January 20, 2022MedStar Georgetown University Hospital names Lucy M. De La Cruz, MD, chief of Breast Surgery Program and director of the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center
The renowned 39-year-old breast surgeon becomes youngest Latina woman to lead breast surgery program in U.S. at major academic medical center
WASHINGTON – Lucy Maria De La Cruz, MD, has joined MedStar Georgetown University Hospital as chief of its Breast Surgery Program and director of the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center. Dr. De La Cruz is a fellowship-trained breast surgeon who specializes in advanced breast surgery procedures, including wireless lumpectomies, hidden scar technique, oncoplastic breast conservation, and nipple-sparing mastectomy. She has been published in more than two dozen peer-reviewed scientific journals, and her pivotal papers on nipple-sparing mastectomy and oncologic outcomes have been cited worldwide. She will also direct the hospital’s breast surgery fellowship program.
“I am honored and excited to lead the breast surgery program and the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital,” said De La Cruz. “It has been my life-long dream to bring my passion for medicine, helping others and building a state-of-the-art breast surgery program to advance breast health. I look forward to working with our multidisciplinary team of breast health experts to compassionately care for, educate and empower my patients in their health journey.”
Dr. De La Cruz is an academic breast surgeon who conducts outcomes-focused research, and among her special interests are the impact of genomic mapping to guide breast cancer treatment and male breast cancer treatment. Her work is guided by a long-standing commitment to promoting equity and efficacy in breast cancer care delivery, using the principles of value-based health care.
“The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital are thrilled to have Dr. De La Cruz lead the breast surgery program. Her commitment to patients, their journey, and their outcomes are unmatched; and her expertise in novel surgical techniques brings new and beneficial options to patients,” said David H. Song, MD, MBA, FACS, Physician Executive Director, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Professor and Chair Department of Plastic Surgery, and Interim Chair, Department of Surgery, Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Dr. De La Cruz’s story
Dr. De La Cruz, 39, started her journey towards becoming the youngest Latina woman to lead a breast cancer surgery program at a major academic medical center at young age. As the daughter of international physician researchers, she spent a lot of time in labs where her parents worked, sparking her passion for medicine and “making a difference in people’s lives.” She grew up in Cuba, Mozambique, Spain, and Miami.
In college, she studied abroad in the Dominican Republic at the Universidad Central Del Este School of Medicine, where students were involved in patient care very early in their education and training. There, she completed her medical degree, founded an American Medical Student Association chapter and raised scholarship funds to help those who couldn’t afford tuition.
After graduation, she was told becoming a surgeon would be nearly impossible as a foreign medical graduate and a female. Despite this, De La Cruz obtained research fellowships from the University of Miami and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She continued her journey by obtaining a one-year residency internship at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami, where she earned the Intern of the Year award and an AOA medical honor society membership for her dedication to medical student teaching. During her residency, she worked on an award-winning oncologic outcomes research project for nipple-sparing mastectomy that continues to be cited worldwide.
That same year, Dr. De La Cruz started her breast surgery fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Following graduation, she worked in private practice for a year before returning to the University of Pennsylvania as a faculty member in the associate program director of the breast cancer surgery fellowship program.
After relocating to Washington, D.C., to be close to her family, she founded the breast cancer fellowship program curriculum at the Inova Health System. Now at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center, she continues to teach residents and fellows, pursue research, and care for patients – the fulfillment of her lifelong dream.
October 03, 2017Record Number of Registrants For This Year's Race
September 29, 2017
ELKRIDGE, MD (September 27, 2017) – On Thursday, Sept. 28, MedStar Health Home Care participated in the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) 2017 Influenza/Pneumococcal News Conference by offering flu vaccinations to those in attendance. Each year, NFID holds a press conference in collaboration with health officials like US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Thomas E. Price, MD, NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD, and other leading medical and public health experts to urge public and healthcare professionals to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that everyone age six months and older be vaccinated against influenza every year.
