BROWARD (CBSMiami) – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the time of year when we really stress the importance self-exams and mammograms.
But then what?
There’s a place here in South Florida that takes some of guesswork out of the process.
Wearing a cozy white robe, Danille Joseph may look like she’s walking into a high-end day spa.
But she’s not there for a massage or facial – she’s there for a breast exam.
Danille was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in March.
“I was in tears. I locked myself in the bathroom and I started crying,” Joseph said. “I prayed, ‘You know what, God, whatever it is, we’re going to do this together.'”
She says she always knew the importance of self-exams, and she actually found the lump in her breast herself.
But for many women, it’s what comes after that self-check that seems so daunting.
“We wanted to create a center that would really be there to meet all of their needs,” said Heather Miller, the Director of the Lillian S. Wells Women’s Health Center.
Mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies and chemotherapy – you can do it all at the Lillian S. Wells Women’s Health Center at Broward Health Medical Center.
The facility is rated one of the country’s best breast centers by the Women’s Choice Awards, and is one of the few in South Florida that carries the prestigious NAPBC accreditation and the seal of Excellence for Breast Imaging.
“I didn’t have to go from the mammogram room to make an appointment,” Joseph explained. “Everything is here. I did my chemo here. It’s like a one stop shop if you ask me.”
“That’s the beauty of having the care team working together so we can meet all of those needs,” Miller added.
The center is known for its sensory suites, exam rooms equipped with sights, sounds and scents to improve the testing and treatment experience.
“They’re going to be able to use an electronic smart pad where they pick their virtual reality. They’re going to be seeing something very comforting to them. They’ll hear different things. And they also have an aroma. So that distracts three senses. That automatically decreases anxiety and decrease the pain because they’re distracted and just the fear related to it,” Miller explained.
The center also offers bone density scans, genetic testing, specialized care for high risk patients and a financial team to help get women get funding for their treatment, plus personal “nurse navigators.”
“That nurse navigator, when we find that positive result, is immediately able to be with that patient from the time of the first biopsy throughout that patient’s trajectory,” Miller said. “Their needs are met throughout that whole transition.”
For Danille, that consistent support has helped her along her cancer fighting journey.
“I had a great support system along with the nurses here at the Women’s Center. They fell in love with me and I fell in love with them.”
Danille underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy, and is waiting to see whether she’ll need surgery.
The Lilian S. Wells Women’s Health Center is offering free mammograms this Saturday, October 15th.
If you are looking for more information on how to choose the best place for breast cancer care, visit WomensChoiceAward.com.