In 1877, the Granite Workers’ Union was the first to offer sick benefits to its employees. They built a way for their community to rally around those who needed medical attention and support to get back on their feet. Today, The Granite List, powered by Connect Healthcare Collaboration, is working to instill that same sense of community by connecting benefits solutions that add real and lasting value to plan members.
Thursday Oct 21, 2021
Thursday Oct 21, 2021
Thursday Oct 21, 2021
Breast Cancer awareness is 12 months a year if we are to save more lives and have earlier detection. Sally and Leigh's guests today are here to help. Celbrea® does not replace a mammogram, but gives an interim, non-invasive, radiation-free way to check one of the earliest warning, before feeling a lump and takes only 15 minutes. Every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Every 13 minutes a woman dies IN THE USA. Using liquid crystal thermographic technology, Celbrea basically takes the temperature of the two breasts and compares them. You'll want to hear about this life-saving technology that works alongside other early detection techniques. Sally and Leigh welcome Kelley Ospal and Jaime Pira of Welwaze, the creators of Celbrea, to inspire you to either offer this service in your office, or health plan, or for you the patient to request it. Women, it's the best 15 minutes you can spend between mammograms. You may want to bring your mom, aunt, sister, daughter, cousin, best friends, too. When this is offered as an event in the workplace, the increase in breast cancer screening and preventive measure success increases from 40% to 88%!
The full transcript of this episode is here:
Welcome to another episode of The Granite List Live. Navigating a sea of benefit solution is daunting at best and new vendors emerge every week. Hosts Leigh Dill and Sally Pace bring brokers and employers a solid resource when it comes to uncovering what's new, what's needed, and what is happening now to allow for the best plan design possible. By staying on top of trends, brokers and employers can in turn stay on top of spending while improving employee engagement and outcomes.
Breast cancer awareness is 12 months a year, if we were to save more lives and have earlier detection. Sally and Leigh's guests today are here to help. Celbrea does not replace a mammogram, but gives an interim noninvasive, radiation-free way to check one of the earliest warnings before feeling a lump, and takes only 15 minutes. Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Every 13 minutes, a woman dies from breast cancer in the USA. Using liquid crystal thermographic technology, Celbrea basically takes the temperature of the two breasts and compares them. You'll want to hear about this lifesaving technology that works alongside other early detection techniques. Sally and Leigh welcome Kelley [Ospal 00:01:20] and Jaime Pira of Welwaze, the creators of Celbrea, to inspire you to either offer this service in your office or health plan or for you, the patient, to request it.
Women, it's the best 15 minutes you can spend between mammograms or ultrasounds. You may want to bring your mom, aunt, sister, daughter, cousin, best friends too. When this is offered as an event in the workplace, the increase in breast cancer screening and preventive measure success increases from 40% to 88%. Please listen to this full episode. It may save your life or that of somebody you love.
Sally Pace (02:02):
Thanks everybody you for joining us. This is Sally Pace. We are thrilled today to have a dynamic duo from Welwaze joining us to talk about some pretty revolutionary products that they've developed in the space of breast health. As everyone knows, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so there couldn't be a better time for this conversation.
Jaime Pira (02:25):
Hello everyone. My name is Jaime Pira. I am the chief experience officer at Welwaze Medical. We are the manufacturers of Celbrea, a breast screening device. It's a pleasure to be here with you today.
Kelley Opsal (02:39):
My name is Kelley Opsal. I'm the senior account manager for Welwaze Medical and I am representing Celbrea. Yeah. Actually, it's a great time to have this podcast because there's a lot of women that it doesn't dawn on them to go in to get their breast health checked, for instance, ultrasound or mammogram. They've started seeing it more on TV. They started thinking about it. And a lot of times they hadn't even gone in for their mammogram because they just don't like to go in for the mammogram. So, it could have been two or three years before they had even had their breast health checked. So, they have no idea where they're at, at that point in their life, with where they're at with their breast health, but their curious to know, and that's where Celbrea would definitely come in to offer that to them. The screening test is a 15-minute screening test in the office. Make an appointment. Go to a facility. It's in the convenience of the doctor's office or the clinic.
Sally Pace (03:33):
Kelley, I'm going to start with you. Tell us a little bit about your journey, what led you to the Welwaze team, and what you're working on right now.
