Pink Up: Hattiesburg Clinic breast cancer research advances

The Hattiesburg Clinic is currently undergoing several clinical trials for breast cancer research.
Updated: Nov. 7, 2020 at 8:08 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Clinic is currently undergoing several clinical trials for breast cancer research.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women," said Dr. John Hrom, Hattiesburg Clinic’s head of cancer research.

According to Hrom, there are more than 3.8 million women in the country battling breast cancer.

“Invasive breast cancer affects around a quarter of a million women each year," Hrom said. "Non-invasive breast cancer affects more than 300,000 women each year.”

Hrom says Hattiesburg Clinic/ Forrest General Hospital has one of the largest cancer research programs in the state.

“We’re pretty excited about some of the things coming out in the future," Hrom said.

He says big things are in the works when it comes to advances in breast cancer treatment.

“We currently have several trials that are open,"Hrom said. "Many of these are looking at non-chemotherapy options, targeted drugs that specifically target proteins on the cancer. They have a lot less toxicities than traditional chemotherapy.”

One of those non-chemotherapy options is immunotherapy.

“Unlike chemotherapy, which is toxic to cancer cells, immunotherapy actually stimulates the patient’s own immune system to recognize cancer cells as being bad guys and will stimulate the immune system to kill cancer cells," Hrom said. "There was a recent approval for the drug, in combination with chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer, that’s been shown to be very effective.”

COVID-19 did put a halt to research for a bit, but Hrom says things are starting to pick back up.

“Many of the research protocols were put on hold because of that [COVID-19], but thankfully here in the last couple of months things have really been ramping back up," Hrom said. "There’s a lot of exciting things going on right now.”

Hrom says the biggest key to treating breast cancer is early detection.

“It’s very important to go ahead and start getting mammograms in the average population," Hrom said. "If you have a family history of breast cancer, please speak with your physician about when it would be appropriate to start mammography. Typically, we recommend mammograms yearly starting at the age of 40.”

The Hattiesburg Clinic Breast Center provides digital mammography and breast MRI services.

Appointments are available at The Breast Center Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. You can call your physician to schedule an appointment.

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