October Health Notes: Breast Cancer

Oct. 11, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas—October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are available to discuss the illness, from women's body perceptions to the connection between emotions and physical healing.

IMPROVING SURGERY OUTCOMES
Mia Markey, assistant professor of biomedical engineering
Markey evaluates women's body perceptions before surgery. She is developing computer software to rapidly assess breast features in a standardized way to improve the aesthetic outcome of breast cancer surgeries. She also is an expert on breast imaging technology.
Contact: Mia Markey, 512-963-3326, mia.markey@mail.utexas.edu

BREAST CANCER SCREENING
Mary Lou Adams, associate professor of nursing
Adams focuses on increasing African American women's participation in breast cancer screenings. As project director of a Texas Cancer Council initiative, she developed a community-based outreach program to encourage minority women's participation in early detection and follow-up services. She also is co-founder of the School of Nursing's Community Women's Wellness Center, which offers breast cancer screening to women with limited or no health insurance.
Contact: Mary Lou Adams, 512-471-9091, mladams@mail.utexas.edu

CANCER IN THE FAMILY
Laura Furman, professor of English
Furman is a breast cancer survivor who has written about her mother's death from ovarian cancer.
Contact: Laura Furman, 512-471-8392, ljfurman@mail.utexas.edu

EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL RECOVERY
James Pennebaker, chair of the Department of Psychology
Pennebaker explores the links among traumatic experiences, expressive writing, language and physical and mental health. He has found physical health can improve through simple writing and/or talking exercises. Pennebaker is the author of "Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions" and "Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma and Emotional Upheaval."
Contact: James Pennebaker, 512-232-2781, pennebaker@mail.utexas.edu

DEATH AND DYING
Debra Umberson, professor of sociology
Umberson researches sociological perspectives on death and dying. She also studies psychological and physical health disparities with a focus on how gender and relationships affect health and behavior.
Contact: Debra Umberson, 512-232-6330, umberson@mail.la.utexas.edu

For more information contact: Tracy Mueller, public affairs specialist, College of Liberal Arts, 512-471-2404.