Kelley Opsal (03:44):
Well, I've always been in the medical field. What brought me to Welwaze was personal experience. With that said, my mother-in-law actually, got diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 67. She had been going in for her annuals and halfway in between her annual mammogram, she felt a lump. By the time that she had felt it, at the age of 67, which is usually fairly on up in your years for a breast cancer, it had already spread. She fought a good battle for about exactly five years because that's usually the life expectancy. She did go into remission, but I had been with her on that entire journey and it really touched my heart as to what I saw her go through, and the fact that I do think that it could have been prevented.
Kelley Opsal (04:30):
When I was offered this opportunity, I jumped on it because I was invested personally in it, which made me more passionate about it. It's really to give women a fighting chance and it feels though that I'm helping women to make a decision out there to get a handle on where they're at, to check in where they're at with their breast health, and not wait any longer because so many women are just waiting to go get their screenings done.
Sally Pace (04:55):
Jaime, tell us what Welwaze has developed. What is Celbrea?
Jaime Pira (05:01):
Okay. Well, Celbrea is a thermal activity indicator. So, basically, it's a screening device that works as a measuring the temperature of women's breasts, making the comparison between one breast and the other, and determining whether that temperature is okay and everything's fine, or whether there's a significant temperature difference, and by that measurement, creating an alert to her clinician that she needs to follow up with further testing. Celbrea picks up a heat signal that is emitted usually by malignant breast tumors. And that is very important for people to know. It's not the only pathology that generates heat signals, but is the most clinically relevant. So, working with Celbrea, it's fantastic because it has a very strong negative predictive value. The product is very good when it's used as a screening tool. It's not a diagnostic tool. And it's fairly easy to use in the clinic of the physician's office and they can readily do it in 15 minutes or so.
Sally Pace (06:06):
It's hard to describe just how fabulous the product is on a podcast where there are no visuals. I think it's important for the audience to understand the difference in what and how it is administered versus other modes of breast health monitoring. So, I want to know. To me, it is kind of an adhesive disc. Jaime, would you say it's very similar to the adhesive hospital thermometers that people maybe familiar with?
Jaime Pira (06:39):
Celbrea is quite unique in its design, and the way it works, and the whole science behind it. So, there is nothing really a good point to say, this is exactly the same, but if people visit our Celbrea website, they would see the images and we have some videos there that explain how it works and how it's administered. But to your audience today, what I can briefly say is that this device is very simple in its appearance. It is two pads that are applied directly on the surface of the breast. They have to be on the breast for 15 minutes. They are painless pretty much because they tend to simply adhere to the skin with a medical adhesive. After that, they are removed, and from there, we go on to read the test results, and that's pretty much it.
Jaime Pira (07:24):
Important things to know in medical devices is how safe they are. On our clinical trials, Celbrea demonstrated to be very safe and effective. Since it's noninvasive, we don't have any side effects reported to the Celbrea device. So, what I can say, it doesn't generate any radiation to the test. It doesn't generate any infrared or electromagnetic fields that are exchanged. So, it's a very safe simple-to-use device.
Leigh Dill (07:52):
Kelley, can you tell us about who the optimal user would be and who should go to their OB and suggest using this device?
Kelley Opsal (08:00):
Absolutely. The ideal patient type would be women under 40 and also women that are in need of more frequent and additional testing because it may have ran in their family and they have the BRCA gene. Also, women, of course, that have gaps in access to care. A lot of women, in some outer-lying areas, they don't even have other screening tests available in other countries. So, Celbrea is picking up active tumors in women with dense breast, whereas it could have been missed by some other screening test. But the ideal patient really is anybody and over the age of 18. In clinical trials, we had tested it on all walks of life, on all breast sizes, and we have seen it to be really successful ideally in women with dense breasts. And a lot of women that have dense breasts walk away from an ultrasound or mammogram a lot of times, just wondering if it really caught everything it needed to catch.
Kelley Opsal (08:59):
The wonderful thing about Celbrea is that it is skin on skin and you don't even really feel it while it's on. It's literally just the way I like to explain it to patients in the waiting room while I'm waiting to speak to my physicians because they ask about it. They're so interested and just intrigued by it. I basically say, "It's two patches that go on each breast and it's on there for 15 minutes. You really don't even feel that it's on. And then, we will peel it off, lay it flat, and do the reading."
