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Marin breast imaging doctor urges early screening – Marin Independent Journal

For years, a doctor of Marine County's breast cancer rate, considered to be the highest in the nation, But after…

For years, a doctor of Marine County’s breast cancer rate, considered to be the highest in the nation,

But after toppling in 2001, it started a steep descent, and Marin now corresponds to the state average with breast cancer deaths, dropping 65 percent since 1988.

That’s the good news.

The bad news, says Marin General Hospital’s Dr. Natalya Lvoff, is the latest confusion about what age begins with getting mammograms and how often they will get them. Once in their recommendations, different cancer organizations now offer conflicting opinions. Some now approve a later start for mammograms ranging from 45 to 50 instead of 40.

But Lvoff, a radiologist at the hospital’s Breast Health Center, urges mammograms beginning at the traditional age of 40 years and annually screening instead of every other year.

“This is the most important message for breast cancer awareness month. The first way to reduce breast cancer mortality is annual screening.”

Lvoff points to a National Cancer Institute study showing US breast cancer deaths decreased more than 30 percent since mammograms became widespread in the 1


“Before mammograms, the degree of death had remained unchanged. No screening test is perfect, but screening mammography is the best test we have to detect breast cancer early when it’s most manageable, she says.

Women with high risk factors can also benefit from a breast MRI and possibly genetic testing, she said. Risk factors include disease history, early menarche (before 11), late menopause (after 55 years), age 30 or older at first birth, who have never given birth, use of hormone replacement therapy, obesity, chest wall radiation, frequent alcohol consumption and smoking.

Ironically, the main risk factor for breast cancer is simply a woman – and especially one over 40 years. “Seventy-five percent of women have no other identifiable factors, and 85 percent have no family history of the disease. Screening only women with risk factors will miss the majority of breast cancer,” said Lvoff.

Free risk assessments are offered to patients at Breast Health Center. a year ago at Drake’s Landing, offers a three-dimensional mammogram screening called tomosynthesis. This allows the radiologist to look around overlapping structures and obviously finds 40 percent more invasive cancers and reduces the need for follow-up mammograms by up to 40 percent

More comfortable tests that allow the patient to monitor his own compression level may be on the horizon, said Lvoff.

As regards Marinas past as a breast cancer hotspot, the high level of hormone treatment is used to facilitate menopause symptoms probably the biggest guilty one, she said Nor is much less likely to use it now that they know it is the link to breast cancer.

“Marine women are highly trained, they are often the first to read the latest studies and hear the latest news. There is a lot of awareness about breast cancer in Marin County, but there is always room for improvement,” says Lvoff.

Orthodontist Promotes Invisalign for Children

Longtime Orthodontist Jasmine Gorton is currently in Amsterdam speaking to international orthodontists to use Invisalign in children.

The new option to use the clear removable adjustments for children as young as 7 can not mean any hanging later, but for many, it means no more feared expander.

“It’s revolutionary” Gorton of Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics in Larkspur. “You do not have the pain on the separators that push your teeth apart … You do not have the taste of the sour adhesive glued to the metal pillar. You have no effect on speech and swallowing when you have something that covers your mouth. You do not have unexpected meetings about a wire pokes, and you have no restrictions not to eat hard or sticky foods like carrots. And it’s something that a child can only run in or out to clean, “she said.

Clear adjustments were made available to adults in 1999 and for teenagers in 2008. They were only available to children in July, although Gorton’s office used them for several years before being officially launched.

Her office is comprised of fewer than five orthodontic offices in the Bay Area – and 54 in the world – offering adjusters for children, she said.

Children need expanders or adjustments when they have affected teeth or severe dental congestion, which would require pulling teeth later if left unaddressed, she said. An airway problem is also an “auto ticket” for early treatment, but usually an expander needs to be used.

Artist Amos Goldbaum puts on a new wall painting on Wise Sons Bagelry at Marin Country Mart in Riddarsporre. (Mary Enbom foto)

A word of comfort for parents whose only thought is “What? Johnny may need orthodontics at the age of 7? Cha-ching!

New wall painting on Larkspur bagel spot

A wall painting of iconic marine sites now digs the wall of Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in Larkspur.

The mural was made by San Francisco artist Amos Goldbaum, which takes complex images of areas and transforms into modern line drawings.

The mural at the Marin Country Mart site includes Mount Tam, Greenbrae Houseboats, Civic Center and The larkspur ferry carries a boat-load of bagels.

Goldbaum’s murals are displayed around San Francisco and in five other Wise Sons locations. The company also hired him to paint a mural at his place in Tokyo to help create an atmosphere like its stores in San Francisco, says Wise Son’s owner Evan Bloom.

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