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Hope for Breast Cancer Patients in San Antonio, TX


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Breast cancer surgeon Dr. Maria Palafox opens South Texas Breast Surgery in San Antonio

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Hope for Breast Cancer Patients in San Antonio, TX

  1. 1.     NEWS RELEASE September 28, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE HOPE FOR BREAST CANCER PATIENTS IN SAN ANTONIO Breast cancer surgeon Dr. Maria Palafox opens South Texas Breast Surgery in San Antonio   There are 1.9 million women living in Bexar and surrounding counties. Of these women, over 10,000 need a mastectomy, lumpectomy or other breast cancer lesion removal each year. Shockingly, there are fewer than five female surgeons in San Antonio who specialize in these procedures. There is finally one more woman in the San Antonio area to bring hope to these women – Dr. Maria Palafox. Why are there so few female surgeons? The Association of American Medical Colleges states that as of 2010, only 15% of active general surgeons were female. “During my fifth year of residency, I was the only female with eight other males and we had co-ed call rooms. Quite frankly, it was uncomfortable.” When asked why she pursued surgery when the odds were stacked against her, Dr. Palafox smiles and states: “It was simply my calling and I knew I had to do it. I didn’t know then what impact those statistics might have, but you have to trust what you feel is right and go for it. Now it’s easy to see why I’m here: There are only 4 female breast cancer surgeons in a South Texas market with 1.9 million females! It’s tragic.” The small town El Paso girl studied doggedly and was one of the few females from El Paso to ever be accepted into The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). From there, she came to San Antonio to pursue her medical degree and fellowship at the UT Health Science Center. Trusting in a career path with so many walls can be hard, as famed former Johns Hopkins Chief of Surgery Dr. Julie Freischlag found again and again. “Years (after one interview), I found out that they had removed all women from their rank list – including me.” But Dr. Freischlag pushed on with grace and finesse, as she and other female surgeons have to do, even when told by one Dean who interviewed her for his Department Chair of General Surgery “he just couldn’t give that surgery job to a woman.” Some say it’s this very struggle that helps female breast cancer surgeons connect in a superior way with their patients. They have to be exceptionally bright to be surgeons, and exceptionally strong to make it through. “It’s not so different for our patients,” states Palafox. “It takes an incredible amount of strength and mental fortitude to fight breast cancer; these women amaze me every day.” South Texas Breast Surgery currently has two locations. ### Dr. Palafox is available as a media resource for questions on breast cancer, genetic testing, and women’s health; and for interviews in both English and Spanish. For interview requests or additional information, please contact Cynthia Huchingson at 210.393.2111 or