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    BOYNTON BEACH, FL – July 22, 2021 – Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital has expanded its life-saving cancer diagnosis and treatment services in Palm Beach County to a new location at Bethesda Health City, part of Bethesda Hospital East. The facility is located at 10301 Hagen Ranch Road in Boynton Beach. “We look forward to this partnership that will help us bring state-of-the-art comprehensive oncology care closer to our patients and community,” says Nelson Lazo, CEO of Bethesda Hospital East and Bethesda Hospital West. Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Bethesda Hospital East and Bethesda Hospital West are all part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest not-for-profit medical provider in the region. Baptist Health also operates Miami Cancer Institute and is in the process of integrating their complementary services to give patients increased and expedited access to expert care. Lynn Cancer Institute has one of the largest comprehensive oncology programs in Florida, offering top medical and surgical experts as well as the latest in diagnostics and therapeutic cancer treatments. The Institute, which receives about 150,000 patient visits yearly, takes a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care and has access to groundbreaking research trials from nationally recognized programs. “When we work together, we can accomplish more,” says Louise Morrell, M.D., medical director of Lynn Cancer Institute. “With every cancer diagnosis, our goal is to provide patients and their families with personalized care driven by the latest molecular testing and state-of-the-art technology, while maintaining an unsurpassed patient experience.” Bethesda Hospital East provides comprehensive services, including a nationally recognized orthopedic total joint replacement program; cardiovascular care; vascular, endovascular and robotic surgery; women’s and children’s services and also offers inpatient oncology services and an infusion center on its campus in Boynton Beach, north of Boca Raton. The hospital offers imaging services at Bethesda Health City, an outpatient center on Hagen Ranch Road between Bethesda Hospital East and Bethesda Hospital West. Oncology services at this location will be identified as Lynn Cancer Institute at Bethesda – Radiation Oncology, under the direction of Michael Kasper, M.D., medical director of radiation oncology at the Institute. In addition to its main location at Boca Regional, Lynn Cancer Institute already operates two satellite facilities in Delray Beach — one on Military Trail and the other on Linton Boulevard. With increasing cancer specialization and the need for the latest technology, the expansion to Bethesda Hospital will greatly benefit patients. “In coordination with Miami Cancer Institute, our programs are really the anchors of cancer care from the Keys to Palm Beach County,” Dr. Morrell says. “Our common goal is to ensure that every patient with cancer, or at high risk, has access to the very best care available. Integration means widening our circle of expertise and having support as we expand.” To learn more about Lynn Cancer Institute, call 561-955-6627 or visit www.brrh.com/Services/Lynn-Cancer-Institute. About Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute The Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute is one of the largest cancer centers in South Florida and is accredited as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons. The Lynn Cancer Institute treats more than 4,000 patients each year in facilities such as the Harvey & Phyllis Sandler Pavilion, the state-of-the-art cancer center. While traditional cancer treatment requires patients to travel from physician to physician and manage their own scheduling, the Sandler Pavilion centralizes services in one location. This simplifies the entire process for patients, from diagnosis and treatment, to Wellness and Survivorship programs and allows patients to focus on one thing — recovery. More than 20 oncology physicians and a full complement of oncology professionals are on staff to serve the patients at the Lynn Cancer Institute. Patients receive treatment and services from specialists in genetics, surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, pathology and imaging. In addition, staff includes research nurses, who improve patient access to clinical trials and the most advanced forms of treatment. About Boca Raton Regional Hospital Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is supported by philanthropy to strengthen its mission to deliver the highest quality patient care, satisfaction and safety. If you would like to learn more about supporting the mission of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, visit our website at donate.brrh.com. For more information, visit BRRH.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    BOCA RATON, FL – July 12, 2021 – Haroula Protopapadakis Norden has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health South Florida. Effective today, Ms. Protopapadakis Norden assumes her new role. She will help oversee daily operations and play a critical role in the hospital’s expansion and renovation, upholding Boca Regional’s outstanding clinical care and patient satisfaction. “We are very pleased to welcome Haroula Protopapadakis Norden. She brings with her a record of proven leadership and a passion for excellence and innovation,” says Lincoln Mendez, CEO of Boca Raton Regional Hospital. “We know she will be a valued member of our team.” Ms. Protopapadakis Norden is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and served as the 2020 President of the South Florida chapter’s board of directors. She comes to Boca Regional Hospital from Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, where she worked for more than 15 years and most recently served as Associate Administrator. At Memorial, she led the construction of the hospital’s $43 million parking garage and conference center, in addition to overseeing the Neuroscience Institute for the system and the hospital’s departments of trauma medicine, imaging, inpatient rehabilitation, environmental services, food and nutrition and more. Born and raised in South Florida, Ms. Protopapadakis Norden earned her Master of Business Administration degree with a certificate in hospital administration from Nova Southeastern University in Davie. She also earned her Bachelor of Science at NSU. Ms. Protopapadakis Norden is active in a number of community causes. In 2020, she was a March of Dimes Women of Distinction honoree. She also has participated in Leadership Broward and in mentoring programs at both Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University, with an emphasis on healthcare. “I’m very happy to join the team at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, which has such a stellar reputation,” Ms. Protopapadakis Norden says. “The hospital is growing significantly, and in doing so is exploring new ways to serve the community, its patients and their families. It’s an exciting time to be here and I look forward to all we will accomplish.” About Boca Raton Regional Hospital Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is supported by philanthropy to strengthen its mission to deliver the highest quality patient care, satisfaction and safety. If you would like to learn more about supporting the mission of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, visit our website at donate.brrh.com. For more information, visit BRRH.