Working Mother: Work Life Congress 2013

There have been many positives about moving across the country, away from my beloved New York City. I have found one glaring, nagging negative though; my absence from the community of bloggers and the relationships that I developed with inspiring women. I miss the fascinating conversations at various blogging events, I miss getting dressed up and having cocktails with other adults that I admire, and I have been longing for that space that I was able to call my own. The invitations are still coming in for the city events, and a few of them have been downright difficult to miss. I am fortunate to have Natalie Stanton, a lovely friend, Manhattan resident and old high school classmate attend on my behalf. She is stellar and excited to participate in these, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Last week, Natalie attended the Working Mother 2013 Work Life Congress sponsored by GE Healthcare. The focus was on early breast cancer detection and empowering women with the knowledge about further testing beyond the typical mammogram. The first conversation, entitled Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Just knowing your family history is not enough, was paneled by several incredibly strong and brave women. Carol Evans, President of Working Mother Media hosted the event, was attended by Karen Honrychs and Nancy Cappello. Cappello and Honrychs are breast cancer survivors who came forward with their own personal stories in the hopes of benefitting women in the future.

Nancy was diagnosed after a decade of “normal” mammography reports. She, like 40% of all women, has dense breast tissue-something unbeknownst to her and unreported by her doctor. Standard mammorgrams do not detect breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue accurately, as it appears white on the screen-just as cancer does. Nancy founded two non-profits: and Are You Dense Advocacy Inc., and began to start groups to get bills passed requiring doctors to divulge information to their patients about dense breast tissue. Thirteen states have passed density reporting bills.

Karen is a microbiologist whose cancer was detected because she was her own advocate. Being knowledgeable in the field, she was aware that mammograms do not report cancer well for those with dense breast tissue, and pressed for further testing via GE’s new machine called Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography, or CESM.


The second panel, How Can Innovation Help Physicians Diagnose Better than Ever Before? was by moderated by philanthropist Malaak Compton-Rock (Chris Rock’s wife), and attended Dr. Lydia Liao MD, Director of Cooper Brest Imaging Centers at University Medical Center as well as Catherine Tanaka, who is the Chief Marketing Officer Detection & Guidance Solutions for GE HealthCare. They discussed the differences that CESM brings to testing for breast cancer in women with dense tissue and how imperative it is for women to go beyond their basic mammograms if the machines are approved in their state. The CESM, which was cleared by the FDA in 2011 and has 13 sites in the US, uses an iodine dye in the blood and is able to detect higher blood count areas (cancerous) and has very few false negative results.

It’s fascinating to be on one side of the country, while my NYC counterpart is at incredible events like this one with brave, smart and motivated women feeding us info and inspiration about things like this, which I likely wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I haven’t personally had a mammogram yet, but I will be booking one soon and will look into the CESM technology when I do. I would do this for my children-no question-so I need to also remember to be my own advocate as well.

Knowledge is power.

This post was sponsored by The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

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  • just found your blog through the adorable puppy//napping photos, in love!!
    we live in SF and love NYC, just returned from there! your blog is so great, love finding other bay area bloggers! XO

  • Also just found your blog from the #theoandbeau instagrams — too too cute. I live on the Peninsula (SF Bay Area), and did my undergrad down in Santa Cruz — I love it and hope you’re enjoying making a home there!

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