Local oncologist discusses breast cancer early detection, prevention on Day 2 of San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

Dr. Virginia Kaklamani talks about what women need to know to prevent the disease

SAN ANTONIO – Breast cancer kills tens of thousands of women every year, so how can they prevent it from happening? During day 2 of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, experts focused on early detection and prevention of the disease.

Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, a professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio, said watching estrogen levels is vital.

“One of the things that increases our risk is higher exposure of estrogen during our lifetime,” she said.

Weight also affects estrogen levels, according to researchers.

“Women that carry a few extra pounds actually have a higher estrogen level, and that increases the risk of getting breast cancer,” Kaklamani said.

Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio, answered the viewer question: "Are any research/advancements being done to eliminate HER+ permanently?" on the KSAT 12 News Nightbeat. Watch this video for her response.

Besides weight, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can also affect women’s estrogen levels. HRT is sometimes prescribed to women going through menopause.

“Hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of breast cancer,” Kaklamani said. “So for women going through menopause, having a lot of symptoms, and their doctors say, ‘You should take estrogen,’ be careful, because that estrogen may increase your risk of getting breast cancer.”

Understanding family history is another factor. Experts stress it’s essential to know if breast cancer runs in your family because that can help determine your risk.

“If you have a high risk of breast cancer, you may need to do a different plan as far as screening. But if you have a regular risk of developing breast cancer, then you go for your mammogram starting at the age of 40,” Kaklamani explained.

The 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposiums ends Friday, Dec. 10.

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Kaklamani answered the following viewer question in the video below: “Are any research/advancements being done to eliminate HER+ permanently?”

Click here to submit your questions about breast cancer and learn more about the event.

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About the Authors:

Stephania Jimenez is an anchor on The Nightbeat. She began her journalism career in 2006, after graduating from Syracuse University. She's anchored at NBC Philadelphia, KRIS in Corpus Christi, NBC Connecticut and KTSM in El Paso. Although born and raised in Brooklyn, Stephania considers Texas home. Stephania is bilingual! She speaks Spanish.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.