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Jay and Azize Grunin will be Recognized with the Naming of the Conference and Education Center BOCA RATON, FL – July 8, 2021 – Through his Foundation, new Boca Raton resident Jay Grunin has made a gift of $3 million to Keeping the Promise…The Campaign for Boca Raton Regional Hospital. The Grunin Foundation joins many other seven-plus figure donors in support of the hospital’s long-term vision. The gift brings the total raised for the campaign to an astounding $208 million, surging toward a goal of $250 million. “We welcome Jay and his wife Azize to Boca Raton and are delighted by the Foundation’s generous commitment to this project, our vision, and Boca Raton Regional Hospital,” said Lincoln Mendez, CEO of Boca Raton Regional Hospital. “We know Jay Grunin to be an extraordinary philanthropist who understands the values and benefits of his generosity, and how it will help people in their times of need. To say we are grateful he has selected Boca Regional is an understatement, and we heartily welcome them to our hospital family.” Jay Grunin began his philanthropic pursuits many years ago in Ocean County, New Jersey, where he still has a home in Toms River. He and his first wife, Linda, who sadly passed, practiced law together, and at the same time added real estate and other business investments to their career pursuits. Through the years, the Grunin family has sought to improve the quality of life for all residents in New Jersey by thoughtfully investing in the arts, education and healthcare. “The Grunin Foundation is well known for its generosity, and Jay Grunin is the ultimate philanthropist, one who gives with his heart,” said Stan Barry, co-chair of Keeping the Promise. “The Grunins will be a wonderful asset to the Boca Raton area and to Boca Regional. We will recognize the Foundation’s outstanding gift by naming the Conference and Education Center in its honor.” The new Conference and Education Center will be located on the first floor off the main lobby. The space will be flexible and adaptable to the needs for one auditorium or several conference rooms and has a breakout area, making it ideal for luncheons and other gatherings. The new Center will house state-of-the-art video conferencing and other communication technologies. This Center will be widely used by administration, employees and physicians. When available, the much-needed conference space can be utilized for Boca Regional community-based programs and educational offerings, as well as continuing education classes. Additionally, the Center will connect Boca Regional professionals with other leaders and experts nationally and internationally. Keeping the Promise is the largest campaign in Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s history and is supporting its most ambitious period of growth and expansion. The campus redevelopment plans include at the centerpiece, the new Gloria Drummond Patient Tower where patients will be welcomed in the inviting new Louis B. and Anne W. Green Lobby with plans for retail, dining, meeting space, a sanctuary, outdoor courtyards and other conveniences for visitors. The new tower features all new surgical suites and all private patient rooms exceeding the latest safety standards for patient care. In the current hospital building, all existing rooms will be converted to private in a comprehensive renovation of all patient units including maternity, oncology, and orthopedics. An expansion of the Marcus Neuroscience Institute is well underway with emphasis on neurovascular/stroke, central nervous system tumors, spine, and epilepsy/seizure disorders. The recently opened 972-car Schmidt Family Parking Facility will be connected to the Marcus Neuroscience Institute once the new tower construction is complete. Also included in the plans is the new Toby and Leon Cooperman Pavilion, to be located across the street from the medical campus with an outpatient surgery center, physician offices and adjacent parking. These investments are the initial steps toward an even broader vision for the campus with greater access points and even more specialties. “Quality healthcare is an urgency, a grave necessity, in any region, and Boca Raton Regional Hospital has developed an exciting, progressive plan for the future of the region and beyond,” said Jay Grunin. “We are honored to be a part of this initiative and wanted to not only participate but to help make this hospital a better resource for our new community.” About Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation The Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization for Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is supported by philanthropy to strengthen its mission to deliver the highest quality patient care, satisfaction and safety. If you would like to learn more about supporting the mission of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, visit our website at donate.brrh.com. For more information, visit BRRH.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Media Contacts: For Boca Raton Regional Hospital: Michael Maucker mmaucker@baptisthealth.net 954-559-6896 For Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation: Jennifer Rohloff jrohloff@baptisthealth.net 561-955-3329

    Recent report claims traces of benzene found in 78 sunscreens A recent report calls on the Food and Drug Administration to recall certain sunscreens after a cancer-causing chemical was found in them. Valisure tested nearly 300 sunscreens and discovered that 78 of them contain a chemical called benzene. "Benzene is known to harm the bone marrow and long exposure can lead to blood cancer, such as leukemia," Dr. Michael Kasper said. Recent report claims traces of benzene found in 78 sunscreens Dr. Michael Kasper, with the Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Medical Center, suggests some sunscreen alternatives after a report found a cancer-causing chemical in 78 sunscreens. "Benzene is known to harm the bone marrow and long exposure can lead to blood cancer, such as leukemia," Dr. Michael Kasper said. Recent Stories from wptv.com Kasper, who specializes in radiation oncology with the Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, said it's not clear how or why the benzene is there, but it is alarming. Miranda Christian/WPTV "To put it in context, benzene is found in cigarette smoke," Dr. Michael Kasper, with the Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, says. "To put it in context, benzene is found in cigarette smoke," he said. Kasper said anyone worried about applying sunscreen should try to avoid the chemical-based ones that are easily absorbed into the skin. Instead, he said, find mineral sunscreen. "Mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin," Kasper said. "They don't get absorbed." Valisure has sent its report to the FDA to investigate and recall the sunscreens found with benzene. Topping the list of 78 sunscreens were name brands like Neutrogena, CVS and Banana Boat. Twenty different Neutrogena sunscreens had traces of benzene. The company told WPTV in a statement that it doesn't use benzene in its products and is investigating the claims. Fourteen sunscreens from CVS also had traces of benzene. CVS said it is working to ensure its products are safe. Nine sunscreens from Banana Boat were found to have benzene in them. The company could not be reached for comment. Sandy Chasan, who is co-owner of Jamie's Convenience Store in Delray Beach, said sunscreen is hard to keep on the shelf there being so close to the beach. "We sell out almost every single day," she said. Chasan said it's a necessity in the Florida sunshine. "People come in and they're like, 'I can't believe I came to Florida without my sunscreen,'" she said. That's why she hopes the FDA and sunscreen companies take whatever actions are necessary to make sunscreen safe. "Of course, we want the quality of our sunscreen we sell (to be) high quality, you know, that's healthy for the people, healthy for the environment," she said.

