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The atmosphere at Moffitt Cancer Center’s McKinley Outpatient Center was one of support and comfort during this year’s Ladies Night. It’s an annual event focused on empowering and informing women about the latest treatments and advances in the field of breast cancer.

“Have you ever been in a room that is a feel-good space and everyone is so supportive of everyone else there?” asked Chantel Griffin-Stampfer, manager of Moffitt Program for Outreach, Wellness Education and Resources (M-POWER). “It was that kind of atmosphere and we had some new folks and some women who returned from last year. It was an incredibly positive experience.”

Nearly 120 women signed up to attend the annual Ladies Night and many took advantage of a tour of Moffitt’s Breast Cancer Clinic. One guest in particular appreciated the access.

“She shared that she was turning 40 next year and that she had fear about mammograms because she had never experienced one,” Griffin-Stampfer said. “After the tour she approached me and shared that she no longer was scared and understood that this was just something she needed to do to protect her health.”

Experts agree that early detection is the key. And while breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States – second only to lung cancer in cancer-related deaths – there is some good news. In its most recent report on the status of breast cancer in the U.S., the American Cancer Society cited a 39 percent decline in breast cancer deaths since a peak in 1989. The decline in deaths is attributed to early detection, systemic treatments and targeted therapies.

The women in attendance were able to hear about those treatments and advances in the field as well as the first-hand experience of one breast cancer survivor.

“She was so engaging and spoke in a way that everyone could relate to her, and also encouraged women to advocate for themselves,” Griffin-Stampfer said.