Thrive by IU Health

April 21, 2021

This doctor has a reason to be a real man wearing pink

IU Health University Hospital

This doctor has a reason to be a real man wearing pink

Each year, the American Cancer Society raises money and awareness for breast cancer with a campaign: “Real Men Wear Pink.” Read why this IU Health physician is taking part in this year’s campaign.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

It may be his shirt, his tie, or even his socks but you can be sure that if you cross paths this month with IU Health Dr. Eugene Ceppa you’ll see pink. He’s taking part in a campaign that draws attention and raises money for breast cancer prevention.

As one of 49 ambassadors Ceppa has chosen to draw attention to the cause by wearing pink every day.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a cause close to Dr. Ceppa’s heart. It’s estimated 276,480 American women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 48,530 will be diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer this year. An estimated 2,620 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Dr. Ceppa’s “Nonna” died of breast cancer in the 70s.

“With my grandmother, it was a time when there was limited treatment – surgery plus chemotherapy,” said Dr. Ceppa. “Fast forward 40 years and the options have totally been revolutionized and most of that is through the funding for research. It’s totally different than even 15 years ago and the outcomes are much improved,” he said.

Dr. Ceppa also has a professional reason for taking part in the “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign. As an attending surgeon at IU Health University Hospital he specializes in surgical oncology, with a focus on liver, pancreas, and bile duct. As part of his role, he oversees the care of patients for hereditary screenings. It’s estimated that women with certain genetic mutations - “BRCA,” the Breast Cancer Gene, have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not have the genetic mutations. The genes also increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

“I take care of patients who have had or are at an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. I literally see these patients every six to 12 months and over the past 10 years I have come to know them very well and consider them more as my friends than as my patients. I know their personal stories,” said Dr. Ceppa.

Every dollar raised during the October campaign helps save lives from breast cancer through early detection and prevention, innovative breast cancer research, and patient support.

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