Fort Myers breast cancer awareness event focuses on early, frequent screening

Reporter: Amy Oshier Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

One in eight women in this country will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The odds of beating it increase significantly when caught early, but women of color face additional challenges.

WINK News health and medical reporter Amy Oshier hosted an event on Thursday aimed at breast cancer and supporting women of color.

One color dominated the landscape at Thursday’s Purple Tea event in Fort Myers. The event is inspired by an American Cancer Society campaign from the 1990s. That campaign said women of all shapes, sizes, and colors are at risk for breast cancer.

“Cancer has run rampant in my family. Not only in my family but in my community,” said Gerry Ware, honorary chair of Purple Tea.

Ware is a nurse and educator who has lost family members to cancer. She’s well aware the disease hits black women especially hard. They are screened less often and diagnosed later.

An oncologist with Florida Cancer Specialists, Magali Van Den Bergh, says new research shows those delays may cost them their life. “When we look at black women compared to white women, they’re much more likely to get a sub-type of cancer called triple-negative breast cancer, and this subtype, in particular, is very aggressive. It’s much harder to treat.”

Thursday’s event was meant to arm women with facts they can put into practice, encouraging each person to find a buddy and schedule mammograms while using shades of purple to create a bouquet of solidarity.

“It means so much to me that I tell you, it almost brings tears to your eyes,” said Ware.

It is a colorful reminder that cancer doesn’t discriminate.

In addition to timely screenings, women need to know their risk factors, including family history which may increase their chance of getting a breast cancer diagnosis.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.