Dr Mahtani on Addressing Unmet Needs in Breast Cancer


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Reshma L. Mahtani, DO, discusses how attempts to address unmet needs in breast cancer have evolved over time.

Reshma L. Mahtani, DO, medical oncologist, Miami Cancer Institute, chief, breast medical oncology, Baptist Health’s Wellness and Medical complex, discusses how attempts to address unmet needs in breast cancer have evolved over time.

Throughout the course of her career, Mahtani says she has witnessed significant advancements aimed at addressing the unmet needs in breast cancer management, which she categorizes into 4 distinct areas. Firstly, early detection and diagnosis have undergone substantial evolution, Mahtani begins. Initially, a major challenge lay in the quest for reliable methods of early detection, according to Mahtani. However, over time, technological progress, including the refinement of mammography, MRI, and ultrasound, has significantly enhanced early detection rates, she explains. Moreover, the advent of genetic testing has ushered in an era of personalized screening and early intervention strategies, thereby markedly improving patient outcomes, Mahtani states.

Secondly, the realm of personalized medicine has witnessed remarkable progress, Mahtani says. Enhanced comprehension of breast cancer biology and genetics has paved the way for the development of targeted therapies, Mahtani reports. This advancement holds particular significance for patients with metastatic breast cancer, as targeted therapies have considerably broadened the array of available treatment options, Mahtani notes.

Thirdly, there has been a concerted focus on survivorship and enhancing quality of life post-treatment, she continues. Recognizing the enduring physical and psychological repercussions of breast cancer therapy, efforts have been directed toward the establishment of survivorship care plans, support groups, and specialized survivorship clinics, Mahtani emphasizes. Moreover, research endeavors targeting issues such as fatigue and cognitive dysfunction have yielded interventions that substantially bolster support mechanisms for survivors, she adds.

Lastly, confronting the disparities in access to care based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status remains a formidable challenge, Mahtani expands. Nevertheless, there has been a notable shift toward acknowledging and addressing these disparities, she elucidates. Research initiatives aimed at elucidating the biological variances based on race and ethnicity, alongside endeavors to comprehend the impact of social determinants of health, underscore a concerted effort to tackle the underlying factors contributing to healthcare inequities, Mahtani emphasizes.

Moreover, the promotion of culturally competent care practices represents a crucial stride toward fostering inclusivity within health care, Mahtani concludes.

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