Holy Cross Cancer Blog

Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  • Posted Oct 01, 2015
  • Christine Walker

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Michael and Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center & Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women's Center have collaborated to kick off an exciting month full of activities, education and more for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In appreciation of you, our valued patients, we will offer the following throughout October:

-Chair massages during peak hours at the Women's and Imaging centers

-Pink breast cancer awareness ribbons at the Women's and Imaging centers

-Delicious pink cookies on select days at the Women's and Imaging centers

-A special spa event for cancer patients on October 20. More details to come

-A special presentation on advances in breast cancer treatment is planned for our Breast Cancer Support Group meeting on October 26 at 6 pm.  Please call Dr. Christina Austin-Valere at 954-267-7770 to learn more or to RSVP.

Look for inspiring stories from our very own cancer survivors featured in the Sun-Sentinel's Life Victories throughout the month of October.  We will post their stories on this blog, so if you miss the stories in the paper, check back here.

Early Detection Saves Lives

-Holy Cross is offering a $75 screening mammogram from October 1st through November 14th. This special price is available this year for our newest  technology, tomosynthesis (3D mammography) as well as conventional 2D digital mammography.  Schedule your mammogram today at the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women's Center or at our Holy Cross Urgent Care & Imaging Center in East Boca Raton by calling 954-202-0722.

-3D Mammography is here at the Bienes Cancer Center and the Boca Raton Urgent Care & Imaging Center.  3D mammography offers a number of benefits, including: when combined with a conventional 2D mammogram, a 40% higher invasive cancer detection rate than 2D mammography alone; and up to a 40% reduction in recall rates.

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment
A brief series of questions regarding family history and other risk factors has been added to the pre-procedure questionnaire which patients complete prior to their mammogram.  Answers are entered into our imaging software to calculate your risk of breast cancer.  The risk score is reported on your mammography report.

Supporting the Cause
Holy Cross is a proud sponsor of this year's Broward County Making Strides Against  Breast Cancer walk on October 31 at Huizenga Park.
Please click here to join our team.

All are invited to participate in the Brighton Gives Back fundraising initiative. Brighton Collectibles in the Galleria Mall will donate a portion of proceeds from the sale of a special pink bracelet to support Holy Cross' Partners in Breast Health Program, which provides free mammograms to uninsured women in Broward County who qualify.

On the Lighter Side
Participate in our Dress Your Pet in Pink contest, open to Associates and community members alike. See the flier below for contest rules. 

Look for the roving pink photo frame at Holy Cross and our events throughout the month and share your photos in social media with #HolyCrossPink and #GetScreened.

Click here to watch us "Nae Nae" in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and our superbly person-centered team at the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women's Center.

On a More Serious Note
Join us at our monthly Time Out for Women seminar with Dr. Marnie Kaplan on Thursday, October 15 from 6-7 pm as she discusses Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy: How do I choose? Deciding whether to have a mastectomy or a lumpectomy is a highly personal and a difficult choice for women facing breast cancer. Call 954-351-7804 or click here to register for this free event at the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women's Center. Refreshments will be served.




Save the Date: Winter Oncology Symposium

  • Posted Sep 22, 2015
  • hchadmin

Holy Cross Hospital, together with the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, presents a Winter Oncology Symposium on Saturday, January 23, 2016, from 8:00am to 5:00pm in the Sister Innocent Conference Center at Holy Cross Hospital, 4725 North Federal Highway.

Join us as we explore benign and malignant hematology, head and neck cancer, neuro-oncology and melanoma with specialists from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and the Holy Cross Michael and Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 For more information and to register for this FREE symposium, call 954-351-7833.


Make a commitment to your breast health at our Pink Ribbon Facility

  • Posted Aug 04, 2015
  • hchadmin

An annual mammogram is one of your best defenses against breast cancer. And as a Pink Ribbon Facility, Holy Cross Hospital is recognized as providing excellence in breast health paired with exceptional commitment and support to the women of our community.

