Physicians Premier Emergency Room Founding Doctor Fundraises for Breast Cancer
By Amy Morgan
While it might seem logical that pumpkin orange would be the color most associated with October, instead, for the past 35+ years, the season has been marked by a plethora of pink. The traditionally feminine hue popping up in untraditional places like football cleats and office scrubs reminds us that breast cancer is still the second leading cause of death among women and the most common cancer in the world. Since 1985, when October was designated National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the American Cancer Society’s Think Pink campaign has raised awareness about the need for early detection and funds for treatment and a potential cure.
This year the doctors and staff of Physicians Premier are proud to support Lonnie Schwirtlich, M.D., as he serves as one of the American Cancer Society’s Men Wear Pink Ambassadors.
“We are tickled PINK that the American Cancer Society kicked off their Real Men Wear Pink campaign,” Physician Premier announced on Facebook. “Our very own Physicians Premier Founder and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lonnie Schwirtlich was nominated as a Men Wear Pink Ambassador! These men form a distinguished group of community leaders who are committed to wearing Pink in the month of October to raise funds for breast cancer research and ultimately save lives. We are so incredibly proud to stand behind Dr. Schwirtlich and support his campaign. We invite you to join Dr. Schwirtlich and Physicians Premier in the fight against breast cancer, too. Stay tuned for LOTS of Pink and some exciting fundraising opportunities with Dr. Schwirtlich.”
The office, located west on Highway 46 near the HEB Plus, will be decorated with pink balloons and banners reminding patients of the cause. Dr Schwirtlich hopes to raise more than the ambassadorship goal of $2500 and plans several events to involve the community.
Cancer is personal to Dr. Schwirtlich. A kidney cancer survivor himself, he watched his best friend lose his wife to the disease.
“That was a heartbreaker,” he said.
Over his 42-year medical career, Dr. Schwirtlich has diagnosed breast cancer on multiple occasions in women who came to the emergency room initially for a different issue. He would notice moisture on their shirt or bra from an open lesion or smell breast cancer’s distinctive odor and immediately order a CT scan to determine the extent of the disease.
Breaking the news to a patient that she has cancer is never something Dr. Schwirtlich enjoys. “That’s the hardest thing, to see that look on their face. It just rips their heart out,” he said.
Dr. Schwirtlich wants people to know that breast cancer is very treatable when detected early. “It’s so important to do the screening,” he said. He emphasizes the American Cancer Society’s recommendation that women obtain annual mammograms beginning at age 40.
“I hope that somebody out there who needs a screening and mammogram will be motivated to get one and catch their breast cancer early. That makes everything worth it,” Dr. Schwirtlich said.
He’ll be wearing pink all month to reinforce the message.
Physicians Premier allows patients to access the care they need when they need it, saving time, money, alleviating concern and allowing for a healthier patient and community. Find them at MDpremier.com.