Kelley Opsal (09:26):
What's great is we have a new app that does the reading for the nurse practitioners and the physicians, and they know their results right there on the spot. Whether there is a need for further testing if there is suspicious activity, it's not to alarm the patient because it may not be cancer, but what is occurring that Celbrea is just magically picking up, if you will, is a process called angiogenesis. That is when there is an active tumor. Whether I'd be cancerous or not, it's going to nestle itself into those blood vessels that are located in the breast. And then, immediately, in order for it to grow, we are nourishing it. We are helping it to grow and it's giving off heat, which is rising up to the pad of the Celbrea screening. So, it's going to be able it up if there is angiogenesis occurring, right away.
Leigh Dill (10:19):
I know we're all familiar with the mammogram bands that come around. Can you tell us a little bit of how you work with on-site clinics to administer a free screening for employees?
Jaime Pira (10:32):
Basically, after we go through the whole vetting process of the plan, understanding the benefits of the product, the impact on earlier detection versus later detection, and after they realize the potential savings they can derive from the cost reductions of treating a more advanced cancer versus an earlier detected cancer, usually what the on-site clinics will do is what they Celbrea drives or events during the year.
Jaime Pira (11:05):
Of course, during the month of October, many of these self-funded employers are doing these “Celbrea Drives,” in which they invite their plan members to come and test, typically at the nursery, a facility on the site or at the on-site clinic. So, since this is a rather simple procedure, they don't even need to clock out of their job. They simply go to the infirmary. They are scheduled in 30-minutes intervals and they're applied the test and they have their checkup. To mention here that Celbrea is not intended to replace mammography at all... It's in fact an adjunctive tool that adds additional information to the clinician in an earlier stage of his screening procedure with the patient.
Jaime Pira (11:52):
Another interesting fact that we found with self-funded employers is that before the use of Celbrea, patient adherence rate to the annual mammography... I'll give you an example. We found a self-funded employer that had 40% adherence to the annual mammogram. That's very low, despite of the fact that the health service was fully covered. After the Celbrea test was implemented and the doctor had the opportunity to have a quality conversation about breast health, the importance of screening, and the importance to staying on top of screening, that rate went up to 88%. So, that's really magnificent in the sense that not only are we helping to detect any potential of early breast tumor, but we're also helping getting most of those ladies more conscious and aware of the importance of their annual mammogram. So, a good 88% of them now, after three months of that program, are now compliant with the device. That's a little bit of how we're dealing with this in an on-site and self-insured employer space.
Sally Pace (13:01):
You mentioned the self-funded space, which is really obviously our audience, who listens to our podcast series, both advisor side and the employer side. So, while the month of October lends itself to a focus on breast cancer awareness, what we all know and our audience knows is that it stretches far beyond that one month and has a grave impact on the cost of a health plan. So, Kelley and Jaime, I know as we've had conversations just among all of us, we do talk about that I guess the average cost of cancer in the US at least is about $80,000 a year and it goes up exponentially as the different stages progress. Kelley, you mentioned earlier detection and the importance of that. If you had the opportunity to speak to every woman in the United States and tell them about this product, what would you want them to know?
Kelley Opsal (14:00):
The importance of breast health is just so forefront in a woman's life. A lot of times they're going to think about maybe going and getting Botox, getting their hair done, getting their nails done, and they just keep putting it off because they just hope that nothing's wrong, and another year goes by and they just really don't pay attention to it that often because they're hoping and they just assume, nothing is going on. You can have breast cancer and not feel anything and it's just very frightening and very scary that women just do not realize the importance. It's kind of another one of those silent killers and early detection is key because if you can get it removed, get that cancerous tumor removed, you've just bought yourself another lifetime, so to speak. If you don't do it, the repercussion could definitely be that you're going to be spending, your family's going to go into bankruptcy, trying to take those five years to maybe get it eradicated or go into remission.
Kelley Opsal (14:59):
We think mammograms are very important, but there's a lot of times, too, where there are women that just want to check in halfway through that. For instance, like my mother-in-law, who'd found a lump six months after she had just been given a clean bill of health by the radiologist. That is when she felt it in the shower and it had already spread. So, it's a very inexpensive test to perform. It's very quick. It's easy, painless, FDA-cleared. Again, we just really are trying to promote it as an adjunct. The mammography industry, I know, just loves us because if there is a significant finding, it is motivating that patient to get in there and get your ultrasound. Get in there and get your mammogram. Again, its cost is really not a big factor.
