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Casey DeSantis Diagnosed with Breast Cancer- Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Ackerman Cancer Center

October 6, 2021

Florida First Lady, Casey DeSantis, Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Earlier this week we learned that Casey DeSantis, wife of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, was diagnosed with breast cancer. This news broke at the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and has gained much attention due to her public position and age of diagnosis, being that Casey is only 41 years old. Dr. Scot Ackerman went live with WESH TV in Orlando, FL to discuss her diagnosis, as well as risk factors associated with and treatment options offered for breast cancer.

Apart from skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women worldwide, with 1 in 8 women developing breast cancer in their lifetime. In fact, there are 3.8 million survivors in the US right now.

While not all women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have risk factors, risk is most commonly associated with-

  • Age- Women who have children after the age of 35 are at a 40% greater risk of breast cancer than those who are younger than 35
  • Left breast vs right breast- Cancer in the left breast is much more common, however, patients with right sided breast cancer are more likely to have a relative with breast cancer
  • Genetics– 5-10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary
    • BRCA1 and BRCA2
      • Women with BRCA1 or 2 are often diagnosed at a younger age and are more likely to have cancer in both breasts
    • Personal and/or family history of breast cancer
    • Dense breast tissue– Women with dense breast tissue have twice the risk of women with average density, cancer is more difficult to see on mammograms

Advanced technology and screening methods promote the early detection of breast cancer, which in turn promotes a better prognosis and determines treatment options. Ackerman Cancer Center offers the following screening and diagnostic services-

  • 2D and 3D mammography
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Breast biopsy under ultrasound or stereotactic guidance
  • Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM)

What is Contrast-Enhanced Mammography (CEM)?

  • Contrast-Enhanced Mammography is a new cutting-edge technology, offered at our Northeast Florida clinic, which permits evaluation of breast tissue for signs of early breast cancer, with a high degree of sensitivity. CEM has been shown to be significantly more sensitive to early breast cancer detection than traditional 2D or 3D mammography, more sensitive than breast ultrasound, and has a sensitivity and specificity similar to breast MRI. CEM is similar to a traditional mammogram, but delivers higher sensitivity by utilizing a contrast-dye medium, which is a substance that is injected into the bloodstream and highlights any abnormalities in the breast tissue.

Personalized patient care and treatment plans allow for a higher chance of complete recovery and survivorship with breast cancer. The following treatment options are dependent on the individual patient and their stage of cancer-

  • Radiation therapy (Proton Therapy)- Lowers risk of cardiac events (protects the heart) and secondary cancer diagnoses, as well as reduced rates of side effects and possibly higher cure rates. This is how we can avoid future cancers
  • Surgery- Mastectomy, breast reconstruction, breast conservation (lumpectomy)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
We hope that Casey DeSantis’ brave decision to be open about her diagnosis will inspire other women to seek screening, and wish her the best in her fight and a victory over breast cancer. Since 2007, breast cancer death rates have been steady in women < 50, but have continued to decrease in older women. From 2013 to 2018, the death rate went down by 1% per year. If you know someone who may be at risk of breast cancer, or needs to get their annual breast screening, let them know that now is the time!
Click here to learn more and view the full interview.

Click here to learn more about screening and treatment options for breast cancer, offered at Ackerman Cancer Center.

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