    A gene mutation that could put you at higher risk for cancer is just as likely to come from your father as your mother. Unfortunately, only 4 percent of those undergoing hereditary cancer gene testing are male, leaving a huge gap in the knowledge that could help you avoid cancer altogether or inform treatment decisions, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Oncology. Louise Morrell, M.D., a genetics specialist and medical director of Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health. “Men do not often seek testing and many times do not understand the importance of the information,” says Louise Morrell, M.D., a genetics specialist and medical director of Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health. “The more accurate our information, the better our guidance on prevention. In genetics, unlike other areas, the benefit extends to family members and perhaps for generations to come.” Inherited Cancers Today, up to 15 percent of cancers are tied to a hereditary link. Knowing about those links may help you and other members of your family prevent or reduce the risk of cancer. Scientists have identified many mutations that increase the risk for breast and gynecologic cancers, some prostate cancers, colon cancer, gastro-intestinal cancers, kidney cancer and more. For example, a man with prostate cancer tied to a BRCA2 mutation, could pass that mutation to his son or daughter, increasing the risk of breast cancer in both children and of prostate cancer in the son. Raising awareness of the value of genetic assessment and testing, particularly among men, is important to the experts at Lynn Cancer Institute and Miami Cancer Institute. Because the field of genetics moves at a rapid pace, discoveries may impact everything from guidelines for cancer screenings to treatment options for those who have cancer. Although researchers have worked for decades on uncovering the links between genetic mutations and cancer, public knowledge grew when actress Angelina Jolie had her breasts removed in 2013, and then her ovaries in 2015, because she carried the BRCA1 gene mutation that is linked to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Ms. Jolie’s mother, grandmother and aunt had died from cancer, and her decision to prophylactically remove her breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes to lower her cancer risk came after multiple tests and conversations with experts. The same BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that raise the risk of breast cancer in women, also raise the odds of breast cancer in men by eight times, according to the American Cancer Society. Ask Questions Arelis Mártir-Negrόn, M.D., medical geneticist and head of the Clinical Genetics program at Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health. Whether you are a man or a woman, your family’s health history may be the key to your future, says Arelis Mártir-Negrόn, M.D., medical geneticist and head of the Clinical Genetics program at Miami Cancer Institute. “Because as many men pass down mutations as women, you should be as aware of your father’s family’s cancer history as your mother’s. Know your family history. Ask questions.” In general, the earlier cancer is caught, the better the chance of survival. Like Ms. Jolie, when Matthew Knowles, the father of artists Beyoncé and Solange, announced he had breast cancer in 2019, he put the spotlight on genetics. His mother, aunt and great aunt had died from breast cancer and he learned his rare male breast cancer was caused by a BRCA2 gene mutation. He understood that his daughters had a 50 percent chance of inheriting his mutation. Genetic testing among Blacks is much lower than other races. Physicians would like that to change, particularly since some breast cancers that have a poorer prognosis also have a higher incidence in Black women. Fortunately, subsequent testing showed neither daughter had the mutation. Mr. Knowles underwent a mastectomy. Thinking of genetics as a recipe may help some people better understand, genetic counselors say. All people inherit two copies of each gene: one from their mother and one from their father. Variations in genes are normal and are what give us our diversity. A slight change in the recipe may not make much of a difference but the wrong ingredient or too much or too little of something may cause the recipe to change drastically. In addition, not all mutations carry the same risk. “A BRCA mutation might lead to an 80 percent risk of breast cancer but an ATM mutation might have a 20 percent lifetime risk,” Dr. Morrell says. “These are very different, which is why having this information is so valuable.” It’s important to note that just because you carry a mutation doesn’t mean you will get cancer. “There are many things we take into account when we assess risk,” Dr. Mártir-Negrόn says. “We can suggest lifestyle modifications that could lower their chances of getting cancer. There are times when we might also suggest medications or present the idea of preventive surgery.” The genetic teams at Lynn Cancer Institute and Miami Cancer Institute offer multidisciplinary care to patients - and often their family members who may also be affected - to better understand their risks, help them determine if genetic testing would be beneficial, and assist them with understanding the results, whether they are positive, negative or inconclusive. The team also develops personalized cancer prevention for “previvors,” the term used for those with a predisposition to cancer. Fortunately, technological advances continue to make it possible to test for more genes. In recent years, improvements have sped up testing and made it less expensive. In addition, in someone already diagnosed with cancer, the answers from genetic testing can help drive treatment and surgery decisions. Who Should Consider Cancer Genetic Assessment? Men should consider assessment if they: Have had cancer themselves Have an early age of onset for cancer in their family Have a family member with multiple types of cancer Have a family tree with multiple cancers, especially on one side or the other Are a member of certain ancestry groups with higher rates of some genetic mutations, including those of Eastern European Jewish descent. Couples who have a family history of cancer and are considering pregnancy also frequently take advantage of genetic assessment. “If you really want to be able to tell your children they are not at risk to have a particular mutation, you need to test both parents,” Dr. Morrell says. “The offspring can only inherit a mutation that the parents have. Mutations do not skip generations. The parent has to also inherit it.” For more information on genetic assessment, testing and counseling at the Morgan Pressel Center for Cancer Genetics at Lynn Cancer Institute, click here; for information on Miami Cancer Institute’s Clinical Genetics program, click here.

