During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, survivors spread awareness

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, survivors and doctors are trying to spread awareness and encourage regular testing, something that made the difference in the life of one South Florida patient.

Doctors urge women with no family history to start getting screened when they’re 40 years old, because the earlier they detect it, the better the chance of survival. “We can start to see the outline of a little mass,” said Dr. Mary Hayes, chief of Women’s Imaging at Memorial Healthcare in Hollywood.

That was just the beginning for Suzanne Police. “They saw a little calcification area which they biopsied, and it turned out to be positive,” she said.

Police has a history of breast cancer in her family, so instead of getting the regular 2-D mammogram, she opted for the 3-D tomosynthesis.

Tomosynthesis takes layers of images, which pick up smaller areas of cancer. “This is the prior area, and then this is the cancer one year later, so there’s been an increase in the calcifications right in this area,” said Hayes.

At Memorial Regional Hospital, doctors find 40 percent more cancer using tomosynthesis than 2-D mammograms, according to Hayes. “This area here is not even one millimeter, like a pencil point, I guess I’d say,” she said, “so when we find breast cancers early, we have the best chance of patient survival in the 98 percent range.”

“It’s a life saver,” Police said.

Police had a double mastectomy with reconstruction and is now cancer-free. “Thank goodness that I do this every year and keep up with it because it was caught early, and it did not spread anywhere,” she said.

Early detection is the key, so Memorial Regional is teaming up with 7News to spread awareness. “So the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is happening on October 29th, at 8:30, at Huizenga Plaza in Broward and also Marlins Park,” Maggie Wiegandt, chairperson of the walk, said.

The walk will draw tens of thousands of people. Organizers hope it will raise nearly $1 million for cancer research. The money enables doctors to create new technologies and help people like Police and countless other to survive.

“Please don’t be afraid to get your annual mammogram,” said Police. “It is very important. It is necessary.”

For more information and to register to walk, click here.

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