Recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month and honoring survivors

UHS hospitals offer services to help patients and their families cope with the day-to-day details of a breast cancer diagnosis.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the U.S., only behind skin cancer. Many UHS acute care hospitals across the country feature Breast Care Centers where women can receive a variety of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for this awful disease. “These centers organize services into a coordinated, integrated, multidisciplinary approach from diagnosis through survivorship," says Paul Stefanacci, Vice President of Quality and Chief Medical Officer at UHS. "Each breast care team provides general and individualized information and support for patients to help them make the decisions that best fit their needs, including treatment options.”

Our teams also offer supportive services to help patients and their families cope with the day-to-day details of a breast cancer diagnosis. These resources address the emotional and physical needs of breast cancer patients. This approach enables our teams to focus on the needs of each patient, utilizing evidence-based medicine in the delivery of care, ultimately leading to higher quality.

Honoring Survivors

Marie Cannon, Elena Egbert and Leslie Johnston

Being brave in the face of a cancer diagnosis is no easy feat. But when you combine bravery with inner strength, hope, courage, determination and the support of family, friends and coworkers, you somehow find your way through the darkness and into the light. And that is exactly what survivors Leslie, Marie and Elena did, with care provided by the Women’s Breast Health and Imaging Center at Aiken Regional Medical Centers in Aiken, South Carolina. These are their stories.

Leslie Johnston

During my yearly mammogram in April 2014, they found a mass in my right breast. After an ultrasound and biopsy, I found out I had cancer and was given the option of partial mastectomy or have the mass removed. I went home in shock, crying and thinking my world was over. And then I started praying. By the next day, I was at peace with what I had to do. The doctor removed the mass and two lymph nodes, and luckily, it had not spread into the lymph nodes.

Chemotherapy and radiation followed, and I did it all through the grace of God. It’s a tough battle, but you can do it once you get over the word “CANCER.” I was lucky to have an incredible support system, Aiken Regional and God by my side.

Marie Cannon

I discovered that I had breast cancer by just getting my yearly mammogram in 2015. I didn’t actually believe that I had breast cancer until it was confirmed with the biopsy results. It was so overwhelming, because I have no family history of breast cancer. But I was very fortunate because everything was still in the early stages. I worked throughout my entire 20+ radiation treatments and not many people at work knew what I was going through.

My advice is to get your yearly mammogram. I have five daughters and I make sure each of them gets theirs every year. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to them. Through God and faith, I am here today.

Elena Egbert

I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive Mammary Carcinoma in April of 2016. Being “too busy” kept me from consulting my doctor until the symptoms were undeniable and
significant fear had set in. My cancer was aggressive, spreading to my lymph nodes and beyond by the time I bothered to even see my doctor. Fortunately, my physicians were exceptional, all practicing here in Aiken, and they were attentive and aggressive. I had a
bilateral mastectomy, 15 lymph nodes removed, a total hysterectomy, and rounds of chemotherapy, followed by weeks of radiation. I completed cancer treatment and am well into my recovery.

I am blessed, humbled and forever grateful to have had the unfailing love and support of my incredible family, as well as a community of friends, teams of healthcare providers, and everyday champions for those of us who have faced this awful disease.

Learn more about the Women’s Breast Health and Imaging Center at Aiken Regional Medical Centers >

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many of our acute care hospitals and facilities held special events to help educate their local communities on the clinical and compassionate support available for breast cancer patients.

Here are some of the ways UHS facilities supported Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

Aiken Regional Medical Centers: Survivors Day Picnic

Doctors Hospital of Laredo: Pink Ribbon Day; pink ribbons on all trees lining the property

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center: Breast cancer awareness seminar

Manatee Diagnostic Center: Pink Party promotion at all four locations

Manatee Memorial Hospital: Breast Walk - Making Strides Against Breast Care with the American Cancer Society; pink ribbons at entrances

Palmdale Regional Medical Center: Breast Cancer Awareness Tea Party

Rancho Springs Medical Center and Inland Valley Medical Center: Susan G. Komen Walk

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center: Mammogram parties in the Women’s Imaging Center for local companies, clubs or organizations; Think Pink Luncheon

South Texas Health System: Breast cancer walk/run/ride

Summerlin Hospital Medical Center: Breast Care Center open house

The George Washington University Hospital: Blush Lunch; breast health podcast