By Steve Blanchard
It was a night of empowerment.
For the 70 women who attended the 2019 Ladies Night event at Moffitt’s Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Outpatient Center this month, the message was clear: staying familiar with one’s own health is empowering, and all of those who attended were encouraged to live healthy lifestyles.
“In the past, we’ve looked at this event as a night of pampering for these women, while also providing them with education,” said Chantel Griffin-Stampfer, manager of the Moffitt Program for Outreach, Wellness Education and Resources (M-POWER). “This year we really wanted to encourage the women to feel empowered to take charge of their health. It was an amazing and electric experience.”
Guest speaker Charmaine Jennings set the tone early on with a poem about women’s empowerment before a panel of experts featuring doctors and patients discussed breast cancer and fielded questions from the audience.
“It was so well received,” said Griffin-Stampfer. “There were laughs and some tears, especially when they heard from our survivor and patient.”
Moffitt radiologist Kimberly Funaro, MD, led the panel detailing screening recommendations for mammograms and breast cancer treatment options. She was joined by mammography supervisor Sonja Ancrile.
Moffitt recommends annual mammograms beginning at age 40 for women at average risk. The cancer center supports a woman’s right to choose when to begin screening mammography and the screening interval, provided she is well informed by her doctor about the benefits and risks.
Experts agree that early detection is the key. While breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States – second only to lung cancer in cancer-related deaths – there is some good news. In its most recent report on the status of breast cancer in the U.S., the American Cancer Society cited a 39% decline in breast cancer deaths since a peak in 1989. The decline in deaths is attributed to early detection, systemic treatments and targeted therapies.
“The women enjoyed touring the radiology suite and participating in the guided meditation group,” Griffin-Stampfer said. “I think everyone left feeling empowered and with a clear focus on how to live a healthier life.”