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Early Detection Key for Treating Breast Cancer

From Debra Wilson, Lee Health’s Vice President of Oncology.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It’s a time to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. About 43,600 women in the United States are expected to die in 2021 from breast cancer.

Breast cancer death rates are second only to lung cancer, and it’s the second most common cancer among women.

Early detection is key. That’s why at Lee Health, we have multiple Breast Health Centers in Southwest Florida, close by ready to support you and your healthcare needs. Detecting breast cancer in its early stages means a 98% survival rate and gives women time to consider surgery and treatment alternatives. 

Screenings are extremely important. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Be sure to talk to talk to your doctor about when you should get one.

Please don’t put off potentially life-saving screenings, like mammograms, due to COVID-19. We know you may have concerns about visiting a healthcare facility, but we urge you not to forgo a trip to your doctor because of COVID-19 fears. All Lee Health hospitals have implemented extensive safeguards – including requiring face coverings and conducting symptom and exposure risk screenings at facility entrances – to ensure you will receive the safest care possible.

If you do need treatment, Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center can help. Through the Regional Cancer Center, those in Southwest Florida do not have to leave home and the support of family and friends to receive the world-class care they need during their fight against cancer.

It takes many specialists and support staff to fight breast cancer. At the Regional Cancer Center, we offer a comprehensive care program, complete with oncologists, nurse navigators, a dietician, genetics counselor and more. The certified and dedicated team designs treatment programs that exceed national survivorship rates through a compassionate and collaborative experience.

A cancer diagnosis can be a scary and overwhelming time. Lee Health has nurse navigators who are trained to help guide patients through their cancer care plans. These specialists meet patients in our hospitals or outpatient centers and advise on next steps, like scans, tests, appointments, and the timeline involved for each. They also answer questions, tackle transportation issues, and help with insurance concerns. By serving as a point person during treatment, navigators make sure that patients have more time to concentrate on healing.

Our breast health navigators are here to help you. If you need their services, Liz Bachoo-Garib, MSN, CBCN, OCN can be reached at 239-343-9554 and Wendy Leger, APN, AOCN at 239-343-9671. The services offered through the breast navigation program are at no cost to the patient.

To learn more about our services or to schedule a mammogram screening online, visit www.leehealth.org.