Digital mammography offers more convenience and peace of mind for our patients:

  • No waiting for results...Same day results available.

  • The technology to find cancers earlier.

  • Don’t wait, make an appointment, tell a loved one, and remember that early detection saves lives.

There's no better time.

Call us today to learn more and to schedule your next mammogram 954-202-0277.  

3D Tomosynthesis is now available at Holy Cross.   

Do it for you. Do it for those that love you.

New 3D Mammography at Holy Cross offers better chance to diagnose breast cancer earlier, at more treatable stages

  • Posted Jul 28, 2015
  • hchadmin

Holy Cross is excited to offer 3D mammography (breast tomosynthesis) for breast cancer screening at the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women’s Center.  Breast tomosynthesis produces a three-dimensional view of the breast tissue that helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue. 

The center’s Selenia® Dimensions® breast tomosynthesis system is made by Hologic, a world leader in digital mammography. The Selenia Dimensions system offers exceptionally sharp breast images, an advanced ergonomic design providing more patient comfort, and the ground-breaking tomosynthesis platform designed to deliver superior screening and diagnostic performance for all breast types. 1

“Holy Cross is committed to continually seeking ways to improve the patient experience and the advancement of women’s health,” said Howard Rubinson, MD, Diagnostic Radiologist.  “We believe Breast Tomosynthesis will benefit screening and diagnostic mammography patients, while offering the greatest benefit to women with dense breasts.”

Breast cancer screening with tomosynthesis when combined with a conventional 2D mammography has a 40% higher invasive cancer detection rate than conventional 2D mammography alone.2-4   Tomosynthesis technology gives radiologists increased confidence with up to a 40% reduction in recall rates. 4-5

The tomosynthesis screening experience is similar to a traditional mammogram.  During a tomosynthesis exam, multiple, low-dose images of the breast are acquired at different angles.  These images are then used to produce a series of one-millimeter thick slices that can be viewed as a 3D reconstruction of the breast.

By offering women the latest and accurate6 technology in mammography, Holy Cross expects to increase the number of area women who will be routinely screened.  Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer.  Statistics indicate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her lifetime. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s chance of survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.7

Holy Cross Hospital is committed to the fight against breast cancer. In offering breast tomosynthesis digital mammography, Holy Cross provides the latest in imaging technology. If you would like to schedule a mammogram, please call 954-202-0277.

If you have questions about this important breast health procedure, please contact Linda Hamilton, Patient Navigator, at 954-351-4773.


1  Rafferty E, Park J, Philpotts L, et al. “Assessing Radiologist Performance Using Combined Digital Mammography and Breast Tomosynthesis Compared with Digital Mammography Alone: Results of a Multicenter, Multireader Trial.” Radiology. 2013 Jan; 266(1):104-13. Epub 2012 Nov 20.

2 Skaane P, Bandos A, Gullien R, et al. “Comparison of Digital Mammography Alone and Digital Mammography Plus Tomosynthesis in a Population-based Screening Program.” Radiology. 2013 Apr; 267(1):47-56. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

3 Ciatto S, Houssami N, Bernardi D, et al. “Integration of 3D Digital Mammography with Tomosynthesis for Population Breast-Cancer Screening (STORM): A Prospective Comparison Study” The Lancet Oncology. 2013 Jun;14(7):583-589. Epub 2013 Apr 25.

4 Rose S, Tidwell A, Bujnock L, et al. “Implementation of Breast Tomosynthesis in a Routine Screening Practice: An Observational Study.” American Journal of Roentengenology. 2013 Jun; 200(6): 1401-1408. Epub 2013 May 22.

5 Haas B, Kalra V, Geisel, J et al. “Comparison of Tomosynthesis Plus Digital Mammography and Digital Mammography Alone for Breast Cancer Screening.” Radiology. 2013 Jul 30. [Epub ahead of print].

