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New program to screen earlier for breast and ovarian cancers

Announcing MAT Education Awareness Day were (l-r) The Honorable Peter J. Tesei, Greenwich First Selectman; Elena Ratner, MD, Yale New Haven Hospital; Kaile Josephs Zagger; and Norman G. Roth, president/chief executive officer of Greenwich Hospital.

Jump-starting the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells is one of the most exciting breakthroughs in medical oncology.

Greenwich Hospital has launched a new physician education program to help all doctors recognize potential early signs of breast or ovarian cancer in an effort to diagnose both diseases much sooner. Called the MAT Education Program, the curriculum was developed by physicians at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven and Yale Cancer Center at the behest of Greenwich resident Kaile Josephs Zagger who lost her mother, Marilyn Ann Trahan (MAT) 20 years ago to ovarian cancer.

The goal is to assist primary care physicians and specialists to identify women at elevated risk of breast or ovarian cancer, or those who may show initial signs of the diseases earlier. Women often report vague signs and symptoms, and with more education, non-oncology physicians can learn about the unusual signs in order to prevent the diseases or at a minimum reduce the number of women diagnosed at Stage 3 or 4.

Elena Ratner, MD, associate professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Science at the Yale School of Medicine and clinical leader for the Gynecological Oncology Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital, developed the curriculum with her colleagues at Smilow Cancer Hospital. This educational program is free to all Greenwich Hospital-affiliated physicians.