Sally Pace (15:45):
But you've mentioned the financial impact for families, and you're right, it is a nominal cost. I know a study was cited recently. Cancer patients on average are about two and a half times more likely to declare bankruptcy as those without cancer, and 30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer who are working at the time they were diagnosed are no longer working three years later. So, if we think about what's happened in the workforce due to COVID and people being removed from the workforce and being displaced, I guess I hadn't really thought about it in terms of the financial impact and the feasibility for work impact that breast cancer has as well.
Kelley Opsal (16:24):
Yeah. You know what? I really find it fascinating when I do have that one-on-one time to talk to each patient and they're just like, "Wow, I wish I would've known about this sooner," is what the feedback I get or, "I had no idea that this was readily available in the United States." It's fairly new, but there's so many women that said, "I will do this in a heartbeat. I will have my daughter do it. I will have my mother do it." Again, 18 and over, but there's a of women that ask about their daughters because I mean, that's your offspring and you want to make sure that your children are safe and okay and they can live a long healthy life. It is indicated for 18 and over, but it's up to the physician, whether they want your child to get it.
Kelley Opsal (17:05):
Let's say the cancer is just hitting the grandmother or it was the aunt who had it and passed away from it, it can run rampant in family trees and skip a few generations, but they really take it to heart. Before you know it, when I go in and one gets it done, they bring their grandmother in, they bring their aunt in, they bring their best friend and next-door neighbor in. It's just a matter of getting the word out. That's why I think this podcast is such a blessing because so many women do not know that Celbrea is easy, it's readily available, and it's very affordable.
Leigh Dill (17:35):
If I'm a listener and I want to go take the Celbrea test, what do I need to do? What are my next steps?
Jaime Pira (17:44):
Let me just for a moment go back to Sally's question with a little bit of hard data. One of the things I would like women to know is that contrary to popular belief, more than 85% of breast cancer occurs in women without family history. So, that's a very important call for action for you women out there. Simply because we believe that if we don't have it in our family history, we may be okay and we can relax about it. I don't want to create the scare, but the importance of screening for everybody is incredible. That's the key message. The other is that of course, there is a new technology that can get started in your screening process with an easy and affordable test.
Jaime Pira (18:26):
Coming back to your question, Leigh, about how to come about Celbrea, we are slowly introducing the product into the US market. So, any of the people who are listening to this podcast who want to partner up with Welwaze in helping us in this distribution effort and partnership effort, we are absolutely open for business and willing to discuss that with you absolutely. Now, the way we are actually doing it for the primary care and family practices is we have a national distributor that supplies doctors nationwide for Celbrea, so all you have to do is ask your doctor about Celbrea and they will be able to procure the product and apply the test.
Jaime Pira (19:09):
Of course, that is one way. We are also mobilizing to make this a little simpler in times of COVID and the life we're living nowadays. So, we're also going to have an e-commerce platform coming up pretty soon that will facilitate the acquisition of the device once your doctor prescribes the device and offers it to you. So, I hope with that, we answered your question and want to thank the group at Connect for making this possible because we need to get the word out there. There are alternatives and there is other ways for screening that doesn't necessarily have to be difficult or expensive.
Sally Pace (19:43):
That is a perfect note to end on. We are honored and proud that you all have a presence, both on The Granite List, where people can find information about the product and contact you all that way, but Jaime, is there another, for our audience that is interested and wants to take you up on those next steps? How can our listeners get in touch with your team?
Jaime Pira (20:06):
I would share my email address with your audience. It's [email protected]. That's spelled J-A-I-M-E, @wellways.com. And we have a website for both our company, Welwaze Medical, at celbrea.com.
Kelley Opsal (20:22):
As women ask me about it in the waiting room if the doctors were not actually stocking it in their office, I just tell them to go to welwaze.com. There are physicians listed on there and see if there's one local to you. If not, you can call the support and give your physician's name and we will contact them to see if they can start stocking It.
Sally Pace (20:40):
Kelley, Jaime, thank you very much for joining us today. I hope that our audience will take you up on learning more about this lifesaving product that you all have developed, and look for ways to incorporate it particularly into their health plans as they were shined the light on October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month as well. Thanks everybody and thanks [crosstalk 00:21:01] for joining us.
Kelley Opsal (21:01):
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Granite List Live. Access our entire library by visiting your favorite podcast venue or subscribe in our site, thegranitelist.live.