On July 6, Guidewell Innovation Center opened its doors to Darren Soto, Florida’s 9th District Representative, and his wife, Amanda Soto, for a town hall about breast cancer. The town hall was held to provide the Lake Nona community with information about options available to them if they or someone they know is diagnosed with breast cancer and to provide insight on cancer prevention.
Teaming up with Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program and Amanda Soto, who is a member herself, the Sotos were able to provide an informative slide show presentation about cancer and issues common to those diagnosed with cancer. They also provided useful handouts such as reference guides on affordable health insurance and public health clinics.
Amanda was introduced to the program during one of her trips to Washington, D.C., where she quickly became fond of their mission. “The cancer prevention group was one that I took a liking to right away because I identified with their message,” stated Amanda. Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program, partnered with the Prevent Cancer Foundation, acts as a bi-partisan connection for members of the House, Senate and Supreme Court who all share a common interest in reducing the number of cases of cancer throughout the nation and in furthering technology and research that is geared toward finding cures and solutions for those affected.
According to Amanda’s presentation, getting a mammogram is one of the most effective practices in keeping an eye on oneself to make sure breast cancer development is not occurring. If there is a family history of cancer, the frequency of mammogram screenings increases. However, if someone does not have a family history of cancer, it does not mean they are off the hook in terms of the risk of developing it. In fact, more than 85 percent of women with breast cancer lack a family history of the disease. It is advised that, beginning at the age of 20, women get scanned a minimum of at least every three years. By the age of 40, it is recommended to be scanned every year. The sooner breast cancer is detected, the greater the likelihood for a full recovery.
Dr. Aileen Caceres, a gynecologic surgeon at Florida Hospital located in Celebration, also was present at the workshop to share her insight on breast cancer. She specializes in complex robotic surgeries and acts as an empowering image for women in the Latino community through her medical accomplishments. “Breast cancer can also happen in males,” said Caceres. She went on to talk about how it is therefore important for men to feel their breast tissue every now and then for any unusual lumps. If they have any concerns, it is in their best interest to schedule an appointment with their doctor to ensure that everything is okay. Caceres also added that, besides the medication and technology, a good diet and healthy exercise are great tools for hindering the spark that leads to breast cancer. She stressed that antioxidants are essential for maintaining a healthy system.
In addition, Amanda highlighted a great opportunity provided by Shepherd’s Hope Health Center and Nemours Children’s Health System. Beginning July 31-Aug. 10, Shepherd’s Hope facilities located in both Orange and Seminole counties will be holding free back-to-school physicals for children under 18 years of age. Mothers present with their child also can receive a mammogram screening through the Florida Hospital for Women Mobile Wellness Coach. Families must be uninsured to fully qualify for these services. All appointments must be made ahead of time. The number to call and schedule a visit is (407) 876-6699. To find out more information about Shepherd’s Hope and their free medical services and locations, head to their website at ShepherdsHope.org.
For more information about the Prevent Cancer Foundation, go to www.preventcancer.org.
“If you know something, you have the power to change your outcome,” said Caceres. She and the Sotos all believe that, at the end of the day, no one should have to go through breast cancer alone and everyone should be aware of their options.