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Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida announced that it is expanding its education, outreach, and services for breast health to patients across its service area. The announcement is part of a nationwide expansion of Planned Parenthood’s breast health programs, made possible by an outpouring of donations from the public after the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation stopped providing grants to Planned Parenthood because of intense pressure from political groups – and then quickly reversed course – earlier this year.

Already, Planned Parenthood is a trusted provider of breast cancer screening for women in Sarasota, Manatee, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Lakeland and Winter Haven. Last year, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida provided breast health exams for nearly 3,800 women. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood health centers provide breast cancer screening for nearly 750,000 women each year.

The expanded breast health program will give more women access to diagnostic services, and educational resources to help them identify potential breast health issues early, and make the best decisions about their health care.

“At Planned Parenthood, we are committed to removing the barriers that stand in the way of women getting screened for breast cancer,” said Dr. Suzie Prabhakaran, Vice President of Medical Affairs. “Whether it’s a clinical exam, referral for necessary follow-up services like biopsies or ultrasounds, or information about their options — we’re thrilled that we can provide more patients in our service area with vital screenings and follow-up diagnostic care.”

As a trusted provider of health care to more than 27,000 patients a year, Planned Parenthood has a deep understanding of the challenges patients often face in seeking out care.  When it comes to following up on breast abnormalities, fear and cost are two of the most significant barriers. 

Planned Parenthood is addressing these barriers through its expanded breast health work, with an emphasis on follow-up care:

• When Planned Parenthood doctors and clinicians identify potential breast abnormalities in patients, they refer patients for diagnostic follow-up care. As part of this expanded program, our local Planned Parenthood was awarded a grant from Planned Parenthood Federation of America to help cover the costs associated with follow-up care.
Planned Parenthood encourages women to schedule a regular check-up at a local Planned Parenthood health center, which includes clinical breast exams that can help detect breast cancer early.

“We are stepping up our education efforts so that women from all backgrounds can take charge of their own health,” said Dr. Prabhakaran. “We know that understanding the risks and signs of breast cancer is the first step to early detection, and Planned Parenthood is a partner for women in our area in fighting this disease.”

Planned Parenthood is a critical resource for women in the fight to detect breast cancer early. One in five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some time in her life for health care. 

Seven Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida health centers will be providing expanded breast health services.  To learn more, go to MyPlannedParenthood.org or call (941) 567-3800.

Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, Inc., an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. began operations in 1966 and provides vital sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education to women, men and teens in Sarasota, Manatee, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, Lakeland and Winter Haven. The mission of Planned Parenthood is to ensure the right of all individuals to manage their sexual and reproductive health by providing medical services, education and advocacy.


Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida


Sharon Kunkel
941.365.3913, ext. 1105
[email protected]


September 20, 2012