BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Dr. Mindy Williams Bowie is a part of the Women’s Hospital team specializing in breast cancer treatment. Her work has not only touched the lives of many cancer patients, and she has a passion for educating women about the need for regular screenings for early detection.

Bowie is a breast surgical oncologist specializing in breast cancer surgeries. She is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and uses the latest technological advances in her everyday fight against breast cancer.

“Newer surgical developments for the treatment of breast cancer include hidden scar surgery, oncoplastic procedures, nipple-sparing mastectomies, targeted axillary dissections to reduce the risk of lymphedema,” said Bowie. “With regards to systemic therapy, newer treatment options include targeted systemic therapies and immunotherapies. In radiation, hypofractionation and partial breast radiation has allowed for less time to complete therapies and sometimes with less side effects.”

According to the Women’s Hospital website, Bowie stays active in breast cancer research and prevention. She also has expertise in nipple-sparing mastectomies and oncoplastic breast surgery.

What do you need to know about diagnosis and treatment?

“Breast cancer is the most researched cancer in the world,” said Bowie. “Over the years, we have seen an increase in overall survival with implementation of chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, surgery, and radiation. In more recent years, targeted therapies, such as immunotherapy, have also resulted in increased overall survival for certain types of cancer.”

Catching breast cancer at an early stage can be essential. Getting regular breast cancer screenings — including mammograms, breast ultrasounds, breast MRI and experimental breast imaging tests — can help in detecting it early.

“Ultrasound can be used as a supplement to mammograms, but not a replacement,” said Bowie. “Mammograms are still the best tool for the early detection of breast cancer. However, in certain circumstances, like when a patient has dense breast tissue or has a palpable mass that is not seen on mammogram, ultrasound can assist with detection of diseases.”

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is one of the many ways to support those battling breast cancer, and showing love and offering help are crucial for the friends and families of people with a current diagnosis.

“Most everyone has a family or loved one who has been diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Bowie. “Having a support system around that person is so important mentally and physically. Encouraging patients to keep their strength up with good nutrition and physical activity is so important. Minimal alcohol and no smoking is also important for overall health, especially when going through treatment for cancer.”

Why is breast cancer awareness so crucial?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a special time for Bowie, but she emphasizes that the community should not only focus on the fight against breast cancer for only a month.

“Educating patients and the community is of upmost importance to me, because this will hopefully decrease the risk for development of breast cancer, and if a patient does develop, breast cancer, increase the chances that is diagnosed at an earlier stage,” said Bowie. “Breast cancer awareness month is very important with regards to helping make patients aware of this, however, we should treat every month like breast cancer awareness month, constantly reaching out and educating as many women as we can.”