6Zuley M, Bandos A, Ganott M, et al.  “Digital Breast Tomosynthesis versus Supplemental Diagnostic Mammographic Views for Evaluation of Noncalcified Breast Lesions.”  Radiology. 2013 Jan; 266(1):89-95. Epub 2012 Nov 9.

7 Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2011, American Cancer Society.


Survivor of the Year Named

  • Posted Jul 07, 2015
  • hchadmin

The Michael and Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center at Holy Cross Hospital recently recognized Ms. Mary Lou Ingalls as our “2015 Celebration of Life Survivor of the Year” at its annual afternoon party in honor of National Cancer Survivors Day. The announcement was made during this wonderful event, which was attended by approximately 160 guests. 

Ms. Ingalls was diagnosed with Breast Cancer twice. The initial diagnosis was in 1979, and again in 1986.  Despite extensive treatment, Ms. Ingalls’ cancer has continued to metastasize.  

While her treatment is arduous, she continues her involvement in activities at the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, where she worships.  Ms. Ingalls has been facilitating their Cancer Support Group for over 20 years.  She is the Director for her Bible Study group and is also involved with the mission prayer group, among other duties at her church.  She is also the personal caregiver to a fellow church member, who is currently under medical treatment.  Ms. Ingalls drives this individual to all of her appointments and coordinates her personal and medical care even when she, Mary Lou, is not feeling well herself.  

“I have worked with Mary Lou Ingalls for the last nine years in my role as the Clinical Oncology Social Worker and in my role as the Event Chair for our annual “Celebration of Life” events and I have always found her to be pleasant, helpful, and gracious in all that she does,” said Christina Austin-Valere, PhD.  “She is very spiritual and not only thanks God for her life but lives a life that shows her gratitude for all lives that she touches and prays about. She is overdue for this wonderful recognition and I am just so humbled and pleased that Holy Cross Hospital is able to recognize her for being an awesome cancer survivor and for what she calls `…my reasonable service for the Lord.’ "

Pictured below: Betty Winslow, Cancer Survivor of the Year May Lou Ingalls and Jackie Marcott

2015 Cancer Survivor of the Year with Two of her Friends


Understanding Mammograms: The process & possible next steps

  • Posted Jun 26, 2015
  • hchadmin

I have always thought of mammograms as similar to fingerprints. If you see a fingerprint on a glass or a tabletop you recognize it as a fingerprint. But that fingerprint is different from all other fingerprints. Likewise, when a radiologist looks at a mammogram it is recognizable as a mammogram but it is different from every mammogram he or she has ever seen before. The radiologist must therefore determine whether that mammogram falls within a range of normal, or if there is some feature that makes it abnormal.

The first thing the radiologist considers is comparing it to an earlier mammogram. It is extremely valuable to see a mammogram of the same patient from one, two, or even three years earlier to determine if there has been a change over that period of time. If there has been no change, there is a high level of confidence that that mammogram is normal for that patient. If, on the other hand, there has been a change, further investigation is typically warranted.

Sometimes the mammogram may be the first the patient has ever had or previous mammograms are simply not available. The radiologist must then decide whether further imaging is warranted at that time. Further imaging with more focused diagnostic mammography,  ultrasound or MRI may lead to a recommendation for a biopsy or possibly a recommendation to repeat the mammogram after a short interval -- typically six months.

Radiologists use a shorthand number system called BIRADS. This stands for Breast Imaging, Recording and Data System. Radiologists can vary significantly when they describe something they see on a mammogram. To overcome this variability, the American College of Radiology asked the radiologist to assign a number to the mammogram after they have completed their description.

BIRADS 1 means that the image is entirely normal and there is essentially little to say. BIRADS 2 means that there is something specific to comment on but it is entirely normal. BIRADS 3 means that there is a feature to comment on but the radiologist feels that it is probably benign. BIRADS 4 means the feature that the radiologist is describing is causing concern and that the abnormality may be cancer. BIRADS 5 means the radiologist is quite certain a the abnormality is cancer. When the radiologist feels the imaging is incomplete and more studies are necessary at that time a BIRADS 0 will be assigned. BIRADS 6 means the image contains a biopsy proven cancer and the imaging is actually being done for some other reason.

