This is breast cancer awareness month.
Much has appeared in the news regarding COVID vaccine booster shots. The
rationale behind recommending boosters is that studies have shown a decrease in
protection as the months went by following the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine
administration – and in the case of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, efficacy of
the vaccine only rose to protect about 75% of recipients after a single dose of
the vaccine. Drs. Ekstrom and Bunkis are planning to depart on their first
international trip since the COVID pandemic struck. Both were vaccinated with
the Moderna vaccine in January. Both wished to have a booster before their trip
– but found they were not yet eligible for the boosters. The FDA advisory panel
has recommended boosters for all three coronavirus vaccines used in the US but,
so far, the FDA and CDC have only authorized the boosters for recipients of the
Pfizer vaccine. We can expect the FDA to rule on the boosters for Moderna and
J&J vaccine recipients later this month – perhaps even before our trip later
this week. On a positive note travel wise, the US announced that beginning
November 8th fully vaccinated travelers can enter the US – and that the land
border between the US and its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, will reopen for
tourist travel on the same date.
The same FDA committee deciding on the boosters will be considering granting Pfizer permission to begin vaccinating 5-12 year old children. Studies have shown that children are as likely as adults to become infected with coronavirus, but the same studies show that most children do not have symptoms worse than a common cold and that half do not show any symptoms what so ever. And the symptoms of long COVID are almost nonexistent in children. So why the rush to immunize our children? The main reason is to protect their parents and grandparents – who can catch the disease from the unvaccinated children, with the adults having a much higher chance of exhibiting severe symptoms, developing long COVID and dying from an infection! Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, 140,000 US children have lost a parent or grandparent to a coronavirus infection. The US is currently recording 86,000 cases of COVID infections daily, down from 160,000 each day in early September. If we want to avoid another surge this winter, we have to vaccinate as many people as possible, children and adults, to decrease our pool of people susceptible to coronavirus infection.
October is breast cancer awareness month. Why a special month for breast cancer? Aside from skin cancer, which is usually curable, breast cancer is the most common cancer in females in the US. To relate the breast implant situation in our country to the current COVID pandemic, 44,000 Americans die annually of breast cancer – also a staggering number. The average risk of breast cancer (higher, of course in women with a familial tendency to develop the cancer) is about 13% - which means that the average chance of developing breast cancer for women in American is about one in eight! The good news is that breast cancer death rates have declined about 40% since 1990 – mainly attributable to improvements in early detection. We can all help by encouraging all females to undergo regular screening. We can also help by referring patients with a question of familial breast cancer for appropriate genetic testing and counselling. We as plastic surgeons are more likely to see a patient after the diagnosis of breast cancer has been made and the patient is seeking reconstructive options. Breast reconstructions range from a minor fat grafting procedure for patients with a minor asymmetry following a lumpectomy to an implant or autologous tissue reconstruction for patients with more significant deformities – the procedure recommended will be determined by the patient’s deformity, anatomy and expectations. Let us know if we can help you or a loved one with their aesthetic concerns.
40 year old female after a right mastectomy and after implant reconstruction (actual patient of Dr. Bunkis, your results may vary)
Get vaccinated! Encourage everyone over 12 to get vaccinated!
If you need Dr. Ekstrom or Dr. Bunkis, please call 949-888-9700 or visit our websites at:
Or for MA location, call 508-755-4825 or visit
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