Moffitt Cancer Center Recognizes National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 01, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. — Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. It is also the second leading cause of death in women. A woman has a 1 in 8 chance of developing invasive breast cancer.

Moffitt Cancer Center has experts in the Center for Women’s Oncology specializing in breast radiology, pathology, surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology. The Moffitt Cancer Center at International Plaza satellite location offers access to its high-quality services and exceptional patient care in a smaller facility at 4101 Jim Walter Blvd. A full-service breast clinic offers screening and diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound and breast MRI. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488).

Research and Treatment

Breast Cancer Survivors Needed for “Chemo Brain” Study

Cancer survivors are at risk for developing psychological and physiological effects of cancer treatment that have been shown to compromise their quality of life and ultimately lead to premature morbidity or mortality.

One of the most common adverse effects reported by cancer patients after treatment is “chemo brain,” a cognitive impairment or a “mental fog” where patients report memory problems and trouble concentrating.  Chemo brain is reported in up to 75 percent of patients treated with chemotherapy for breast and other cancers and lasts from six months to 10 years.  Interventions with drugs, exercise and cognitive training have not proved effective or safe. There is an urgent need to find treatments to eliminate these symptoms.

Based on early evidence from laboratory studies, Nagi Kumar, Ph.D., R.D., F.A.D.A., and her research team hypothesize that supplementing the diet with plant-based substances from blueberries called anthocyanins and omega-3 fatty acids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, may reverse cognitive impairment and safely improve cognitive functioning in cancer survivors.

Kumar has developed this combination agent called COGNUTRIN, which is approved by the FDA, with funding from the Moffitt Merit Society. Kumar is studying whether COGNUTRIN will improve cognitive health and quality of life for cancer survivors. The Gateway Foundation has awarded Kumar $215,000 to launch a clinical trial using COGNUTRIN to evaluate whether this intervention can improve symptoms and reverse chemo brain in breast cancer patients and survivors.  Sixty breast cancer survivors are needed for the clinical trial. The goal is to provide interventions that can alleviate or lessen these effects of cancer treatment and improve the lives of cancer survivors. For information, call 813-745-6885 or email

Black Women Needed for Breast Cancer Studies

Clinical geneticist Tuya Pal, M.D., and behavioral scientist Susan Vadaparampil, Ph.D., M.P.H., are conducting a statewide study offering young black women genetic counseling and testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. More than 400 women have been recruited in the past three years. About 200 more are needed. The researchers’ genetic testing strategy identified an additional BRCA mutation that had previously gone undetected. Black women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at age 50 or younger from 2009-12 in Florida are eligible to participate. Call 813-745-6649 or email

The Breast Cancer Genetics Research and Education for African-American Women Team, or B-GREAT, initiative involves outreach and education focused on inherited breast cancer in black women. In partnership with a strong Community Advisory Panel, the B-GREAT initiative’s mission is to reduce health disparities in black women at risk for inherited breast cancer through research, education and outreach. More than 20,000 B-GREAT brochures focused on increasing awareness of this topic have been disseminated across Florida and beyond. This was funded in part by a grant through the Florida Breast Cancer Foundationallowing for B-GREAT brochures to be provided free. Visit the B-GREAT website or call 813-745-6649 to request a brochure.

Patients with BRCA1, BRCA2 Mutations Needed for Inherited Cancer Registry

More than 850 men and women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have enrolled in ICARE, a registry-based research study focused on improving the lives of patients and families at risk for inherited cancer susceptibility. The registry is made up of individuals at high risk for developing hereditary cancer. Participants are asked to complete an initial questionnaire and receive educational newsletters to keep them updated about the latest advances in clinical cancer genetics. To join ICARE, call 813-745-6446 or email

Vadaparampil and Pal have also conducted a statewide survey of providers of BRCA testing services. Results suggest that knowledge among these providers is higher than published reports show, and practice patterns appear to be positively influenced by cancer genetics training. Areas for targeted education were identified where additional training may avoid inappropriate testing/screening and optimize management of high-risk women.