The BIRAD numbers one through five are associated with recommended actions. BIRADS 1 and 2 are considered normal and annual follow-up is recommended. BIRADS 3 is probably benign and when the radiologist uses the term "probably" it means that there is a 98% certainty that the lesion is benign. Due to the very small element of doubt, a six-month interval to repeat the image is recommended. The concern is not at a high enough level to recommend a biopsy.

BIRADS 4 means there is enough suspicion to recommend a biopsy. When the lesion is felt to be BIRADS 5 it means the radiologist thinks it is cancer and therefore a biopsy should certainly be performed. 

Radiologists are extremely careful when they read mammograms. They never want to miss a cancer. As a result, if they have any concerns about the image, they may ask the patient to return for further studies. This may be a more focused mammogram called a diagnostic mammogram. This may involve special views with magnification or a different type of compression. Sometimes an ultrasound examination is recommended to further define an abnormality. Occasionally an MRI of the breasts is recommended.

When a patient is called back for further testing it typically provokes anxiety. 90% of the time however the subsequent studies will result in a benign reading. Less than 10% of the time will the subsequent studies result in a recommendation for a biopsy and only a small percentage of those biopsies will result in a diagnosis of cancer.

Joseph J Casey, M.D.,FACS
Guest Blogger  


Recertified for Cancer Care from Largest Oncology Society in the U.S.

  • Posted Jun 16, 2015
  • hchadmin

The Holy Cross Michael and Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center has received reaccreditation from the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).  The QOPI® Certification Program (QCP™) provides a three-year certification for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet nationally recognized standards for quality cancer care.

“This recertification from ASCO and QOPI is a testament to our commitment to safe, comprehensive and quality care. We are very proud to meet core standards in areas of treatment that include treatment planning; staff training and education; chemotherapy orders and drug preparation; patient consent and education; safe chemotherapy administration; and monitoring and assessment of patient well-being,” said Stan Meadows, executive director, Michael and Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Bienes Cancer Center first achieved QOPI certification in March 2012 and is recertified through March 2018. In applying for recertification, the Bienes Cancer Center participated in a voluntary comprehensive site assessment against clearly specified standards that are consistent with national guidelines and was successful in meeting the standards and objectives of the QOPI Certification Program.

“Practices that achieve recertification through QOPI continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to providing patients with high quality care,” said ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO. “The QOPI Certification Program allows oncology practices to engage in lifelong learning by providing not only the measures to assess the level of care they provide, but also the information and resources needed to help maintain quality.”

QOPI is a voluntary self-assessment and improvement program launched by ASCO in 2006 to help hematology-oncology and medical oncology practices assess the quality of the care they provide to patients. Through the QOPI program, practices abstract data from patients’ records up to twice per year and enter this information into a secure database. More than 900 oncology practices have registered for the QOPI program. 

The QCP was launched in January 2010, with more than 250 practices already certified. This certification for outpatient oncology practices is the first program of its kind for oncology in the United States. Oncologists can achieve certification by participating in a voluntary comprehensive site assessment against clearly specified standards that are consistent with national guidelines. The QCP seal designates those practices that not only scored above the threshold on the key QOPI quality measures, but met chemotherapy safety standards established by ASCO and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). 

QOPI® analyzes individual practice data and compares these to more than 160 evidence-based and consensus quality measures. The information is then provided in reports to participating practices.  Individual practices are also able to compare their performance to data from other practices across the country. Based on this feedback, doctors and practices can identify areas for improvement.  

To become certified, practices have to submit to an evaluation of their entire practice and documentation standards. The QCP staff and steering group members then verify through on-site inspection that the evaluation and documents are correct and that the practices met core standards in various areas of treatment.

