October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 21 2021 – Portia Williams, a health teacher at Deerfield Beach High School, is on a mission. She is sharing her breast cancer story in hopes of encouraging women, particularly Black women, to make an appointment for a mammogram.

Five years ago, the Lake Worth resident and mother of two, received the news no woman wants to hear. “I have always gotten an annual mammogram, but I got the call that as a result of my mammogram, I had to see a breast cancer specialist for a biopsy and ultrasound,” said Williams. “I was so traumatized when I got the news that I had to leave work.”

Williams made an appointment with Nicholas Tranakas, M.D., a surgical oncologist at Broward Health, for next steps. “Dr. Tranakas let me know that the good news was it was stage 1, but I still needed surgery, which scared me to death. But we caught it early, and I was going to be all right.”

The key for any cancer diagnosis is an early diagnosis and that means staying current with annual tests and screenings.

“What we have found is that, because of COVID, there has been a marked decrease in healthcare screenings, so we are taking this opportunity during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to promote mammograms,” said Dr. Tranakas. “Early detection saves lives.”

Williams, who just celebrated her five-year cancer-free anniversary, struggled with her mental health after her diagnosis, but it changed her perspective.

“I decided I wasn’t going to let this get to me, and over the years I have taken every opportunity I can to talk to my family, friends, students and women I meet about the importance of taking care of themselves,” said Williams. “That means making sure they get their mammograms, particularly Black women. Breast cancer does not discriminate. Your ethnicity, age, religion and family background don’t matter. It can happen to you.”

Upcoming event: In honor of breast cancer survivors, supporters, and souls who passed, Broward Health Imperial Point is hosting a Beat Cancer: Butterfly Release taking place at 6401 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, October 23 at 9 a.m. To register for this free event visit BrowardHealth.org/Events.

For more information on Broward Health’s comprehensive cancer services, visit BrowardHealth.org/BeatCancer.

About Broward Health

Broward Health, providing service for more than 80 years, is a nationally recognized system in South Florida that offers world-class healthcare to all. The Broward Health system includes the statutory teaching hospital Broward Health Medical Center, Broward Health North, Broward Health Imperial Point, Broward Health Coral Springs, Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston, Broward Health Community Health Services, Broward Health Physician Group, Broward Health Urgent Care, Broward Health International, and Broward Health Foundation. For more information, visit BrowardHealth.org.