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Outcomes4Me Perspectives: Caroline Johnson

The latest episode of Outcomes4Me Perspectives features Caroline Johnson, Founder and Executive Director of Twisted Pink. We discuss the “why” behind the founding of Twisted Pink, the importance of clinical trials and why we need to do better at directing research funds towards metastatic breast cancer.

Dr. Shrum has been practicing for 13 years and chose women’s health because she enjoys providing continuity of care throughout different life stages. The conversation focuses on breast cancer screening, survivorship care, and the role of OBGYNs in these areas.

Regarding breast cancer screening, Dr. Shrum emphasizes that recommendations should be individualized based on factors like age, family history, breast density, and personal risk. She generally recommends a baseline mammogram at 40, followed by screening every 1-2 years, with annual screening from 45-55. Women with dense breasts may require more frequent screening.

The discussion highlights that one in eight U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, but survival rates are improving. OBGYNs play a crucial role in breast cancer survivorship care, particularly in managing treatment side effects and menopause symptoms.

For breast cancer survivors, OBGYNs can help manage symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, though hormone therapy is usually not an option. They also ensure appropriate screening for treatment-related risks such as decreased bone density. OBGYNs monitor for side effects of medications like tamoxifen, which can increase the risk of uterine issues.

Dr. Shrum stresses that OBGYNs are a key part of the medical team during survivorship, offering support and management of ongoing women’s health needs as patients transition away from frequent oncology visits. She emphasizes the importance of individualized care and shared decision-making, especially when it comes to screening recommendations and managing survivorship issues.

Overall, the conversation underscores the comprehensive role OBGYNs play in women’s health, from cancer screening to long-term survivorship care.