    BOCA RATON, FL – June 14, 2021 ­– Seif Elbualy, M.D., joins Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health, as the director of interventional pain management. Dr. Elbualy specializes in interventional pain management, particularly for spine-related pain and failed back surgery syndrome. He has more than 25 years of experience utilizing medication management and interventional pain therapy. He performs all fluoroscopically guided epidural and selective nerve root blocks, ultrasound-guided peripheral nerve blocks, and radiofrequency denervation. He has additional expertise in spinal cord stimulation, dorsal root ganglion stimulation and intrathecal pump implantation. “We are pleased Dr. Elbualy has joined Marcus Neuroscience Institute,” said Frank Vrionis, M.D., medical director at Marcus Neuroscience Institute. “He has more than 25 years of experience treating patients with chronic pain conditions and we know he’ll be a valued addition to our team.” Dr. Elbualy will contribute to the patient-centered, comprehensive, coordinated, multi-disciplinary care for individuals who live with back pain and other pain conditions. His vision for expanding interventional pain services at the Institute is to provide access to the full continuum of spine and pain care at one location. By continuing to develop a “best practice” clinical model, the team will have a full complement of resources to effectively evaluate and treat all areas of pain impacting patients. Dr. Elbualy joins Marcus Neuroscience Institute from the Comprehensive Center for Pain Management at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, where he served as director. He is currently an affiliate assistant professor at the Charles A. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Elbualy earned his medical degree from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He completed his anesthesiology residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. He then completed a pain management fellowship at Georgetown University. He will see patients at 800 Meadows Road in Boca Raton. About Marcus Neuroscience Institute The Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital is an innovative nexus for neurologic and neurosurgical care. The 57,000-square-foot facility houses a 20-bed Neuro Intensive Care and Step-Down Unit, four dedicated operating rooms — including one equipped with intraoperative MRI and two with intraoperative CT capability — and a biplane angiography suite, a crucial component in the diagnosis and care of neurological conditions. The Institute has a staff of five neurosurgeons and nine neurologists who represent some of the most respected clinicians in their fields and is affiliated with Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. About Boca Raton Regional Hospital Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is supported by philanthropy to strengthen its mission to deliver the highest quality patient care, satisfaction and safety. If you would like to learn more about supporting the mission of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, visit our website at donate.brrh.com. For more information, visit BRRH.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. ####

    Just as families across the U.S. look forward to spending more time outdoors this summer comes the unwelcome news that a number of popular sunscreens have been shown to contain benzene, a chemical known to cause leukemia and other blood cancers. Benzene is used primarily as a solvent in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and its use is tightly regulated. According to recent news reports, traces of benzene have been detected in dozens of popular sunscreens and after-sun products. In tests of nearly 300 sprays and lotions, the cancer-causing chemical was found in 78 products, including some formulations sold by Neutrogena, Banana Boat and CVS. Tests showed that the highest level of benzene – 6.26 parts per million (ppm) – was detected in a batch of Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100. Two different batches of the same sunscreen, each with an SPF of 70, contained 5.96 and 5.76 ppm of the chemical. Sun Bum’s Cool Down Gel contained the next highest amount, at 5.33 ppm. Valisure, the online pharmacy and lab conducting the tests, has petitioned the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to immediately recall sunscreens found to contain benzene. Sunscreens and after-sun lotions are classified as cosmetics and generally subject to FDA regulation. “We know that exposure to benzene is associated with blood cancers such as leukemia,” says Michael Kasper, M.D., director of radiation oncology for Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health South Florida. “What we don’t know is how it wound up in more than a quarter of the sunscreen products tested.” Michael Kasper, M.D., director of radiation oncology for Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital It could be the result of contamination in the manufacturing process, Dr. Kasper says. “Or, it may be a naturally occurring breakdown of other chemicals contained in those sunscreens, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone and homosalate.” These chemicals are related to benzene, he says, and even though they’re approved by the FDA for use in sunscreens and other products, a number of manufacturers are now excluding them from their formulations. Either way, says Dr. Kasper, benzene is not an ingredient that should be there, and consumers need to educate themselves on the different types of sunscreens available and the ingredients they contain. “Not using sunscreens isn’t really an option – especially here in South Florida where we’re outdoors all year long.” But, he cautions, not all sunscreens are alike and consumers need to know the difference. “With chemical-based sunscreens, the ingredients are absorbed by the skin and create a chemical barrier that protects you against the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays,” Dr. Kasper says. “Mineral-based sunscreens, on the other hand, are not absorbed by the skin. They contain either titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide, which act as a physical barrier against UV rays.” Benzene contamination has not been found in any mineral-based sunscreens, and Dr. Kasper says these products are absolutely safe to use. What about old sunscreens people have had around the house for years – are they safe? Conventional wisdom holds that chemical-based sunscreens break down over time, diminishing their effectiveness, says Dr. Kasper. Now, you have another reason to throw them out, he says. “If the benzene contamination is actually occurring as a result of a breakdown of other ingredients, then I would say yes, it would certainly make sense to dispose of your old chemical-based sunscreens.” Skin cancer affects more people each year than breast or prostate cancer combined, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, and nearly 10,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every single day. Even so, Dr. Kasper says, skin cancer is highly preventable – if you take active steps every day to limit your sun exposure. “Stay out of the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.,” Dr. Kasper advises. “On a South Florida summer day, the sun’s rays can still be pretty strong even at 5 p.m., so just be careful whenever you’re outside during the day.” If you do have to be outdoors, he recommends using a mineral-based sunscreen and wearing cool, lightweight clothing with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 40 or 50. Sun safety is especially important for children and teens, according to Dr. Kasper. “Studies show that 90 percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 20, so make sure you keep the kids covered up.”

