All Posts By

Sharon Mass, MD

Health & Wellness

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding Awareness, Breastfeeding Tips and the Best Nursing Bras

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While most people could tell you that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, breasts are also being honored right this minute: The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week, an international event celebrated by more than 170 countries. While fundraising walks and the omnipresent pink ribbon mark the former, this month we turn our attention to encouraging and supporting breastfeeding as a way to improve infant health globally.

Believe it or not, the United States is the only industrialized country that doesn’t provide workers with legally mandated paid maternity leave. In fact, only 21 percent of private employers offer paid leave. That’s not good news for boosting breastfeeding rates. Some innovative companies, though, have made breastfeeding and adequate leave a priority: Netflix now gives new parents up to one paid year off. Similarly, Google reduced its new mom attrition rate by half when it lengthened maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks.

How else can we support our breastfeeding moms and their babies? Continue Reading

Breast Cancer Awareness, Health & Wellness

“The Doctor Will See You Now, Doctor”: A Breast Cancer Survival Story

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In the final installment of our special four-part series on breast cancer, Dr. Sharon Mass opens up about her very personal battle:

When I was a child, my parents called me “Sunshine.” They joked about how I was an eternal optimist, always seeing the proverbial glass half-full. That optimism was tested when, at 43, I was diagnosed with breast cancer by a routine mammogram. As an OB-GYN, I had given cancer news to many patients. However, on a Friday in May 2011—Friday the 13th to be exact—I found myself on the other side of the phone.

Four-and-a-half years later, with pink ribbons fluttering in every storefront, pink shoes on the feet of NFL players and ‘turn-it-pink’ activities at my kids’ high school, I can’t help but relive the moments that had such a lasting impact on my life. In doing so, I can reflect on the impact that those four words—“You have breast cancer”—have had on me and those around me….

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Breast Cancer Awareness, Health & Wellness

Breast Cancer Awareness: Pink is the New Black

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Last week in our breast health special report, we discovered the Angelina effect. This week, we’re looking at the link between the breast cancer awareness movement’s ubiquitous pink ribbon and better outcomes for women worldwide. “That piece of fabric has evolved into the international symbol of a disease that touches millions, with almost as many meanings and implications,” says Dr. Sharon Mass, OBGYN and our exclusive medical correspondent. In a little over two decades, “it has galvanized communities, raised awareness and tremendous sums of money for research, and spurred more women to get life-saving mammograms,” she says.

Right this moment, in the interest of beating breast cancer, you can buy everything from bras (Wacoal has guaranteed a combined minimum donation of $250,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation this year) to blush, yogurt to office supplies. We couldn’t help but wonder where this mega-movement started. So, along with Dr. Mass, we went straight to the source: The Estée Lauder Companies.

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Breast Cancer Awareness, Health & Wellness

The Angelina Effect: Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

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We know the power of breast cancer screenings like 3D mammography. Genetic testing for breast cancer is another tool in the fight. When megastar and humanitarian activist Angelina Jolie Pitt spoke out in 2013 about testing positive for the BRCA1 gene, making her very likely to develop breast and/or ovarian cancer, she made waves worldwide by publicly sharing her decision to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy.

“Her honesty and advocacy have made a real difference for women,” says Dr. Sharon Mass, OBGYN and our special medical correspondent. “Because she’s well-known and respected, when she started talking about genetic screening and the surgery, it became mainstream, not this hush-hush, scary thing. Thanks to her, women started talking about it with their own physicians,” Dr. Mass says. In fact, a new study showed that one-fifth of the participants said Angelina’s case made them “deal more intensively with the topic of breast cancer.”

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Breast Cancer Awareness, Health & Wellness

You Are Now Entering the Third Dimension: 3D Mammography

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Welcome to our special month-long series in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, featuring Dr. Sharon Mass, our exclusive medical correspondent. She’s an OBGYN as well as a survivor. Stop back each week as we zero in on a different facet of the disease including genetic testing, the legacy of the pink ribbon and Dr. Mass’ own story. We’re starting with an overview of the disease and the latest advance in mammography.

Every day, our amBRAssadors™ field calls from breast cancer survivors. Breasts, bras, femininity and identity are all inextricably, powerfully linked:
• A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes in America
• It’s the most common cancer in women worldwide
• It’s the second leading cause of cancer death in women
• 27% of all new cancer cases in women will be breast cancer
• In the U.S. alone, there are almost 3 million breast cancer survivors

Mammography is the only screening test that’s been shown to decrease the risk of dying from breast cancer. We sat down for a Q&A with Dr. Mass on this newest innovation in breast cancer detection.

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