Sponsored by Central Florida Health Care
by TERESA SCHIFFER
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women, with 13% of the female population developing the disease at some point in their life. While it is the second-leading cause of death by cancer in women, there is good news.
“The one thing that every woman should know about breast cancer is that, for the most part, it is treatable,” says Dr. Cara Nelson-James, Chief Medical Officer at Central Florida Health Care, urging women to get annual mammograms. “That’s one of the reasons why we do screens. As you get older, your risk increases.”
The American Cancer Society recommends that most women be screened annually once they reach the age of 45. Women at greater risk, such as those with a family history of breast cancer, should consider getting mammograms once they reach 40.
While men can also develop breast cancer, their rate of incidence is significantly lower than that of women. They should still have any abnormal growths in that region checked by their doctor. Men can help reduce the impact of breast cancer by encouraging the women in their lives to be proactive about their health care.
“The number one reason that more women don’t get mammograms is probably fear,” Nelson-James explains. “The only way to overcome fear is education. People are often afraid of what they might find, so they avoid it altogether. The only way to overcome that is through awareness and patient education that the mammogram is a minimally invasive test and that most lesions are treatable, so we want to catch it as early as possible to ensure that we have the best options to treat the patient.”
Treatment depends on several factors, including the type of cancer, the location, and whether the lesion has progressed beyond the local area. For most women, simply removing the lesion results in a full recovery. Some will require chemotherapy or radiation afterward.
Central Florida Health Care is committed to improving women’s health by providing free mammograms and necessary follow-up care to uninsured patients. This is made possible by proceeds from an annual golf tournament that is open to the public. The 6th Annual Central Florida Health Care Golf Tournament will be held on October 25 at The Country Club of Winter Haven.
As a breast cancer survivor herself, Central Florida Health Care CEO Ann Claussen is passionate about the importance of early detection and treatment for breast cancer in women. It was during a regular screening that her mass was first detected. After a tissue diagnosis confirmed that it was cancerous, an excision was performed. No mastectomy was necessary. Her success story is a good example of the power of regular screenings to preserve patient health and well-being.
Through the profits generated by the Central Florida Health Care Golf Tournaments, more than 600 mammograms have been performed on patients who would otherwise be unable to afford care. Several of those patients then went on to have potentially life-saving treatments performed.
You can help defeat breast cancer by ensuring that you and the women in your life are receiving appropriate screenings on a regular basis and by taking part in the Central Florida Health Care Golf Tournament to provide free services to uninsured patients.
Learn more about the golf tournament at https://bit.ly/3kcdysK.