    Extraordinary Commitment by First-Time Boca Raton Regional Hospital Donors BOCA RATON, FL – June 3, 2021 – Boca Raton residents John and Jean Gerson have joined a long but exclusive list of seven-plus figure donors to Keeping the Promise…The Campaign for Boca Raton Regional Hospital with a commitment of $1 million. The Gersons’ gift brings the total raised for the campaign to $207 million, surging toward a goal of $250 million. “The Gersons are first-time donors to the hospital, so there is no way to describe how grateful we are for their belief in this project, our vision, and Boca Regional,” said Lincoln Mendez, CEO of Boca Raton Regional Hospital. “We welcome them to our family and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with them as our future takes shape right in front of us on campus.” John Gerson is the President at KII Telecommunications based in Boca Raton, Florida, which consists of multiple leading U.S. and multi-national companies in the business of wireline, wireless, and cloud-based offerings. Prior to that, John served as the Senior Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer for Paladin Realty Partners. John also held the position of CFO at Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. for fifteen years. “We are delighted the Gersons have joined our family of campaign donors,” said Stan Barry, co-chair of Keeping the Promise. “Many new donors are moved and compelled by the momentum of the campaign, the sophistication of the medical care we increasingly demonstrate here, and our enormous commitment to the future of healthcare in the area. To engage as a seven-figure donor is a testament to their trust in that future.” Keeping the Promise is the largest campaign in Boca Raton Regional Hospital history and is supporting its most ambitious period of growth and expansion ever. The campus redevelopment plans include at the centerpiece, the new Gloria Drummond Patient Tower where patients will be welcomed in the inviting new Louis B. and Anne W. Green Lobby with plans for retail, dining, meeting space, a sanctuary, outdoor courtyards and other conveniences for visitors. The new tower features all new surgical suites and all private patient rooms exceeding the latest safety standards for patient care. In the current hospital building, all existing rooms will be converted to private in a comprehensive renovation of all patient units including maternity, oncology, and orthopedics. An expansion of the Marcus Neuroscience Institute is well underway with emphasis on neurovascular/stroke, central nervous system tumors, spine, and epilepsy/seizure disorders. The recently opened 972-car Schmidt Family Parking Facility will be connected to the Marcus Neuroscience Institute once the new tower construction is complete. Also included in the plans is the new Toby and Leon Cooperman Pavilion, to be located across the street from the medical campus with an outpatient surgery center, physician offices and adjacent parking. These investments are the initial steps toward an even broader vision for the campus with greater access points and even more specialties. “We want to participate in this historic effort, and truly understand the need for the most progressive healthcare presence available in our backyard,” said Jean Gerson. “From what we’ve seen, this hospital will be a model for others in Florida and elsewhere. About Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation The Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization for Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is supported by philanthropy to strengthen its mission to deliver the highest quality patient care, satisfaction and safety. If you would like to learn more about supporting the mission of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, visit our website at donate.brrh.com. For more information, visit BRRH.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Media Contacts: For Boca Raton Regional Hospital: Michael Maucker mmaucker@baptisthealth.net 954-559-6896 For Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation: Jennifer Rohloff jrohloff@baptisthealth.net 561-955-3329 ###

    PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL – May 25, 2021 – Cardiac and thoracic surgeon Ahmad Hamzah, M.D., has joined Baptist Health Medical Group North. Dr. Hamzah specializes in minimally invasive aortic valve replacement and mitral valve repair, coronary artery bypass, total arterial revascularization, ascending aortic surgery, endovascular thoracic aneurysm repair, and the frozen elephant trunk (FET) procedure. He is fluent in English, Spanish and Arabic. “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Hamzah to Baptist Health Medical Group North,” said Dr. Richard Cartledge, M.D., FACS, Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery and Medical Director of Christine E. Lynn Heart & Vascular Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. “His extensive training and experience in minimally invasive and traditional cardiothoracic surgery will make him an excellent addition to our team.” Dr. Hamzah joins Baptist Health Medical Group North from Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. He is a member of the American Medical Association and Florida Medical Association. He has conducted research on bacterial endocarditis, an infection in the heart, and septic emboli, bacteria-containing blood clots that travel from an infection site to distant areas in the body. Dr. Hamzah earned his medical degree from the University of Sevilla. He completed his general surgery residency at Henry Ford Hospital and his cardiothoracic surgery residency at Wayne State University. He then completed an endovascular & peripheral vascular surgery fellowship at Arizona Heart Institute and a cardiovascular & pediatric surgery fellowship at Wayne State University and Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hamzah will see patients at Boca Raton Regional Hospital and Bethesda Hospital East. About Baptist Health Medical Group North Baptist Health Medical Group North, formed from Bethesda Health Physician Group and BocaCare© physicians, is committed to the prevention, treatment and management of acute and chronic illnesses and diseases through evidence-based clinical practices. These dedicated providers collaborate with doctors from nearby institutions and all 11 Baptist Health hospitals, which have been operating with excellence for decades from the Florida Keys north to Bethesda Hospital East, Bethesda Hospital West and Boca Raton Regional Hospital, and more than 50 outpatient facilities located throughout South Florida. Baptist Health Medical Group North doctors gives access to a comprehensive network of clinicians committed to helping patients manage their day-to-day health and navigate their advanced and long-term healthcare needs in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular health, orthopedics and sports medicine, the neurosciences and others.