During the conference, Dr. Price said, “While we don’t know what this season has in store, the science on flu vaccination is clear. Vaccination can help prevent you or someone you love from becoming sick and missing school or work, or worse, becoming severely ill or being hospitalized from or even dying from flu.” To lead by example, Dr. Price stood on the podium to receive his own flu vaccination from a MedStar Health Home Care nurse.
CDC estimates annual influenza vaccination coverage for the United States to be at 46.8%, meaning that less than half of the country is protected from contracting influenza. During the 2016-17 flu season, the vaccination rate for the 65 and older age group was 65.3 percent. Since MedStar Health Home Care’s patient population is predominantly senior citizens, MedStar Health Home Care encourages patients to follow CDC recommendations and receive the vaccine. “As we age, our immune systems weaken. We are more prone to infection and disease, and as a result, at an even higher risk for developing severe flu symptoms and complications, explained Ashley McFarland, director of Immunization and Wellness at MedStar Health Home Care. MedStar Health Home Care’s community outreach division vaccinates over 6,000 community members each year.
To learn more about influenza recommendations, please visit the CDC website: www.cdc.gov.
About MedStar Health Home Care
MedStar Health Home Care, a non-profit, Joint Commission accredited, in-home healthcare provider, offers skilled nursing, rehabilitation and infusion therapy for homebound, disabled and chronically ill patients in the Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia region. To support good health in the community, MedStar Health Home Care offers vaccination and wellness programs across the region. For more information about MedStar Health Home Care, call 800-862-2166 or visit medstarvna.org
September 27, 2017
Can Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer? What Women Need to Know
Washington, D.C., September 27, 2017 - A handful of multi-million dollar jury awards to women who used baby powder with talcum, and later were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, has highlighted a decades-old question: Does talcum powder really cause ovarian cancer?
Louis Dainty, MD, regional director of gynecologic oncology, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, says even though the scientific data is very weak, women should not take the risk, however slight.
Because there is the potential for a very small increased risk of ovarian cancer with the use of talcum powder, I recommend women not use baby powder in their genital area,” he said. “If a woman has used talcum powder for these purposes, even for years or decades, she doesn’t need to run to her doctor or get special testing. Instead, just stop using the product.”
Dainty advises patients who have or care for daughters in diapers to avoid talcum powder on them. An alternative is dusting the baby with baby powder products made with cornstarch.
The possible link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder dates back to the 1960s. The initial concern sprung from a contamination of talcum powder with asbestos, a known cancer-causing agent. Asbestos is often mined alongside the mineral talc, which is the main ingredient in talcum powder. Asbestos was banned from cosmetic-grade talc in 1973, and the Food and Drug Administration reported finding no traces of asbestos in talc-based cosmetic products in 2012.
Recent studies looking at a potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer have been inconclusive, Dainty said. Some show a slightly increased risk, and others report no increase at all.
One criticism with many of these studies is that they relied on people’s memory of their talcum powder use. Researchers asked women with ovarian cancer if they used talcum powder on their perineum and, if so, how long they had used it and how frequently. Memory is not always perfect.
An issue of great concern is there is no screening test for ovarian cancer, like the Pap test for cervical cancer. A woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime is 1.6 percent. Some studies suggest that risk rises to 1.8 percent with perineal talc exposure. That translates to 18 women out of 1,000 developing ovarian cancer instead of 16. “While that may not sound like a lot,” Dainty said, “that’s two women who may not have gotten ovarian cancer if they had avoided talcum powder.”
Without a screening test, women must rely on monitoring themselves for the following symptoms, and see a gynecologist if they persist for two weeks.
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Unexplained weight gain
The main risk factor for developing ovarian cancer is age. The average age of a woman with ovarian cancer is 63. The older women get, the higher their risk for developing the disease.
The most commonly talked about ovarian cancer risk is familial risk, or a disease that runs in the family. While most ovarian cancers are not hereditary, family history certainly is very important. Genetic mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, account for about 15 percent of all ovarian cancers.
If a first-degree family member—parents, siblings or children—had ovarian cancer or breast cancer before age 50, women may want to consider seeing a geneticist to determine their potential risk. Breast cancer is also included because BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations increase a person’s risk for multiple cancers, including breast and ovarian.