Pilot Study Underway for Genetic Testing Education
Vadaparampil’s team received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop and test a booklet and DVD to increase genetic counseling among breast cancer patients using a low-cost, convenient approach.

Breast cancer survivors with certain genetic mutations (BRCA1, BRCA2) have an increased risk of developing a new breast cancer in the opposite breast and ovarian cancer after diagnosis, compared to patients without a BRCA mutation. Genetic counseling provides patients with education on genetic risk for cancer, the process of genetic testing, and the advantages and disadvantages of testing, to promote an informed decision about genetic testing. Studies show many breast cancer patients are not accessing genetic counseling. Research suggests patients may choose not to attend genetic counseling based on incomplete knowledge, health beliefs and psychosocial factors.

Improving Diagnostic Imaging for Breast Cancer

Diagnostic imaging expert Jennifer S. Drukteinis, M.D., has launched a study to improve the ability to better distinguish between malignant and benign lesions on mammography. Using special mammographic imaging, her team is analyzing the fat, lipid and water components of abnormalities recommended for biopsy. The hope is to develop computer models that can decrease the number of false positive biopsies or biopsies performed on people without cancer. 

Drukteinis and her team are also working to develop computer models to process mammograms and automate a patient’s breast density. Increased breast density is a marker for being at greater risk of breast cancer. The computer model would provide a more accurate and objective risk assessment for each patient.

Male Breast Cancer

Breast cancer isn’t just a woman’s issue. Although less than 1 percent of breast cancers affect men, Dr. John Kiluk, a surgical oncologist, treats a significant number of men with the disease. In men, breast cancer can happen at any age, but is most common in men who are between 60 and 70 years old. The American Cancer Society estimates about 2,240 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed this year and more than 400 men will die from the disease.

Awareness Events
Racing for the Pink Party

Moffitt is coordinating a “Racing for the Pink Party” program to encourage women in local housing authority and subsidized housing in Hillsborough County to schedule their annual mammograms. The intent is to motivate and encourage women who may not have as much access to get their mammograms.  The program will include the Oaks at Riverview, Bethune High Rise Apartments, J.L. Young Gardens, Robles Park and Belmont Heights Estates. The complex scheduling the most number of screening mammograms will win a Pink Party with healthy food and drawings. Pink Party kickoffs are scheduled for Oct. 10 at Bethune, Oct. 16 at J.L. Young, and Oct. 29 at Robles Park.  Dates are being determined for The Oaks at Riverview and Belmont Heights Estates. 

NFL Breast Cancer Awareness Game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

During October, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NFL will support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Bucs will host a breast cancer awareness commemoration at the Oct. 13 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. About 200 Moffitt breast cancer survivors and family members will don pink and attend the game courtesy of the Buccaneers. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. The Bucs are also hosting the Treasure Chests 5K Run/Walk at 8 a.m., and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Moffitt. Dr. John Kiluk will help kick off the race, and the Mole Patrol® will offer free skin screenings from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the finish line.

Pink Heals

The Guardians of the Pink Ribbon — a group of firefighters, police officers and community leaders raising awareness for all women fighting cancer — will visit Moffitt Cancer Center at International Plaza, 4101 Jim Walter Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 8 and Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 Magnolia Drive, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 23 as part of the Pink Heals Tour. The tour is crossing the country to raise awareness. Pink fire trucks, along with trucks from our local fire departments, will visit the two locations. The community is invited to sign each truck in support of the cause.

Richard Hauser, president of the Pink Heals Tampa Bay Chapter and secretary/treasurer of the Hillsborough Firefighters Benevolent Relief Fund, will join the Pink Heals tour on both dates as a volunteer driver. Check out video of the 2010 Pink Heals visit to Moffitt.

Lakeland Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon

Moffitt’s Arts In Medicine Coordinator Cheryl Belanger will discuss the healing power of art and how it is helping patients, their families and caregivers cope with cancer at the Lakeland Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon on Oct. 16. Registration is at 11 a.m., lunch is at 11:30 and the program is from noon to 1:30 p.m. at The Lakeland Yacht & Country Club, 929 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland. The program is $30 per person. RSVP to 863-904-4654.

