Edwards to speak at Breast Center luncheon

By MARY JANE PARK, Times Staff Writer
Published September 23, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - Here's what most people know about Elizabeth Edwards: She is married to John Edwards, who hopes to be the Democratic presidential nominee next year. They have a grown daughter and two younger children and a son who died in a car crash at age 16.

She has incurable breast cancer, which she says is treatable, and she keeps a vigorous schedule that includes a stop in St. Petersburg on Oct. 4, where she will be the keynote speaker at a luncheon to support the new Breast Center at St. Anthony's.

The screening, diagnosis and treatment extension of St. Anthony's Hospital opened in June and offers the only full-field digital mammography units in south Pinellas County.

Digital technology has advanced to the degree that electronic images are more effective than film in screening patients younger than 50 or those of any age who have dense breast tissue.

The center also offers coordinated care using clinicians, a radiologist and what it calls a patient care navigator to offer personalized care.

A decorating palette in soft teals and peaches helps mitigate the clinical effect in the center, and patients can have testing, diagnosis, treatment and counseling under one roof.

"What we're trying to do is to alleviate that self-guided tour through the health system of Pinellas County," said Robert Sherman, executive director of the St. Anthony's Health Foundation.

Waiting for mammography results "can be a time of anxiety," he said. Regardless of whether tests show areas of concern, the goal is for center staffers to help patients through the procedure in a relatively comfortable setting.

Fast facts

Book autographs

What: Elizabeth Edwards, keynote speaker at a luncheon supporting the Breast Center at St. Anthony's Health Care.

When: Noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4. (Mrs. Edwards will autograph her book Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.; the book will be available for purchase.)

Where: Picasso Ballroom, Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park, 950 Carillon Parkway.

Tickets: $100

Information: 825-1086