“There’s nothing you can do about getting older or your genetic makeup, but you can do something about your weight, which is the No. 1 modifiable risk factor for ovarian cancer,” Dainty said. “If you are 25 pounds overweight, your ovarian cancer risk rises 400 percent. So while talcum powder may slightly increase your risk of ovarian cancer, it’s minimal compared to the risk of carrying extra weight.”
September 27, 2017
Washington, D.C., September 27, 2017 - The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is one of the best screening tools for prostate cancer. While there’s no doubt this simple blood test has saved lives over the years, it’s not perfect. There’s been a lot of debate over who should be screened and when—and whether men should be screened at all.
Since the PSA test became widely available in the late 1980s, deaths related to prostate cancer began to decrease. In fact, mortality rates fell nearly 40 percent between the early 1990s and 2008. However, there also have been some negatives associated with the test, the biggest being its 15 percent false-positive rate. This means 15 in 100 men who get an elevated PSA test result do not actually have prostate cancer.
PSA testing also can increase the risk of overtreatment. Most diagnosed prostate cancers are low-grade, which means the abnormal cells are unlikely to impact a man’s life in any way. Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer, taking 10 to 15 years to progress and even longer to cause death. These tumors may only need close monitoring over the years, also known as active surveillance, and not treatment.
“PSA testing is not a one-size-fits-all approach to prostate cancer screening,” said Ross Krasnow, MD, a urologic oncologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “The key is to have an honest conversation about the potential benefits and harms for each man based on his specific risk factors.”
For a man at average risk for prostate cancer, the discussion may center more on the potential benefits and harms of a PSA test. However, the conversation may take on a more urgent tone if the man has factors that put him at increased risk for prostate cancer. These can include:
- Family history: Having a first-degree relative, such as a father or brother, who had the disease.
- Genetic mutations: Continually learning more about how certain gene mutations can increase a man’s risk for prostate cancer. This includes mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are more commonly associated with breast and ovarian cancers.
- Race: African-Americans have double the incidence of prostate cancer compared with white men, and their risk of dying from the disease is two to three times higher.
A man’s age also should be taken into effect. “Because prostate cancer grows so slowly, there’s little benefit to screening older men whose life expectancies are less than 10 to 15 years,” said Dr. Krasnow. “When I see a patient who is 70 or older and has been referred to me for a PSA test, I usually advise against it unless they are extremely healthy for their age.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with one in seven men in the United States projected to get the disease in their lifetime. And the District of Columbia has the second highest prostate cancer incidence rate in the country behind only Louisiana, with 123 out of 100,000 men diagnosed with the disease in a given year.
September 27, 2017
Leonardtown, Maryland (Sept. 27, 2017) – With renovations getting underway in early October, the Atrium dining room within MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital hosted its final event Sept. 26.
The Tuesday construction kick-off party included complimentary lunch and dessert for associates — many of whom supported the Atrium renovation through the hospital’s philanthropy efforts. Nearly 400 employees enjoyed burgers, cupcakes, and activities before posing for a commemorative photo just outside the popular gathering spot, which has served as a bustling hub for visitors and associates since its 1991 opening.
The current Atrium will close Oct. 2 to begin its transformation, which includes expansion into the adjacent courtyard. The new space — with updated furniture, high-tech audio/visual equipment and a privacy room divider as well as fresh lighting, flooring, and décor — will better accommodate our patients, their friends, and family, as well as those who care for them. The project is expected to be completed next spring.
The Café at Buena Vista will remain open during the Atrium renovation to serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and a la carte items daily. A limited amount of seating will remain available for visitors in the cantina dining area attached to the cafeteria.
Visit MedStarStMarys.org/PowerToHeal to learn more about how our associates are giving back to MedStar St. Mary’s and always striving to improve the patient experience.
About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates, and volunteers.
September 22, 2017The new MedStar NRH Neuroscience Occupational Therapy Residency Program earned top marks during its first site visit by the American Occupational Therapy Association.