The AWC National Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2017 Headliner Award to Patricia Anstett of the AWC Detroit Chapter.
Patricia Anstett’s 40-year career as a journalist has always exemplified the highest professional standards. Anstett is an accomplished journalist, mentor and leader who worked at major newspapers in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Detroit, including the last 22 years of her journalism career as medical writer for the Detroit Free Press. In April, 2017 she was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.
Her medical writing is respected for its accuracy, comprehensiveness, expansive reach and helpful, comforting story-telling. She broke news, told memorable stories and put the spotlight on questionable, shoddy and unethical practices in medicine that brought about important changes. Some of her most significant reporting led to improvements in the quality of mammography standards in Michigan; explained how medicine failed patients at the end-of-life as the Jack Kevorkian assisted suicide debate raged; and propelled new guidelines at the University of Michigan to guard against fraudulent expense account standards and unethical use of research money for a doctor’s private gain.
At the same time, she was a voice for change and gender equality in news coverage and hiring in her own newsroom and within journalism. She mentored more than a dozen interns, mostly minority women, and did classroom teaching around the country as an editor-in-residence at a time when largely male journalism schools were clamoring to bring more women into the classroom to talk to the growing number of women entering the field.
Always honest, courageous and thorough, she is widely recognized for reporting on health issues. Her extensive reporting on all aspects of mammography–compliance with state standards, large pricing differences, insurance reimbursement, access for Medicaid patients and funding for a state and federally-funded program that paid for free mammograms for low-income women– was distinctive, informative, relentless and meaningful.
Her stories had such an impact that failing centers closed; hospitals improved staffing and purchased new machines, including modern digital models proven to be more reliable than older ones. Former State Rep. Maxine Berman, who sponsored the 1989 legislation that created Michigan’s mammography standards and subsequent legislation to improve it, writes: “Without Pat’s unfailing interest and incisive articles, I honestly believe that my legislation may well not have passed or have been diluted into uselessness.”
Anstett retired in 2012 from the Detroit Free Press, after 30 years there, but remains fully engaged as an author in the most fulfilling mission of her career. She has written two books, including “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You,’’ published in 2016 by Rowman & Littlefield.
Anstett has been an AWC member since her college days and has been active in chapters throughout her career. She is a past president of the AWC Detroit Chapter and was honored by this chapter with the Headliner and Diamond Awards.
Anstett will accept the AWC Headliner Award at the AWC National Professional Development Conference in Addison, TX, where she will also be the speaker at the Headliner Award luncheon on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
Patricia Anstett, author of “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You,” today released 10 new videos on the subject, for use by breast cancer patients and organizations; medical schools; corporations; and libraries. They are free. They include two panel discussions, each one hour: “5 Women, 5 Choices,” and “4 Top Doctors Discuss Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction Options.” Here’s the link:
They also are available on Facebook at BCsurgerystories.
The videos were produced by Anstett and KDN Studio, Madison Heights, MI. Anstett and KDN’s MyBroadcastStudio are available to customize discussions for specific health systems on breast cancer surgery and reconstruction, as well as other health topics, featuring a system’s own doctors and patients. If interested, contact David Newman 248-585-9696 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best way you can help educate others about breast cancer surgery and reconstruction issues is to ask your public library to carry “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You” (Rowman & Littlefield; 2016) Here’s a flyer to take with you, and a few reviews.
LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW:: This work by journalist Anstett and photographer and breast cancer survivor Galligan (she’s featured here in Chapter 4) highlights the options and advances made in breast cancer treatment for those facing the disease, with women sharing their experiences, in detail, in order to provide the most up-to-date information. Decision-making can focus on mastectomy over lumpectomy with radiation, contralateral prophylactic surgeries, reconstruction (a variety on the menu, including a Texas-based surgeon who performs robotically enhanced minimally invasive reconstruction), or none at all. Genetic testing is a driver of some procedures, and the efficacy of those choices is covered as well. Additional chapters address insurance, sexuality, and family responsibilities. The text overall is accessible, but ultimately the authors suggest women take the time to deliberate on the alternatives and resist pressure from the medical community to jump in without knowing all the therapies and their repercussions. VERDICT A straightforward addition to the breast cancer canon.(Library Journal)
Book List Review: In 2014, more than 230,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. More than 102,000 of them underwent reconstruction, more than 71,000 right away and nearly 31,000 later. Anstett, a veteran newspaper reporter, and Galligan, an Emmy-winning photographer and breast-cancer survivor, spent two years thoroughly investigating women’s choices: breast-sparing lumpectomies with radiation; removal of one breast with and without reconstruction; removal of two breasts with and without reconstruction; reconstruction with tissue, saline implants, and silicone implants; nipple-sparing operations; nipple tattoos; and preventive mastectomies. Fortunately, they ably spell out the pros and cons of each option, and they provide the full names of the survivors along with their photographs. Anstett and Galligan also include chapters on finances and insurance, sex and intimacy, and how to cope with feeling like ‘damaged goods’ after surgery. Shaded boxes provide invaluable additional information, including a Q&A with a genetics counselor and lists of resources, such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This important, well-reported guide should empower women with breast cancer to figure out their own best treatment. (Booklist)
The public launch of “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You” at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital drew a great, attentive crowd, including former Michigan Public Health Director Vernice Anthony. The book will be available again on July 2 on Amazon.com, after selling out. It currently is available at the Barnes and Noble book store, Grosse Pointe Woods.
Anstett plans similar programs with health systems this year, as one way of getting out the word to women about information may look hard to find.
Next up: June 27, Methodist Hospital, San Antonio, operating home of Dr. Minas Chyrsopoulo, one of the nation’s top breast reconstruction surgery. Medical writer Patricia Anstett obtained permission last year from the hospital to watch a nipple-sparing double mastectomy procedure using a woman’s own abdominal tissue and blood vessels. The woman’s story and her surgery anchor the breast reconstruction with tissue chapter in the book. These inside-the-OR stories are among the unique aspects of this book, told with moving photographs by award-winning photographer Kathleen Galligan.
Today is the public launch of “Breast Cancer Surgery & Reconstruction: What’s Right for You,” a unique new book, told in real stories, from women who have been there. #nootherbooklikethis
A dear friend and breast cancer survivor invited me to join her and her mom for a 10-hour road trip to suburban Baltimore for my friend’s nipple tattooing session with nationally known breast tattoo artist Vinnie Myers. He sees women from all over the country and calls a nipple tattoo “the cherry on the cupcake.”
I went, observed and came back with a bunch of questions I asked of doctors. Then I wrote a sample chapter, “The Nipple: The Ultimate Challenge.” This chapter got me a contract with a large publishing company, Rowman and Littlefield, in two amazing weeks. After that, my reporter’s curiosity and instincts led me to dozens of other questions. I hope the book provides resources to women facing surgery, with or without reconstruction; that it gives helpful insights to those who have been there already; and provides medical schools and hospitals with new open approaches talking to patients about these issues.
Amazon.com has a cool feature that lets you “look inside” a book page by page. Take a peak: https://www.amazon.com/Breast-Cancer-Surgery-Reconstruction-Whats/dp/1442242620/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466122568&sr=8-1&keywords=breast+cancer+surgery
A new book, “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You,” comes out today. There are few resources like this and none with real insights from women, told in their own words, along with photography by Kathleen Galligan that captures their healing spirit. The book is $35 from Rowman and Littlefield and available on Amazon.com and some Barnes and Noble and other select bookstores.
On June 29, author Patricia Anstett, a long-time medical writer, will launch the book with a community event on the topic, with a book-signing, from 5-7 at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Other events are planned throughout the upcoming year.
#BreastReconstruction # breastcancer #plasticsurgery
Here’s an interview with WJR-Detroit’s Marie Osborne that wonderfully conveys some of the questions and answers about our book. It explains why I wrote the book; the issues it addresses; describes the range of women in the book; and recounts the breast cancer diagnosis of Detroit Free Press photographer Kathleen Galligan, three months after she began working on the book. She tells how she reluctantly moved from behind the camera in a first-person lumpectomy chapter for the book.