Why Breast Cancer Awareness Month is so personal to Endomag CEO Dr Eric Mayes
Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month - and running alongside our #MagTeam100 challenge - we'll be speaking to a number of people who've been affected by breast cancer, hearing about their personal experiences and the breast cancer topics they feel passionately about.
This week, we spoke with Dr. Eric Mayes, CEO at Endomag to hear why a very personal encounter with breast cancer has made him so passionate about driving higher standards of care.
Q: You’ve been at Endomag for ten years – what makes you particularly passionate about improving the standards of breast cancer care?
EM: “Anyone can be affected by breast cancer – and many of us at Endomag have personal stories that make us passionate about what we do. When I started at Endomag it was personal for me too.
When my mother was in her early 50s, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, I was a student 5,000 miles away in the UK and really had nothing to offer other than sympathy and support. Importantly she survived the cancer, but that experience marked me.
About a decade later I had the opportunity to lead a company focused on helping women with breast cancer improve their outcomes – and I jumped right in with my mother’s full support.”
Q: So did your mother make a full recovery?
EM: “She did and so for a number of years I helped continue to develop Endomag and expand its reach. But I was shocked when my mother came back to say that she had breast cancer again in her early 70’s.
My parents are now retired in a rural city in the Texas panhandle but I knew they had excellent medical care. I was just as proud, as I was surprised and astounded, when my mother told me that she had been speaking with the radiologist, who had said that she was going to be implanting something about the size of a grain of rice.
She asked the radiologist “Is that a Magseed?” and the radiologist said, “Yes, how do you know about that?” And she said, “that's my son's company!”
So my mother was absolutely thrilled – and I was amazed and surprised to learn that we had a Sentimag in my parents city. But also astounded to find that I could offer something to help my mother. And it really felt like a circle had been completed once she had the all clear following that surgery.”
Q) October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. How important is this month to drive awareness of the disease?
EM: “Well every year 2 million women are affected by breast cancer. That number is on the increase and expected to grow by 50% by 2030. The good news is that survival has improved significantly and that survival is really down to early detection. The earlier you can detect breast cancer, the better the outcome for the patient.
That’s why Breast Cancer Awareness Month is so critically important. It’s important to remind women to have their mammogram, to get checked and to do it early. Nine times out of 10, that suspicious lump turns out not to be cancer.
And you might be worried about Covid-19 and going to see your clinician to have a mammogram but they’ve taken measures such that it’s just as safe as going in to a grocery store as it is to go out and have a mammogram. So please don’t put it off.”
Q) Where is there “more to do” when it comes to breast cancer awareness and supporting patients?
EM: “Even though breast cancer survival is improving, there’s still so much more to do. Endomag stands on the shoulders of clinicians who have been making things better for patients for decades, and throughout the whole history of breast cancer treatment, doctors have had a common goal – reducing invasiveness while maintaining clinical outcomes.
At Endomag, we’re maintaining that trend and we’ve been helping to introduce new techniques such as targeted axillary dissection or delayed sentinel lymph node biopsy.
We want to help reduce unnecessary surgery, make surgery that is required better for the patient and the surgeon, and most importantly ensure care is available to everyone, everywhere."
Q: How will Endomag be marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year?
EM: “Earlier this year Endomag surpassed 100,000 procedures with its Sentimag system – and we’d like to take a moment to thank the physicians and the patients who helped us to reach that goal.
So throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re running something called the #MagTeam100 challenge, an initiative where people walk, run, or cycle 100 miles during the month of October. And for everyone who completes that goal, we’ll donate £100 to the Prevent Breast Cancer charity, a charity that’s funding vital research towards eliminating this disease.
So I encourage people to sign up and join us in helping to raise money for this – I already did my first run last night! We welcome everyone to help raise money for this important charity, as well as thanking all of those who’ve helped us reach this goal of 100,000.”