The QCP is a project of ASCO’s Institute for Quality, an ASCO affiliate dedicated to innovative quality improvement programs. For more information, please visit: http://qopi.asco.org/certification.html.

About Holy Cross Hospital
A part of Trinity Health, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Holy Cross Hospital is a full-service, non-profit Catholic hospital operating in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy. Since opening its doors in 1955, the 557-bed hospital has offered progressive services and programs to meet the evolving healthcare needs of individuals and families we serve.  Today, Holy Cross has more than 600 physicians on staff representing more than 40 specialties and more than 3,000 employees. To learn more about Holy Cross Hospital, visit holy-cross.com, “like” Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale on Facebook at facebook.com/holycrossfl, or follow @holycrossfl on Twitter.

About ASCO:
Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 35,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, which funds ground-breaking research and programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of people with cancer.  For ASCO information and resources, visit www.asco.org. Patient-oriented cancer information is available at www.cancer.net.

About ASCO Institute for Quality, LLC
The ASCO Institute for Quality is an ASCO affiliate dedicated to innovative quality improvement programs for ASCO members and their patients. Committed to providing oncologists with the necessary resources to provide every patient with high-level cancer care, the Institute carries out ASCO’s clinical quality improvement programs. The Institute is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ASCO.



Below is a commentary from Maureen G. Mann, MS, MBA, FACHE, Executive Director of the Michael and Dianne Bienes Cancer Center at Holy Cross Hospital, urging lawmakers to oppose House Bill 169. 

"...I am a very involved volunteer with the American Cancer Society...so this particular bill causes me great concern. Please see the notes below and VOTE NO when this bill comes to the floor...

Oppose House Bill 169
Nicotine Products & Nicotine Dispensing Device

Originally, the intent of HB 169 was to prohibit the sale of nicotine products and nicotine dispensing devices (e-cigarettes) to minors. However, added amendment language would strip local governments of their ability to regulate all tobacco products and e-cigarettes, overturn existing ordinances, and block future opportunities to protect kids in the retail environment. For example, many of the product placement ordinances we currently have in Florida go beyond the minimum standards set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), requiring that ALL tobacco products are placed behind the counter at retail stores, not just cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. With the preemption language, the bill now does more harm than good in the fight to keep Florida’s children tobacco free.

Key Points
Many of the ordinances we currently have in Florida deal with product placement, requiring that all tobacco, not just cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, are placed behind the counter at retail stores. They are stronger than the minimum standards required by the FDA and are all meant to keep tobacco
products out of the hands of children.

In-store tobacco displays serve to increase product availability, visibility and brand awareness and stimulate trial and purchase of products.1 Product placement laws limit youth access to tobacco via illegal sales and shoplifting.
Proponents for preemption claim that we need a uniform state law that covers all businesses rather than a patchwork of local ordinances. The fact is retailers are used to complying with a variety of local laws, including zoning, traffic restrictions, health regulations and even alcohol sales. Tobacco regulations
are no different than other regulations that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.        
Local governments are more flexible and responsive than state government in effectively dealing with emerging problems and finding innovative solutions. Local governments are closer to the community and have been more effective than the state or federal government in addressing the problem of
tobacco use.

My Position
State laws should serve as a minimum standard for a policy objective while allowing communities to enact stronger ordinances to protect their youth and residents in the most appropriate manner. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and our partners ask that you oppose HB 169 and prevent the dismantlement of effective local tobacco ordinances around the state."


About the Center

The Michael & Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is the Cancer Care Leader in Broward County. Dedicated to providing patients with precise diagnosis, the latest and most advanced treatment and aftercare options, we offer a multidisciplinary approach to care, a compassionate and spiritual healing environment, and an affiliation with the National Cancer Institute. We are also working together with Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center to provide South Florida residents with rapid access to specialized cancer care and genetics counseling.

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