    BOCA RATON, FL – April 27, 2021 ­– Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital has earned the Gold Seal of Approval® for Spinal Surgery Certification from The Joint Commission, the nation’s premier independent accreditation organization. The Gold Seal reflects commitment to the highest standards of excellence and safety in patient care. Only 101 hospitals across the country have received the elite Gold Seal of Approval® for Spine Surgery from The Joint Commission. Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Marcus Neuroscience Institute will now become only one of two in the South Florida region. “We are very proud to be recognized for our efforts to bring the very best spine care to our patients,” says neurosurgeon Frank Vrionis, M.D., director of Marcus Neuroscience Institute. “Earning this certification involved a rigorous process that required collaboration between many disciplines and our spine surgery team. We have been working tirelessly to make sure we meet the very stringent requirements.” Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health South Florida, is an innovative nexus for neurologic and neurosurgical care. The facility, which is undergoing expansion, houses four dedicated operating rooms — including one equipped with intraoperative MRI and two with intraoperative CT capability. A key part of the Institute, the Phillip & Peggy DeZwirek Center for Spinal Disorders & Back Pain includes an experienced team of spine-care specialists to provide patients with the most sophisticated treatment options available. Its physicians perform more than 1,500 procedures annually, using the latest surgical techniques. The Center’s multidisciplinary approach includes pain management, neuro and ortho-spine surgery, and physical therapy. Many of the physicians at Marcus Neuroscience Institute have been academic leaders in spine surgery, established spine fellowship programs, practice guidelines, founded biomechanical research and ran national clinical studies that established standards of care. To earn Joint Commission certification, Marcus Neuroscience Institute underwent a rigorous review process. A team of Joint Commission experts evaluated the Institute’s compliance with certification standards that address the various domains related to spine surgery such as program structure, delivery of care, care coordination, and performance measures. The reviewers also conducted observations and interviews. “As always, Boca Raton Regional Hospital is leading the way by delivering the highest quality patient care with unrelenting attention to clinical excellence, patient satisfaction and patient safety,” says Lincoln Mendez, Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s CEO. “Our goal in all areas is the highest level of precision medicine.” Among other things, the certification evaluates how organizations use clinical outcomes and performance measures to identify opportunities to further improve care, as well as to educate and prepare patients and their caregivers for discharge. Seeking certification helps strengthen the structure and management of medical programs for the benefit of patients, says Mark Pelletier, R.N., The Joint Commission’s CEO for accreditation and certification operations. “Certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement,” Mr. Pelletier says. “We commend Marcus Neuroscience Institute.” The Institute was made possible by a lead gift and continuing support from Bernie and Billi Marcus and The Marcus Foundation. “Saving and changing the lives of individuals with neurological disease or impairment has always been an important philanthropic focus for us,” explains Bernie Marcus. “We want the Marcus Neuroscience Institute to stay at the forefront of patient care with unparalleled clinical and research services.” About Boca Raton Regional Hospital Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is supported by philanthropy to strengthen its mission to deliver the highest quality patient care, satisfaction and safety. If you would like to learn more about supporting the mission of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, visit our website at donate.brrh.com. For more information, visit BRRH.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. ####

    BOCA RATON, FL – April 5, 2021 – Boca Raton resident Eleanor R. Baldwin made her second seven figure gift to Keeping the Promise…The Campaign for Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Ms. Baldwin’s gift total is now $7.5 million, joining a list of Boca Raton’s philanthropic “Who’s Who” of seven- and eight-figure donors to the Campaign who have helped raise more than $193 million, thus far. “There is no way to characterize the level of gratitude we feel for Eleanor,” said Lincoln Mendez, CEO of Boca Raton Regional Hospital. “She is another long-tenured member of our family at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. This campus-wide initiative and capital campaign will have a significant impact by her participation, by her investment in our future and mission, and by her love of the hospital.” Ms. Baldwin values the sophisticated local care in the community provided by Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Her donation, a combination of cash and a planned gift, will be recognized by naming the Bistro in the new Gloria Drummond Patient Tower as well as on the new parking facility to be located across Meadows Road adjacent to the future Toby and Leon Cooperman Pavilion. “Eleanor doesn’t simply make gifts to organizations, she is acutely aware of the services she is supporting and how they will be enhanced by her commitment,” said Stan Barry, co-chair of Keeping the Promise. “She is certainly not a passive donor, as we know from her history here with us at Boca Regional, and a myriad of other organizations she holds in high esteem. She is a treasure and we heartily thank her for her generosity and efforts.” Ms. Baldwin is a retired educator, having taught for 34 years, mostly in Broward County high schools. She was a university supervisor of student teachers at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and is President of the Baldwin Family Foundation. She was elected to the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University in 1995 and served until 2003. She is currently a member of the Medical Affairs Committee of the Northwestern Board of Trustees and is a Northwestern Alumni Regent Emeritus for South Florida. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Smith College and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Northwestern University. In addition to her generosity to Boca Raton Regional Hospital, she has also enthusiastically supported Florida Atlantic University and Northwestern University. The $250 million Keeping the Promise campaign is the largest campaign in the hospital’s history. It is supporting the most ambitious period of growth and expansion for Boca Raton Regional Hospital. The campus redevelopment plans include at the centerpiece, the new Gloria Drummond Patient Tower where patients will be welcomed in the inviting new Louis B. and Anne W. Green Lobby with plans for retail, dining, meeting space, a sanctuary, outdoor courtyards and other conveniences for visitors. The new tower features all new surgical suites and all private patient rooms exceeding the latest safety standards for patient care. In the current hospital building, all existing rooms will be converted to private in a comprehensive renovation of all patient units including maternity, oncology and orthopedics. An expansion of the Marcus Neuroscience Institute is well underway with emphasis on neurovascular/stroke, central nervous system tumors, spine, and epilepsy/seizure disorders. The recently opened 972-car Schmidt Family Parking Facility will be connected to the Marcus Neuroscience Institute once the new tower construction is complete. Also included in the plans is the new Toby and Leon Cooperman Pavilion, to be located across the street from the medical campus with an outpatient surgery center, physician offices and adjacent parking. These investments are the initial steps toward an even broader vision for the campus with greater access points and even more specialties. “It should be important to all of us in Boca Raton and the surrounding communities to have the best, most sophisticated care we could possibly have,” said Ms. Baldwin. “I trust our leadership implicitly as they chart our path for the future of medicine in our area” About Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation The Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization for Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is supported by philanthropy to strengthen its mission to deliver the highest quality patient care, satisfaction and safety. If you would like to learn more about supporting the mission of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, visit our website at donate.brrh.com. For more information, visit BRRH.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Media Contacts: For Boca Raton Regional Hospital: Michael Maucker mmaucker@baptisthealth.net 954-559-6896 For Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation: Jennifer Rohloff jrohloff@baptisthealth.net 561-955-3329