Yo me cuido Breast Cancer Workshops

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Hispanic women. However, it is often diagnosed in the later stages of disease. Moffitt will offer a free Yo me cuido (I take care of myself) workshop — in Spanish only — that will focus on breast cancer, from early detection to screening recommendations. Myriam Escobar, a Moffitt community outreach worker who delivers the Yo me cuido program, was honored as a White House Champions of Change for her role in reducing health disparities in her community.

October’s Yo me cuido program will be offered at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 at Ana G. Mendez University, Tampa Bay Campus at 3655 W. Waters Ave. For information about Yo me cuido, call 813-745-4972.


Members of the media interested in any of the research or events listed above must contact Moffitt Cancer Center’s Public Relations department at 813-745-1355.

Fun and Food in Support of Moffitt

Many local restaurants, shops and other organizations are rallying support and donations in support of Moffitt Cancer Center’s breast cancer research, education and treatment programs.

  •          Oct. 4: Panera Bread’s Pink Ribbon Bagels to Support Moffitt

On Oct. 4, stop by your participating Panera Bread to buy Pink Ribbon Bagels, and 100 percent of the proceeds will help fund vital breast health education provided to the community by the MoffittProgram for Outreach Wellness Education & Resources. A bagel pack (13 Pink Ribbon Bagels with two tubs of cream cheese) is $14.99, a bagel bunch (18 Pink Ribbon Bagels) is $13.99, and a baker’s dozen (13 Pink Ribbon Bagels) is $10.99. Captain Fear of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be at the stadium location, 3420 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., from 8 to 10 a.m., and Moffitt will have community outreach workers at the USF location, 11878 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Visit to complete your pre-order form.

  •          Oct. 17: Cru Cellars “A Perfect Pairing Wine Tasting”

Cru Cellars will hold a wine pairing event from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 17. James Mulé, Ph.D., associate center director of translational research at Moffitt; will be on hand to discuss the latest in breast cancer research. Tickets are $45 per person and $85 per couple. Ten percent of ticket sales and retail sales from that evening will go directly to Moffitt.

  •          Enjoy Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Support Moffitt

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza will donate 10 percent of all dine-in and takeout sales each Tuesday in October to Moffitt. To support the cause, visit Anthony’s locations in Brandon (1912 W. Brandon Blvd.), Clearwater (2532 McMullen Booth Road) and Tampa (13020 N. Dale Mabry Highway and 1901 S. Dale Mabry Highway) each Tuesday in October.

  •          Golftober for a Cure

During October, every time you play golf at a Tampa Sports Authority golf course, 20 percent of the proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research at Moffitt. Sponsor a hole for the month, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Moffitt. Book your round at and enter promo code MOFFITT. Participating courses include Babe Zaharias at 11412 Forest Hills Drive; Rocky Point at 4151 Dana Shores Drive; and Rogers Park at 7911 N. Willie Black Drive. For hole sponsorships, visit

  •          Brighton Collectibles Power of Pink Bracelet Supports Moffitt

Brighton Collectibles Power of Pink campaign features a 2013 limited-edition bracelet. Its dangling heart charm featuring a pink ribbon shows support for everyone who has been touched by breast cancer. For each $60 bracelet sold, Brighton will contribute $10 to Moffitt. Brighton has donated more than $4.5 million to breast cancer charities since 2003.

  •          Takara Sushi & Sake Lounge Goes Pink

Purchase a bottle of Hana-Awaka sparkling sake at Takara Sushi & Sake Lounge during October, and 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to breast health education provided by the Moffitt Program for Outreach Wellness Education & Resources. Takara is at 14913 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.

About Moffitt Cancer Center

Located in Tampa, Moffitt is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the No. 1 cancer hospital in Florida and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer since 1999. With more than 4,200 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact on the state of nearly $2 billion. For more information, visit, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.