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Features Health & Wellness

While October is nationally recognized as being breast cancer awareness month, it serves a dual purpose as also being liver cancer awareness month.

Over the last several decades, the percentage of Americans developing liver cancer has been slowly rising. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 30,640 new cases (22,720 in men and 7,920 in women) will be diagnosed with primary liver cancer and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in the United States in 2013 and about 21,670 people (14,890 men and 6,780 women) will die of these cancers.


Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women today, second only to skin cancer. Currently, a woman born in the United States faces a one in eight risk of developing this disease during her lifetime, and chances are that every person reading this article has either faced the disease or knows more than one friend or family member who has.

Prior to 1970, the subject of breast cancer was taboo except in medical journals, but today breast cancer is a common topic of conversation, and that’s the first step in prevention activities. Let’s begin this discussion of breast cancer prevention by providing historical context and some good news.

First, since 1990, the mortality rate from breast cancer has decreased by two percent per year. Approximately half of that decline is attributable to screening mammography.


The third annual Pour le Pink, a 3.1 mile Walk/Run to support local breast health and women’s services, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital (HCH). The funds raised will go toward maintaining the hospital’s spectrum of breast health and women’s services.

“Last year’s Pour le Pink was a great benefit for our local communities. It raised nearly $13,000 and helped build a lasting fund for women’s services enabling us to stay up to date with critical services, equipment and provide our patients the best quality care possible,” said race organizer Callie Calloway, Communications Specialist at HCH. “We are hoping for the same success this year.”


Dr. William Banks of the Smoky Mountain Foot and Ankle Clinic, P.A. completed an advanced course on foot and ankle surgical fixation techniques sponsored by Wright Medical last month. The course, “Emerging Techniques in Foot and Ankle Surgery: Regenerative & Reconstructive Symposia and Skills Lab” was held at the Orthopedic Learning Center in Chicago. The Orthopedic Learning Center is the leading international center for lab-based learning, welcoming physicians, surgeons, and medical professionals since 1994 from all over the world. This course offers hands on training in new products and techniques.

"The state of the art facility and cadaver lab offer an incredible opportunity to learn," said Dr. Banks. “I was fortunate to be able to join the other 65 surgeons, as we explored and honed our techniques in foot and ankle surgery. Classes and workshops were designed to improve results with internal bone fixation. "There has been an explosion of new products in the last five years. This workshop allowed me to use new products in correcting hammertoes, bunions, foot arthritis and foot and ankle injuries."


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