    The Institute is the only facility in the area to feature this highly sophisticated technology BOCA RATON, FL – March 24, 2021 ­– Using state-of-the art technology that promises to become tomorrow’s standard of care, neurosurgeons at Marcus Neuroscience Institute, Frank Vrionis, M.D. and Timothy Miller, M.D., have successfully performed their first robotic-assisted spine surgery. The Institute, located at Baptist Health’s Boca Raton Regional Hospital, is the only facility in Palm Beach and Broward counties to offer this advanced technology and one of only two facilities between Central Florida and the Florida Keys. The patient, a man in his 70s, underwent a spinal fusion to stabilize the lumbar area of his back using the Mazor X™ Robotic Guidance Platform. “Robotics allow us to perform minimally-invasive surgeries with increased safety and precision, leading to less blood loss, less post-operative pain and faster recovery,” says neurosurgeon Frank Vrionis, M.D., the Institute’s director. “With our new sophisticated robotic system, we will be able to perform more minimally invasive procedures safely and effectively. This is particularly beneficial to our aging population, because it reduces the risk of infection and shortens hospital stays.” The robotics platform assists surgeons by combining 3D pre-operative planning, robotic guidance and intra-operative surgical navigation for precise placement of spinal implants and screws. “The margin of error is very small in the spine,” Dr. Vrionis says. “If you’re placing hardware in the spine, there are times when one millimeter is all it takes to leave a person with weakness or a neurological problem. The more precise we can be, the better.” The Mazor X™ Robotic Guidance Platform provides surgeons comprehensive information and visualization before ever making an incision. Using 3D imaging and computer analytics, the surgeon plans an optimal surgery in a CT-based 3D simulation of the patient’s spine. This means the angle, width and length of every screw are very specifically mapped for each patient and guided in real time during surgery. During surgery, the robot “arm” with multiple joints gives the surgeon the exact, individualized trajectory to place screws, cages or other implants within the bones. Advanced intra-operative imaging and 3D cameras synchronize the position of the robotic surgical arm with the pre-op surgical blueprint. The robotic arm serves as a guide as the surgeon inserts tools and implants, ensuring the correct location, trajectory and depth. “Like other robotic-assisted technologies, this system enhances the surgeon’s human skills to deliver superior precision — all while the surgeon retains full control of the procedure,” Dr. Vrionis explains. “The robotic guidance helps surgeons execute the custom surgical plan with exceptional precision through micro incisions.” As spinal surgery has evolved, more focus has been placed on minimally invasive techniques. However, smaller incisions can pose a challenge to surgeons due to the limited view of the patient’s anatomy. By combining 3D pre-operative planning, robotic guidance and intra-operative surgical navigation, the robotic platform will assist surgeons in the treatment of many spine conditions. Among them is spinal fusion surgery, a procedure that fuses together damaged vertebrae using a bone graft to create a single, solid bone. Screws and rods are often used to hold the bones together. The goal is to eliminate pain by stabilizing the spine. Other conditions that could benefit from robotic-guided spine surgery include degenerative disc disease, spinal deformity, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, revisions of previous surgeries, radiculopathy, complex scoliosis, tumor surgery and others. “This technology will set the standard for the future of minimally invasive spine surgery,” says Lincoln Mendez, Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s CEO. “By bringing this new technology to our area, we are helping promote faster recovery times, reducing postoperative pain and improving results for our patients. We are committed to getting patients back to doing what they love most as quickly as possible.” Led by Dr. Vrionis, Baptist Health’s Marcus Neuroscience Institute team members include neurosurgeons Timothy Miller Jr., M.D., Brian M. Snelling, M.D., Evan M. Packer, M.D. and Lloyd Zucker, M.D. To learn more about the Institute’s spine program, call 561-955-4600 or visit BRRH.com/MNI. About Boca Raton Regional Hospital Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is supported by philanthropy to strengthen its mission to deliver the highest quality patient care, satisfaction and safety. If you would like to learn more about supporting the mission of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, visit our website at donate.brrh.com. For more information, visit BRRH.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Media Contact: Michael Maucker, 954-559-6896 Marketing Manager mmaucker@baptisthealth.net

    BOCA RATON, Fla. — Tara Gustman remembers every stage of her breast cancer journey. "I was diagnosed when I was 34 years old and I am coming on a three-year survivor," Gustman said. "The journey obviously was a swarm for our entire family." Her young daughters watching their mother get treatments for breast cancer, at one point losing all of her hair. Then 8-year-old Alivia had an idea about teddy bears. "My teacher said that you can make a project that you can make. And if you like it you can make it real one day," Alivia said. "And I love teddy bears so I just chose cancer bears to be my option." With help from her dad, she now has a non-profit called Cancer Bears. It's only been a few months, and she's already sold more than 200 teddy bears. "From 24 states across the U.S. and even had a sale in Australia," Alivia said. Her father, Michael Gustman, sees the impact first hand, which he said is endless. "The notes that we receive from people that are going through the treatment for people that have purchased the bear for people going through treatment," Gustman said. "People who have purchased a bear for children of parents that are going through treatment." We are going to donate money to Boca Regional Hospital where mommy was treated. And we will also be donating to Joe Dimaggio Children's Hospital where my sister had surgery," Alivia said. Her mother's doctor, Dr. Jane Skelton with the Lynn cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, said it's not unusual for kids to find creative ways to cope when parents are battling cancer. "Embrace the fact that you know what my mom had something different than somebody else’s mom," Dr. Skelton said. "And obviously the message here is I’m going to do something to help my mom and to help other moms and other dads and other families. And it’s beautiful to see something like that.” "Send a bear, show you care," Alivia said. To learn more about Cancer Bears, click here.

