Breast Cancer Awareness Month is very important to Virginia Maurer, MD, Chief of the Division of Breast Surgery, and Director of the Breast Health Program at NYU Winthrop, as it is for so many in the community who have been affected by breast cancer.
"I view Breast Cancer Awareness Month as that month that makes us mindful again about our breast health and what we need to do for early detection and risk reduction," said Dr. Maurer. "It's the month that reminds us that truly, every month should be a time to stay aware."
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is marked each October and is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease that affects about one in eight women in her lifetime – a number multiplied by the families and loved ones it also impacts. NYU Winthrop joined the entire Long Island community in the fight against breast cancer this year by participating in meaningful events throughout the month to raise funds or otherwise support breast health education, awareness and prevention.
"It is best to have breast cancer diagnosed early to offer an opportunity for more conservative treatment and improved survival," said Dr. Maurer. "NYU Winthrop is dedicated to the fight against breast cancer. Throughout the month, the members of the NYU Winthrop Hospital breast service team were out there to remind people of the importance of screening, and to raise money to directly support patient education and the needs of women affected by breast cancer."
Go Pink Day
The pink ribbon, and the color pink in general, has become an international symbol of breast cancer awareness. On October 13, staff wore pink for "Go Pink" Day, a signal of NYU Winthrop's continued commitment to the importance of breast health.
Pink filled the halls throughout NYU Winthrop as staff showed their support for "Go Pink" Day.
NYU Winthrop's Bethpage Office boasts pink pride.
NYU Winthrop Partners with the New York Racing Association for a Day at the Races
This year, NYU Winthrop continued its partnership with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) to promote breast cancer awareness and encourage early detection. On October 8, NYU Winthrop joined forces with the NYRA in conjunction with "Super Saturday" at Belmont Park, highlighted by the running of the prestigious Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup. On Gold Cup Day, the NYRA offered a special, all-inclusive ticket featuring clubhouse admission, preferred seating and a complimentary gift bag, along with other perks, for $50 per person. A portion of the ticket's proceeds were donated to the Breast Health Center at NYU Winthrop, raising more than $10,000 for breast health.
"It was an honor to partner with the New York Racing Association once again to bring life-saving education directly to the ones who need it most – our community members – and we appreciate all of the continued efforts in support of our quality breast health program," said Dr. Maurer.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
On Sunday, October 16, NYU Winthrop hit the boardwalk of Jones Beach with more than 50,000 people to walk five miles for the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. The event, held annually, raised nearly $1.5 million funds to support breast cancer research, education, advocacy and patient services. The NYU Winthrop team raised nearly $6,000 during the Walk to go toward the ACS.
NYU Winthrop Joins Long Island Ducks for 11th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night
Members of the NYU Winthrop team went out to the ballgame in the spirit of raising awareness about the importance of early detection and breast health education, joining the Long Island Ducks for the 11th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night in September. The game provided a platform for participating organizations to educate the Long Island community about breast cancer and provide valuable information about the programs and services available. Among the highlights of the evening was the ceremonial first pitch, thrown out by NYU Winthrop's own Dr. Maurer.
Sales at Local Establishments Support Breast Health
Local institutions also partnered with NYU Winthrop to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month by donating a portion of their proceeds to the breast health program at NYU Winthrop. For every Pink Matzo Ball or pink bracelet sold in October, Ben's Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers donated $1 to "The Angel Fund" at NYU Winthrop, raising more than $3,000 to benefit breast cancer patients in need (as identified by a NYU Winthrop social worker), in addition to supplying meals through its "Real Meals" program. Other local establishments – Station Plaza Coffee Shop, Chef’s Corner, Barosa Pizzeria, and Eleanor Rigby's – designated a day in October to donate a portion of sales that day to the Breast Health Center to help patients.
For one patient, NYU Winthrop’s participation in Breast Cancer Awareness Month prompted her to make an appointment she'd been putting off.
"Having a family history of breast cancer, I know how important it is for me to be proactive about my breast health, particularly since one of my family members was diagnosed in her thirties. Breast Cancer Awareness Month – the events, the pink, the continual reminders of the importance of breast health and education - prompted me to finally schedule my appointment with NYU Winthrop's Breast Health Center," said the 33-year-old, whose doctor recommended a mammogram earlier than the typical recommended age due to her family history. Ordinarily, mammograms are recommended after age 40, according to Dr. Maurer. "I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to schedule an appointment and how quickly the exam was completed and the results given. The team at NYU Winthrop's Breast Health Center is compassionate, professional and friendly and made me feel very comfortable, which made an anxiety-inducing appointment much easier."
NYU Winthrop's Breast Health Center Provides Quality, Compassionate Care
A cancer diagnosis isn't news anyone wants to hear – but for Mary Hall, 53, of Wantagh, the compassionate care she received at NYU Winthrop made all the difference during a difficult time. After being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in October 2015, Ms. Hall underwent a double mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy. Though cancer is not an experience she would wish on anyone, Ms. Hall says she had the best experience possible by coming to NYU Winthrop’s Breast Health Center.
"My life was in their hands and I had such great care," said Ms. Hall, who has finished treatment and continues to be monitored by her doctors.
Ms. Hall was vigilant about breast exams due to her family history of breast cancer. So when she felt a suspicious lump while waiting for a massage in September of 2015, she called her doctor right away. Her OB/GYN sent her to NYU Winthrop’s Breast Imaging Center, where the findings of her mammogram and sonogram were found to be abnormal. A biopsy performed the next day confirmed Ms. Hall had breast cancer.
"I was treated with tremendous compassion and care," said Ms. Hall, who recalled how quickly the NYU Winthrop team coordinated her care. "There was such good follow-up from the doctors and they shared information with each other so well." In one instance, Ms. Hall had to travel from one specialist to another, located just across the street – in the few minutes it took her to walk there, the first office had already communicated absolutely everything necessary for her care plan.
"Your mind is spinning in situations like these, and the care at NYU Winthrop made all the difference," she said.
For more information about NYU Winthrop's Breast Health Center, call 1-866-WINTHROP or visit www.winthrop.org.