October 29, 2009


Dr. Ivonne Vargas Conducts Public Health Lecture on “Breast Cancer Awareness”

“Breast Cancer Awareness” was the focus of a public health lecture at Northeast Alabama Community College on October 23. The lecture was presented by Dr. Ivonne Vargas who is an OB-GYN in Scottsboro.

Dr. Vargas discussed the topics of breast cancer detection and diagnoses, the clinical breast exam, mammograms, other breast imaging tests (ultrasound and MRI), biopsy types (fine needle aspiration, core skin, and surgical), and breast tissue lab tests (hormone receptor and HER2/neu). She also discussed breast cancer prevention and prevention studies which are clinical trials involving women who have not had cancer but are at high risk of developing the disease. She pointed out that women in their 40s and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years. Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their health care provider whether to have mammograms and how often to have them.

She explained that health care providers can check for breast cancer before symptoms appear. During an office visit, the health care provider normally gets a personal and family medical history and gives a physical exam. One or more imaging tests, such as a mammogram, may be ordered. Treatments are more likely to work well when breast cancer is detected early.

For more information on breast health and cancer awareness, go to the National Cancer Institute, US National Institutes of Health Web site and click on "breast cancer."

Dr. Vargas has participated in the 2007 and 2008 Susan G. Komen 3-day 60-mile walk to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and died from it in 2007.

Dr. Vargas has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico and a Medical Doctor’s Degree from the Central University of Puerto Rico. She completed her OB-GYN Residency at Mount Sinai/St. Frances Hospital/University of Connecticut and was an Instructor at Mount Sinai/St. Frances residency Program/University of Connecticut. She has been in private practice of OB-GYN in Scottsboro OB-GYN Specialists for 15 years. This health lecture was provided as a free service to the faculty, staff and students at NACC, and to the public.

For more information about the Health Care lecture series, contact Susan Barron, Director of Events Planning, at or phone ext. 248.

Pictured after the lecture are Susan Barron,
Dr. Ivonne Vargas, and NACC students
Ailu Barrera and Stefanie Ashley.