The Breast Cancer Journey to “HOPE!”
By Robert B. Donoway, MD, FACS
October 6, 2022
October begins a very busy time of year filled with meetings and my usual surgical schedule but also from the beginning to the end with Community Outreach Lectures on the advances we’ve made in Breast Cancer during the past year or so. It is aimed at showing the importance a single voice, whether a survivor or healthcare provider, can make in our community and that above all, there are exciting new discoveries being made each day, which gives a reason to be HOPEFUL.
This Saturday I will participate in the Annual Hepburn Women’s Cancer Event in Hallandale Beach which I have done since it’s inception. It’s an all day fun event for Survivors, families and the Community alike to get together one on one with our local Oncologists and in my case I get to see many women, who as patients have become friends.
October 2022 will represent the 38th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month which first started in 1985 to focus awareness on early detection and Breast Cancer Prevention; highlighting the important role of Mammography in early detection first proven by Dr. Philip Strax, a former Broward resident. During the mid 1980s and early 1990s less than 5% of the NCI budget was dedicated to Breast Cancer, its early detection and methods of prevention. Through the efforts of leading organizations, such as Estée Lauder, Avon, the Komen foundation and the American Cancer Society recruiting a “pink” army of thousands of survivors and their families the necessary attention to Breast Cancer finally became a matter for discussion at every major cancer center. We in Broward were no exception. As a recent transplant from New York’s Sloan Kettering in 1990 to the Memorial Regional Cancer Center (now the Memorial Cancer Institute) here in Hollywood/Hallandale Beach, I remember the great excitement that surrounded all of our early Breast Cancer events to support fundraising that went on long after October had passed. Funding from Komen and ACS resulted in our community having a strong investment in Community Outreach Programs and Mobile Mammography Units. As a Surgical Oncologist we also were among the first to adopt techniques of minimal Lymph Node sampling of Breast Cancer in 1993; which did not become popular for over 10 more years. There have been many such advances in our community that our residents have benefitted from. We had the first Breast MRI in 1995 and for many years women from all over South Florida came to be tested at Memorial, even from the University of Miami. Targeted Breast Irradiation, both internally and externally, has long been a staple among the options patients have been offered for over 22 years. And as support through community activism has grown and provided much necessary funding so too has the many Alliances with leading National Cancer Programs that has enabled patients to receive State-Of-The-Art Therapies, whether Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy, Radiation, CryoAblation or surgery, all without leaving their community. For over 32 years we have been truly able to make the best Cancer Care available anywhere, available to all within 5 miles of their home. During these 30+ years over 50,000 women and about 500 men with Breast Cancer have been treated in Broward County. Diagnostics, Treatment and Social support services that were all stretched to their limits during the Pandemic are at last returning with great vigor and with renewed vitality to their Pre-Pandemic levels. They say “it takes a village” and nowhere is it more apparent than in Cancer Care where the role every person and organization builds ever stronger the ties that bind us together as members of the human race, who can come together despite all, to build a healthier community, where one can find all the necessary supports in place to help everyone regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or sexual alignment.
Myself and my staff at the Donoway Center are very proud of the role we have played in our community and want to thank all those who entrusted their and their families lives’ to us these past 32 years. It has always been our goal to ensure every patient receives the most advanced treatment while never forgetting the human touch of compassion that enables one to understand that HOPE is the Answer. Through our Donoway Center Foundation we are offering Hope to those with advanced cancers who are often written off and have presented our research at National meetings of the successful options many have available simply by living here and if you’d like to contribute and this is only the beginning, you can log onto: www.DonowayCenterfoundation.com
We look forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming Annual Women’s Breast Cancer Event at the Hepburn Center in Hallandale Beach on Saturday, October 8th, 2022 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Look on-line to see the events. We are a proud supporter of it since its earliest beginnings.
Robert B. Donoway, MD, FACS
The Donoway Center For Cancer Treatment
The Donoway Center Foundation