    It was just one year ago – March 11, 2020 – that the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. Since then, nearly every aspect of our lives and routines has been upended by COVID-19. Of special concern for leaders at Baptist Health’s Miami Cancer Institute and Lynn Cancer Institute is the sharp decrease in cancer screenings over the past year, and what that portends for the future. Michael J. Zinner, M.D., CEO and executive medical director of Miami Cancer Institute “In a November 2020 report, The Journal of Clinical Oncology quantified year-over-year decreases in different types of cancer screenings and the data was alarming,” says Michael J. Zinner, M.D., CEO and executive medical director of Miami Cancer Institute. “They found that during the initial surge last April, breast mammograms were down 85 percent from the previous year, while colonoscopies and lung cancer screenings both were down 75 percent.” Prostate cancer screenings decreased by 56 percent during the same time, he adds. Dr. Zinner worries about what those numbers mean for the millions of patients diagnosed with cancer each year. He believes the sharp decrease in screenings for these common cancers could lead to increased morbidity and mortality for those patients diagnosed with late-stage cancer. “When we factor this data into our computer modeling and look ahead 10 years, we see potentially 5,000 more deaths from breast cancer and 4,000 more for colon cancer, simply because people decided to forego their regular cancer screenings during the pandemic,” Dr. Zinner says. “We’re looking at a ticking time bomb here – one with a 10-year fuse.” Is it safe to go to a doctor’s office or hospital for cancer screenings? “Absolutely,” says Dr. Zinner, who notes that patients coming in for screenings won’t be sitting in a big waiting room with lots of other patients. “Considering all of the extensive precautions we take, I think it’s safer to come to Miami Cancer Institute – or any of our facilities at Baptist Health, for that matter – than it is to go to your local grocery store.” Louise Morrell, M.D., medical director of Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital Medical oncologist Louise Morrell, M.D., who serves as medical director of Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, also part of Baptist Health, says the dropoff in screenings is a real concern. “We know cancer diagnoses are being missed, simply because of the decrease in screenings over the past year.” Some patients, she says, are self-driven to keep up with their screenings, while many others depend on their primary care physician to recommend which screenings they need and when. “They’re the ones we worry about because that’s where we’ve seen the biggest drop – in physician-referred screenings,” Dr. Morrell says. Dr. Morrell uses a familiar analogy to underscore the importance of screenings and early detection in beating cancer. “If you do get cancer, it’s kind of random when you get it,” Dr. Morrell says. “So it’s a bit like using your seatbelt. It doesn’t matter if you wore it last year. If you were to have an accident, for the seatbelt to work, you’d actually have to be wearing it – not just now but every time you get in the car.” Similarly, she says, cancer screenings are great for early detection, but they’re only effective if you get them. “Screenings are a valuable tool but they can only offer a snapshot of your health at a certain point in time,” Dr. Morrell says. “That’s why it’s so important to keep up with your recommended screenings.” According to Dr. Zinner, certain populations are predisposed to getting certain types of cancer during their lifetimes. “Smokers are far more likely to develop lung cancer, and patients who’ve had polyps revealed in a colonoscopy are more likely to develop colon cancer,” Dr. Zinner notes. “There’s often a history involved for patients with breast cancer, and elderly populations are generally more likely to develop any type of cancer, simply by virtue of having lived so long.” These are people who should be especially vigilant when it comes to their regular screenings, he says. Dr. Zinner expects cancer screenings to increase this year but hopes they’ll return to their pre-pandemic levels. In the meantime, both Miami Cancer Institute and Lynn Cancer Institute are stepping up programs to make cancer screenings more widely available to at-risk populations in South Florida. Miami Cancer Institute opened on the campus of Baptist Hospital in 2017 “We’re committed to community outreach and are pairing with local organizations to conduct screenings,” Dr. Zinner says. “There are obviously areas of particular need within our community and Miami Cancer Institute has been reaching out to these medically underserved populations with the goal of providing better access to the lifesaving technology and expertise available here.” At Lynn Cancer Institute in Boca Raton, Dr. Morrell says the cancer center looked at the 8,000-plus patients who had missed their annual mammograms last Spring as the pandemic spread throughout South Florida and across the nation. “We actually used artificial intelligence to identify those patients who, based on their known risk factors, were deemed to be at highest risk for developing breast cancer, and we made a special effort to get them back in for their screenings.”

    When it comes to cancer, treatment delays can lead to less favorable outcomes and even a greater chance of death from certain cancers. Thanks to Baptist Health’s expanded cancer program - a result of the integration of Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute and Miami Cancer Institute - patients receive expedited care with the specialists and services they need, no matter where they are located. Together, the two programs make a powerful team, offering personalized treatment options with a multidisciplinary approach based on physicians’ clinical expertise, advanced technology and innovative clinical trials. “Our programs are really the anchors of cancer care from the Keys to Palm Beach,” says Louise Morrell, M.D., medical director of Lynn Cancer Institute. “Our common goal is to ensure that every patient with cancer, or at high risk, has access to the very best care available. Integration means widening our circle of expertise and having support as we expand.” Combined Camcer Conferences One way the team broadens its scope is through collaboration at combined cancer conferences where physicians from both Institutes discuss patient cases together. By pooling their knowledge and uniting their strengths, specialists provide input to evaluate options and create the best customized plan for each patient. And Lynn Cancer Institute and Miami Cancer Institute share the philosophy that multidisciplinary clinics that allow the patient to see multiple specialists in their disease (surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists) in one visit afford the greatest convenience to patients. Lynn Cancer Institute is already the largest provider of cancer care in Palm Beach County and one of the largest in Florida. Miami Cancer Institute is Baptist Health’s cancer care anchor, offering a full array of services, and is Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, an alliance encompassing collaboration in clinical trials and standards of care. Both centers drive care through the latest molecular testing and state-of-the-art technology. Patients and their families are supported by genetic counseling, a full range of psychosocial services that include dietitians, social workers, exercise physiologists, psychologists and psychiatrists, palliative and pastoral care, and wellness and survivorship programs. Specialty Services For those in Palm Beach County who need specialized services available only at Miami Cancer Institute, the referral process is accelerated, with physicians who know each other and are comfortable working together. Some of those services include stem cell transplantation, CAR T-Cell therapy and highly targeted radiation therapy in the form of sophisticated proton therapy and the MR-Linac, another new form of highly precise and targeted radiation therapy. Another advantage of integration is establishing joint standards of care that physicians agree will result in the best patient outcomes. “The staff at Lynn Cancer Institute has put considerable effort into this work, and by combining the insights, knowledge and skills we have at both facilities, we are able to define the best evidence-based standards of care,” says Leonard Kalman, M.D., deputy medical director and chief medical officer at Miami Cancer Institute. Further Expansion The integration of Lynn Cancer Institute and Miami Cancer Institute also allows for greater support of the planned expansion of Lynn Cancer Institute, including new technology and the addition of cancer services at Bethesda Health City, an outpatient facility located between Baptist Health’s Bethesda Hospital East and Bethesda Hospital West. A larger, integrated program also makes Baptist Health’s cancer care services a more attractive clinical research partner to the pharmaceutical and device industries. Integration has also helped each institution deal more effectively with the COVID-19 pandemic. During a combined weekly Command Center meeting, the teams discuss the pandemic’s ever-changing implication for cancer patients. “We ensured we had a common approach and standard safety procedures,” says Dr. Morrell. “Being part of a larger healthcare system enabled us to have enough personal protective equipment for staff and patients and guaranteed the medications we needed would be available.”

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