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‘Purple Tea’ symposium on breast cancer set for Feb. 15

The second annual Purple Tea symposium, slated for Feb. 15 in Fort Myers, will convene a distinguished panel of physicians and breast health experts to discuss advancements in the prevention, screening and treatment of breast cancer.

The free event will explore new research, statistics and technology that offer encouraging signs for women in the fight against breast cancer. Attendees are encouraged to wear purple in a show of unity and solidarity.

About one in eight women in the U.S. (13%) will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. In 2024, it’s estimated that doctors will diagnose about 300,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer.

“Breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the world, and if it hasn’t affected you personally, it likely has affected a family member or friend,” said Dr. Alan Brown, a board-certified radiation oncologist with Advocate Radiation Oncology who will present at the symposium. “Purple Tea provides a supportive, inspiring environment for women to learn about their risk factors and share their experiences so we all have a better understanding of the disease, treatment options and outcomes.”

Purple Tea, which is chaired by Gerri Ware, was created as a forum where Southwest Florida women can learn about their individual risk factors for breast cancer, including race, ethnicity, family history and genetics.

In addition to Brown, presenters at Purple Tea include:

  • Dr. Natalia Spinelli, breast surgical oncologist at Precision Healthcare Specialists: “Modifiable Risk Factors for Breast Cancer Development and Prevention of Recurrence”
  • Dr. Magali Van de Bergh, medical oncologist at Florida Cancer Specialists: “Racial Disparities: Update from San Antonio Breast Cancer Conference”
  • Debra Wilson, vice president of oncology services at Lee Health: “Community Outreach Efforts”

Diane Spears is the event’s honorary chair and will deliver a keynote address. Spears began working as a patient care technician in the early 1970s and eventually became nursing director at Lee Memorial Hospital. She was the first Black woman to earn a nursing degree from Edison Community College (now Florida Southwestern State College) and later became a registered nurse. Spears also founded the Annual Omega Health Forum in the Dunbar community of Fort Myers.

Purple Tea will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 1380 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers. Tickets are free, but registration is required by visiting AdvocateRO.com/PurpleTeaParty or calling Sherri Kubesh at 239-839-6015.

Purple Tea is sponsored by Advocate Radiation Oncology, Lee Health Regional Cancer Center, Florida Cancer Specialists, Fort Myers Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta, Florida Weekly and IFoundMyDoctor.com/Florida Healthcare News.

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