Breast Cancer is Personal for Treasure Coast Surgeon

Jason Radecke, M.D., M.S.
Jason Radecke, M.D., M.S.

Jason Radecke, M.D., M.S., Steward Bariatric and General Surgery, comes from a long line of manly men. He describes the men in his family as “big Viking German tough guys” from West Virginia who root for the Ohio State Buckeye football team. For his part, Radecke, a high school wrestling standout, can be found most autumn weekends cheering on the fighting Tigers of Clemson University, where he earned degrees in biochemistry, immunology, and molecular medicine.

Radecke, a bariatric and general surgeon who performs lumpectomies and mastectomies at Sebastian River Medical Center, knows that tough guys don’t typically worry about breast cancer, except as a potential health threat to the women in their lives. 

So, when Radecke’s uncle got diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, it sent the family into shock.

“He fought for 12 years in multiple rounds of chemotherapy before succumbing to it just one year ago,” said Radecke, whose brother, father, and male cousin also tested positive for the genetic defect that can contribute to breast cancer. His brother and cousin underwent bilateral mastectomies or both breasts’ surgical removal as a preventative measure.

Because of his family history, the issue of breast cancer is intensely personal and not exclusively associated with all things pink and girly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States is found in a man. 

“I did a five-year general surgery residency in which I did hundreds of breast cases,” said Radecke, whose work also includes fixing hernias, removing gall bladders, and colon malignancies. “The fact that breast cancer runs in my family makes it very personal to me. Because of my passion for this, I do a great deal of this kind of work.”

Radecke works tirelessly to ensure his patients of both genders are aware of the need to patrol their health and reduce their risk of getting breast cancer. For women, that means encouraging them to perform monthly self-exams, get annual clinical exams as well as annual screening mammograms. Three-dimensional mammography, offered at Sebastian River Medical Center, provides the latest technology for early detection of breast cancer. A study in JAMA Oncology notes that cancer detection rates are higher in people who return for 3D imaging over time. This means that 3D imaging potentially catches more signs of cancer than 2D imaging.

“Since women’s movements across the country have shed more light on screening mammograms, remarkable things have happened,” he said. “More women are getting screened; testing modalities are improving, reconstruction surgery is mandated to be paid for by the insurance companies. We are catching more and more breast cancers in early stages rather than late stages, and more survivors are benefiting from this.”

For men and women, that means reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

“Obesity is related to a seven- to eight-fold increase in breast cancer,” said Radecke, who offers several types of weight-loss surgery at his practice. “It is related to a significant increase in all cancers, but breast cancer more significantly because excess adipose tissue gives off estrogen, which feeds many breast cancer tumors.”

Radecke also works to raise awareness of breast cancer on the Treasure Coast. He has so many pink T-shirts in his closet from participating in fundraising events that he has lost count.

In an Oct. 2 video devoted to his uncle’s memory and to breast cancer awareness, Radecke let his wife, brother, and three kids take turns shaving his head with an electric razor while he wore a hot pink T-shirt.

“If I can get one person to get a mammogram, it’s worth it,” Radecke said.

His two sons, Coleson, 9, and Camden, 7, each wore matching T-shirts that said: “Boys Wear Pink, Too.”

About Sebastian River Medical Center

Sebastian River Medical Center (SRMC), a Steward Family Hospital, is a nationally recognized facility located along Florida’s Treasure Coast, offering high-quality care close to home. SRMC is accredited by the Joint Commission, has a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence – as designated by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS), over 100 affiliated physicians, over 650 nursing and ancillary staff and over 100 volunteers. SRMC provides state-of-the-art technology, comprehensive emergency services, and award-winning surgical care. SRMC has expanded to meet the growing healthcare needs of our community with a new tower that opened in June 2020. It offers 48 private patient rooms, offers a total of six operating rooms with the latest in technology and sanitizing system to ensure safety, a new entrance from Bay Street into a large lobby with a coffee shop and gift shot. Services include medical/surgical inpatient, emergency care, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, urological surgery, gastrointestinal services, a cardiac catheterization program that includes implant devices, neurosurgery and spine surgery, as well as a full-service outpatient diagnostic center. Furthermore, SRMC’s emergency room is proud of its ability to screen patients upon arrival for respiratory-related illnesses and offer designated sections of the emergency treatment area for respiratory and non-respiratory patients.

Sebastian River Medical Center is located at 13695 US Highway 1, Sebastian, FL 32958. For more information, please call 772-589-3186 or visit SebastianRiverMedical.org.

About Steward Health Care

Steward Health Care is the largest private, for-profit health care network in the United States. The company is owned and led by a management team of Steward physicians.

Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Steward employs more than 37,000 health care professionals and operates 36 hospitals across the United States and in the country of Malta which regularly receive awards for quality and safety. The Steward network includes multiple urgent care centers and skilled nursing facilities, substantial behavioral health services, more than 7,000 beds under management, and approximately 2.2 million full risk covered lives through the company’s managed care and health insurance services. 

The Steward Health Care Network includes more than 5,000 physicians across 800 communities who help to provide more than 12 million patient encounters annually. Steward Medical Group, the company’s employed physician group, provides more than six million patient encounters per year. The Steward Hospital Group operates hospitals in Malta and nine states across the U.S., including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah. For more information, visit www.steward.org.

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About Tina Hodges
Tina Hodges is a Sebastian native. After graduating from Sebastian River High School, she studied Business Management & Marketing at Indian River State College. Tina worked for Dooney & Bourke for many years before she became our VP of Sales & Marketing & Journalist. Tina joined Sebastian Daily in 2016.