Modern Breast Cancer Treatment, Unending Support


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Women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime*


Of women diagnosed with breast cancer will lose their jobs**


Of patients deplete their entire life's saving two years after diagnosis***

Countless families and friends have been affected by a breast cancer diagnosis. The fear these women face of the unknown is only heightened when combined with costs of treatment, travel, and navigating their new world. That’s why at Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center, we’ve turned October into HOPETOBER, a month dedicated to giving hope to breast cancer patients. Rather than solely continuing to educate our community about the importance of early detection, we encourage and provide an opportunity to support local women affected by the disease, including the center’s Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund that provides grants to women who need help paying for lifesaving cancer care.

Sources: *, **Health Affairs, ***The American Journal of Medicine

Comprehensive Care, Close to Home


Women and men facing a breast cancer diagnosis have hope. Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center has inpatient services at Gulf Coast Medical Center and Outpatient Services at the Sanctuary.

The Regional Cancer Center joins other top-tier cancer treatment centers in offering complementary therapies and services to cancer care that can reduce anxiety, stress, neuropathy, nausea, insomnia, pain and weight changes. Through the Regional Cancer Center, those in Southwest Florida do not have to leave home and the support of family and friends to receive the world-class care they need and deserve during their fight against cancer.

It takes many specialists and support staff to fight breast cancer. That is why the Regional Cancer Center offers a comprehensive care program, complete with oncologists, nurse navigators, a dietician, genetics counselor and more. The certified and dedicated team designs treatment programs that exceed national survivorship rates through a compassionate and collaborative experience.

As a free service offered by Lee Health, nurse navigators are trained to help reduce stress by guiding patients through their cancer plans, including scans, tests and appointments, tackle transportation and other issues and help with insurance concerns so patients can concentrate on healing.


Elizabeth Copeman Finds Hope

HOPETOBER offers a chance to help people like Englewood resident Elizabeth Copeman, who thought she had injured herself picking up something that was too heavy at work. Instead, she found she had Stage 1 aggressive breast cancer and would need immediate surgery. Without insurance, she looked unsuccessfully for three months before finding her way to the Regional Cancer Center where she was awarded the Sharon MacDonald Breast Health grant within two days of her first appointment. This grant covered the cost of Elizabeth’s treatment so that she could focus on getting well.

“I’m in awe of the whole thing,” she said. “It didn’t matter where I was, whoever worked for Lee Health treated me so well. The load off my mind and shoulders was gigantic. When you know you have cancer and bills to pay and no way to pay them, it interferes with your healing.”


Start a Fundraiser

Financial support is essential to providing lifesaving treatment and assistance to cancer patients in our community. By minimizing or eliminating the financial burden of care, your support is decreasing stress levels and allowing cancer patients in active treatment to focus on healing while improving survivorship outcomes. Invite friends and family to support the cause that means the most to you while also helping women and men battling cancer in Southwest Florida. You can make a difference by starting a fundraiser for a cancer fund of your choosing:

Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund
Compassionate Mammogram Fund
Integrative Medicine Fund

Three Funds Making a World of Difference

When you support one of these three funds, you are helping your neighbors at their time of greatest need. Learn about each fund and make a lifesaving gift below.

The Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund

In 2017, the Lee Health Foundation created the Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund after the trustees of The John E. & Aliese Price Foundation, Inc. issued a community challenge gift to honor Sharon MacDonald, the retired chief administrative officer of Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center.

Through the fund, Lee Health at the Regional Cancer Center can treat breast cancer patients who cannot afford to pay for medical services, thus ensuring they can still receive the lifesaving cancer care they need. To date, more than 150 local women and men have benefitted from this fund that has allowed them to stay close to home for lifesaving care.

This Hopetober, The John E. & Aliese Price Foundation, Inc. issued another community challenge grant to help families, like the Copelands, in their battle with breast cancer. Gifts to the Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund will be matched up to a total of $250,000 and underwrite costs of diagnostics, radiation, medication and other services needed to promote successful outcomes for Southwest Florida patients battling breast cancer.


The Compassionate Mammogram Fund

Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer death, but it is more treatable than ever thanks to continued efforts of breast cancer awareness and early detection. Regular screenings save lives. Unfortunately, some women in our community cannot afford the scans that could save their lives.
Thanks to philanthropic support, the Compassionate Mammogram Fund at the Regional Cancer Center ensures women in need have access to leading-edge breast cancer detection.

You can help make sure that all women have access to early detection of breast cancer, which ensures a 98 percent survival rate. Mammograms give women time to consider surgery and treatment alternatives.

The Integrative Medicine Fund

While the main part of battling cancer is eliminating the disease through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, supplying the best possible care for cancer patients includes an integrative health program that complements their cancer treatment, bringing best healing and well-being.

Increasingly more cancer patients are surviving cancer and living longer, and as a result, the Regional Cancer Center is turning its focus to life and surviving. The Integrative Medicine Program incorporates traditional services like peer counseling, physical rehabilitation, and dietician services, with new therapies such as acupuncture, reiki, and more.

You can help cancer patients receive this integrated, multi-disciplinary approach for recovery and emotional well-being.