AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The upcoming 5th Annual Breast Disease Symposium serves to address treatment and care of breast disease in many comprehensive aspects. Rakhshanda Rahman, M.D. is the creator and director of the course, and said one main objective of it, is community outreach.

“There are communities in West Texas, who it took us a long time to penetrate to convince those communities about the role of screening, for example,” said Dr. Rahman, Professor of Surgical Oncology, and Director of UMC Cancer Center. “Because it’s very uncomfortable.”

One example of doing that, she said, is addressing the needs of different cultures.

“We have a lot, a lot of refugee settlement population, for example, this was a very foreign idea to them to go to a hospital, or a facility which is not home, it’s out of their comfort zone. And actually disrobe and get an X-ray of the breast. That’s just not okay in those communities,” she said.

Another area of focus, the effects of treatment on sexual health.

“Most breast cancers are driven by female hormones, and then we try to treat cancer, we often disrupt that hormonal influence, so which means we block those hormones with medications and pills. There is as you can imagine, a lot of collateral damage that comes with blocking female hormones, which affects sexuality, that desire, you know, painful lesions, atrophy in the tissues, which also cause compromise of sexual health,” she emphasized.

Another objective of the course, is helping patients navigate relationships.

“Cancer takes a big toll on these women, the treatment can be as long as at least a year long. So while a family member is going through all those treatments, and the side effects of treatment, all the relationships of these women are impacted that way.”

All of it demonstrating the comprehensive and interconnected nature of community health.

For registration information, click here.