Straight Talk - "Breast Cancer Awareness Month"

November 7, 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We have just completed Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to celebrate the Breast Cancer Program at NCH and the many excellent specialists whose collaborative efforts maximize the outcomes for the region’s breast cancer patients.

Our role in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, created by the American Cancer Society in 1985, was coordinated by Roy Threet, MHA, FACHE, Administrator—Oncology Service Line. Over the past 27 years, numerous patient advocacy and clinical organizations have joined the movement to recognize and promote the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that regular exercise can cut the risk of cancer recurrence up to 50%; there is ample evidence that staying fit reduces your risk of colon cancer and cancers of the upper digestive tract, too. Obesity can double the risk of breast cancer, according to a Cornell University study in 2006.

Our NCH breast cancer team, composed of numerous medical specialties, is second to none in our region.

NCH primary care physicians encourage and support early detection collaboratively with diagnostic radiologists, a representative radiologist who has a special interest in mammography being Dr. Tom Hudson. We all benefit from NCH digital mammography equipment dispersed throughout Collier County. An excellent team of pathologists, working closely with NCH’s Medical Oncology Partners at Florida Cancer Specialists and the Radiation Oncologists at 21st Century Oncology, utilizes combined expertise to arrive at a diagnosis from biopsies and surgical specimens. The two NCH Outpatient Infusion Centers (known as “OPIS”), located at the Downtown and the North Naples Hospitals, are key components in the treatment continuum where chemotherapy regimens are administered by expert, certified oncology nurses.

NCH has many excellent surgeons with many years of experience performing delicate procedures that save women’s lives and return them to their loving families. Our NCH general surgeons are key members of the NCH Breast Cancer Program team, including Drs. JB Brockman, Jacob Jordan, David Lamon, Yaritza Perez-Soto, Mark Petrites, Luigi Querusio, Sam Tunkle and Justin Warner.

One less visible but invaluable element of our Breast Cancer Program, accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer since 1982, is the NCH Cancer Registry, a computerized database which holds NCH data on cancer patient care all the way back to 1972. The NCH Cancer Registry, like all of our critical components, continuously works to improve, as demonstrated by a recent quality improvement analysis of NCH breast cancer data.

Finally, the NCH Breast Cancer Program is fortunate to have a Breast Health Navigator, RN Deb D’Orazio, whose daily mission is to educate, navigate and advocate for breast cancer patients throughout their journey from diagnosis through treatment and into maintenance. Her personal contact and frequent communication with breast cancer patients adds an extra measure of compassion and support to our patients and our program.

At NCH, fighting breast cancer is a daily challenge. We have a team; we have a mission; and we are focused on prevention, early diagnosis, and effective treatment. Sincere thanks to all of you involved in that noble effort.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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