography.

"With screening technologies becoming more accurate and advanced, coupled with the number of local programs offering free mammograms, women need to know these options are available in their communities,"says Dr. Komarnicky. "Given women's hectic schedules and their typical way of taking care of others before themselves, we need to make access to mammography as simple and cost-effective as possible."