Annual Forum Designed to Educate and Empower
“I’m standing up here to tell you that I’ve never had breast cancer,” said Diana Coffman. “Nine years ago, I was literally scheduled to have a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, and after a second opinion from Dr. Masood, I was told I did not have cancer and that my chances of developing cancer in the future were very low.”
Coffman, a former patient of Shahla Masood, MD, UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville chair of pathology and medical director of the UF Health Breast Center – Jacksonville, shared her story with nearly 300 people at a free public forum earlier this month. This is the 15th year Masood has hosted the community-based program designed to bring breast health education to some of Jacksonville’s most medically underserved communities.
Residents from across Northeast Florida attend event to get the latest information about breast cancer research, diagnosis and management from a panel of experts from UF Health. This year’s panel included Chirag Desai, MD, psychiatry; Andrew Kaunitz, MD, obstetrics and gynecology; John Murray, MD, plastic and reconstructive surgery; Michael Rutenberg, MD, radiation oncology; Martha Wasserman, MD, radiology; and Lara Zuberi, MD, medical oncology. Physicians answered questions from participants regarding risk factors for cancer, warning signs and treatment-related issues. Masood also stressed the importance of getting a second opinion after an initial cancer diagnosis.
“Access to accurate health information is the most fundamental right of a patient, and currently there are no guidelines in place to educate the public about breast cancer,” said Masood. “Each breast cancer is different, and if the patient is not educated properly, it may lead to a rash decision of a radical therapy such as a mastectomy, when there may have been other, more conservative therapies that would have led to the same result.”
In addition to the public forum, Masood hosts an annual “Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease” in February to provide a venue for physicians to discuss and share current and controversial issues in breast cancer.
Masood offers a second opinion service at UF Health, providing comprehensive risk assessments and individualized breast health education and counseling for both women and men. Recognized as one of the foremost breast cancer experts, she draws patients from around the region and throughout the world.
For more information about breast health education or to make an appointment for a second opinion, call 904-244-4387.
Andrew M. Kaunitz, MD, FACOG
Associate Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Medical Director, UF Health Women's Specialists - Emerson
Chair, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Program Director, Breast Pathology Fellowship; Medical Director, Breast Health Center; Program Director, Cytopathology Fellowship; Director of Research; Interim Director of Cancer Programs
Chief, Division of Plastic Surgery