Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Story of Survival!

In the latest edition of Think Pink, from The Ledger a former patient of Dr's. Mary Gardener and Charles Cox shares her remarkable story of survival.

Here is a link to her story. Check it out!

Stories From Community Survivors-- Gail Allen

To see the entire issue of Think Pink, click HERE. There are some great articles about patient survivors, body image, breast reconstruction, and information from the American Cancer Society on many resources they provide for breast cancer patients.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Dr. Cox is a pioneer in sentinel lymph node biopsy and lymphatic mapping. He helped develop the techniques used by physicians everywhere to minimize the number of lymph nodes taken out of breast cancer patients undergoing surgery. Before this, it was standard for patients to have all of their axillary (arm pit) lymph nodes removed. This put large numbers of breast cancer patients at high risk for developing lymphedema.

Even with newer techniques for surgical treatment and detection of metastatic cancer, those being treated for breast cancer still have an increased risk for developing lymphedema.Watch the videos below to learn about what lymphedema is and how it can be managed.

Here are some helpful exercise and stretching tips. You can find more of these stretches and exercises on the breastcancersister's Youtube channel.


A quick overview of how to self massage as part of the prevention and management of lymphedema.

Go to our website for more helpful information on lymphedema.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dr. Cox Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Congratulations to Dr. Charles E. Cox on winning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tampa Bay Business Journal's 2011 HEALTH CARE HEROES. This is another testament to the impact Dr. Cox has had on the breast cancer community.

To see other categories awarded at the event, go to TBBJ's website. We feel privileged to have such great physicians in the Tampa Bay area, and Dr. Cox is among the best not only in Tampa Bay, but around the world.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Exciting Things Happening at USF Breast Health

We are working on many projects that will have a huge impact on patient care. Dr. Cox outlines some of this work in his message below:

Planned projects such as the Genomic Risk Analysis trial are underway in collaborations with Morton Plant, Florida Hospital Tampa (FHT) and USF Health. This is a study that will define for clinicians the roles of all the known risk predicting genomic assays (OncotypeDx®, Mammaprint® and MammaStrat®) doing an head to head comparison to determine the concordance, synergy and potential discordance of these different approaches for determining long-term risk of recurrence. These studies are utilized to predict which patients would or would not benefit from chemotherapy. The Agendia/ USF MINT (Multi Institutional Neoadjuvant Trial) is in the IRB and promises to begin soon. It is the "book end" to the above studies and is a study that will determine which patients requiring chemotherapy will get maximal benefit from that treatment with the aid of a Genomic Signature. We hope to collaboratively achieve this goal with the leader in the industry for breast genomic discovery, Agendia®. The MINT Trial will be opened throughout Florida and the United States as the IRB approvals are completed. We have lined up several international sites in Tokyo, Beijing, India, Lima and possibly Rio de Janero, all with personnel that have been trained here at USF and who have exceptional research capability. We intend to partner with the Florida Cancer Specialists to provide the oncologic treatment and help in the accrual of patients requiring neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Planning is also underway with Dr. Steve Shivers to create a registration trial for a new gene test for risk assessment (OncoVue®), which measures DNA SNIPS in buccal washings that will determine a patients’ overall risk for developing breast cancer.

These studies are supported and could not be accomplished without the superb expertise of the leading breast pathologists of this community: Drs. Santo Nicosia, Geza Acs, Vesna Vrcelj and Nicole Esposito. These studies will truly launch them all into the spotlight of American breast pathology.

Doctors Gardner and Reed are diligently initiating a new program of breast cancer screening and detection with the help of BSGI (Breast Specific Gamma Imaging) and PEM evaluations of the breast. These technologies along with their unparalleled expertise in breast imaging continue to bring the highest level of care to this community.

We are the leading accruer on the National American College of Surgeons’ Cryoablation Trial with the hard work of my brother John. We are completing several manuscripts and have submitted our chapter to the Devita Textbook of Oncology on trends in breast cancer surgical therapy. We have begun the process for intraoperative brachytherapy with Dr. Greenberg and the Women's Program at FHT with planning underway to be able to use the Pepin Heart Institute operating rooms for conducting those treatments. Planning for institution of Microvascular Flap Reconstruction with the use of the newly revised SPY technology is also underway with collaborative efforts from Drs. Albear, Han and Lee at the FHT with the Pepin Heart Institute.

Our superb office staff makes the compassionate care of our patients their highest priority and brings a level of professionalism and efficiency to unparalleled expression.  Dr. John Cox’s computer genius and high tech skills of office management continue to provide the most efficient and capable utilization of technology to bear on the patient care arena. Jeff King is making strides in the development of new research and data accrual methods to streamline the acquisition of patient information from now multiple outside sources.

My sincerest thanks for all the support and efforts that have been made to help us achieve a superb level of care to the women of Tampa Bay and South Florida. There is no question that we have the "Dream Team" for breast cancer care. With continued support there is no telling the greatness of accomplishments that we can achieve to bring the highest quality of care to breast cancer patients.

Charles E. Cox, M.D., FACS

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Welcome Everyone!

Welcome to the USF Breast Health blog! We are excited to share with you educational and inspirational information. We hope this can be a place of value for patients and the community. Please feel free to leave comments! We would love to hear from you!

Our annual fundraising event, Hooked on Hope just ended and we are thankful for your continued support! We are excited to use the donations we received to support our patients' needs.

ABC Action News anchor Linda Hurtado shared her experience with finding out she had cancer in a special report last night. Her example and courage is inspiring and we hope the community takes this video to heart.

To follow Linda's story go to her Taking Action Against Breast Cancer website.