Whether it’s pink cleats on the gridiron, pinked up fire trucks, pink ribbons, or a golf cart outfitted with giant pink boobs, as at a July 4 parade in Flagler Beach last year, to name a few of the endless gimmickry around what the Susan G. Komen foundation calls “Pinktober,” evading Breast Cancer Awareness month has become practically impossible. But looking through the pink mist and following through on the intended message is a different story. So local organizations are still pushing the basics: awareness, yes, but exams most of all.
So in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Florida Department of Health in Flagler encourages all women to receive regular screenings to promote early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Important advances have been made through increased awareness, breast cancer screenings and better treatments.
Carmel Frawley, ARNP for the DOH-Flagler, has focused on women’s health for more than twenty years and encourages her patients to do regular self-breast exams as a preventative measure.
“Self-exams and awareness continue to play an important role in prevention,” said Frawley. “However, technology has made it easier to diagnose and treat breast cancer in a way we would have never imagined in the 1980s or 1990s. And all of these technological advances also mean that more women and men are surviving breast cancer.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not counting some kinds of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, no matter a person’s race or ethnicity. The American Cancer Society estimates 19,130 new cases are expected in Florida this year alone. In 2018, 2,955 women in Florida and 13 women in Flagler County died from Breast Cancer.
What should women do? Make “no excuses, ladies.” Women should talk to their health care provider about their individual risk factors and the frequency of receiving mammograms, as well as complete any recommended mammogram screenings. Additionally, women can lower their risk by:
- Getting and staying at a healthy weight.
- Being physically active.
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol.
- Choosing to breast-feed.
- Quitting smoking and/or vaping.
The Flagler Health Department also participates in the Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which makes it easier for uninsured women to get free or low cost breast and cervical cancer screenings offers provided they meet program eligibility requirements:
- Women age 50 through 64
- No insurance of any kind (including Medicaid, Medicare and third party)
- Limited Income – Self declared – no verification necessary.
- Pre-screen over the phone — 386-437-7350, ext. 3111 — or walk-in at DOH-Flagler
Clients are seen in most cases within one week. The Flagler Department of Health can provide services for 20 clients a month through the program. Women under 50 with a family history of breast cancer and/or suspicion of a lump may also be eligible. Those with private health insurance (not Florida Medicaid) should see their primary care physician for screenings. For more information about Cancer visit here.
All local governments have recognized October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and AdventHealth Palm Coast is continuing its tradition of leading the Pink Army every October, its signature fund-raising and awareness drive that culminates this Sunday with its 5K and 1 Mile Pet-Friendly Fun Walk in Town Center, starting at 7:45 a.m. All proceeds go toward financially supporting mammograms, breast ultrasounds, stereotactic breast biopsies, education and other specific diagnostic services to aid in the early detection of breast cancer. Pre-registration for the $35 entry fee is available here.
Last year, some 800 people took part in the event, and the Pink Army raised $16,700. “The check for $16,694, that’s the largest amount that we have had ever,” Tony Papandrea, chairman of the AdventHealth Foundation board, said in February. “It’s a 15-percent increase over 2017 and it tells me one thing – we are growing in awareness and effectiveness. People are listening and people are doing what we’re asking them to do – which is early detection, go get a screening.” The Pink Army has raised $150,000 over the years.