Focus on Your Health: Broadening breast cancer awareness: Fighting for a cure is a commitment to the whole community

Anita Fritz

Anita Fritz




For the Recorder

Published: 10-20-2023 1:32 PM

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Baystate Franklin Medical Center is here to help increase your awareness and provide the best care possible for you and your loved ones. Early detection, a timely diagnosis, and a management plan are all ways we help throughout your journey.

Dr. Jesse Casaubon, DO, a breast specialist in the Baystate Health Department of Surgical Oncology, says his work as a surgeon is rewarding on many levels and is an “all-encompassing commitment to the community and patients.”

Dr. Casaubon, who completed his training in breast surgical oncology before arriving at Baystate Franklin in 2020, is a member of the Department of Surgical Oncology at Baystate Health, working at several locations.

“I was inspired by my physician grandfather, who worked so hard for his community,” he says. “I heard many stories about him, and I remember wanting to impact the community the way he could. Breast surgical oncology is an incredible field where the surgeon, in combination with the multidisciplinary team, is able to offer patients excellent outcomes and survival. It is a field where the physician can form lasting relationships with patients. It is a field that is driven by research, with many unanswered questions that offer the opportunity for further research.”

An assistant professor at University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School – Baystate, Dr. Casaubon is very active in the area of research.

“It’s nice when patients recognize the amount of work that goes into their care,” he says. “To execute even the most simple surgery takes the coordination of about 100 people. It’s important for people to know that treating cancer is tricky and often there are speed bumps or changes in the plan, but that’s alright because it’s something we’re in together, and we deal with these changes together.”

New innovations at Baystate Health/Baystate Franklin over the past few years include a dedication to the aesthetics after the cancer is removed, and a radioactive seed program, which is the modern way to target breast lesions that providers aren’t able to feel for removal.

The radioactive seed localization (RSL) is an intraoperative localization technique used in breast cancer conservative surgery. The technique uses a radioactive seed placed in the center of the target up to 60 days prior to removal surgery. After taking mammography or ultrasound images of a breast to confirm the location of abnormal tissue, the area of the affected breast is numbed with a local anesthetic and a needle containing the radioactive seed is inserted into the breast so that the surgeon can find the abnormal tissue more easily. The patient may feel some pressure during the procedure, but it is typically not painful. The seed cannot be felt once implanted.

Dr. Casaubon says he loves working at Baystate Franklin because “everyone is so close” and it is such a “tight community,” which is what any of us who have lived here, especially our entire lives, know about Franklin County and its hospital.

“I think patients appreciate that many of our team members, such as our nurses, grew up in the area and are part of the same community,” he says. “Though I didn’t grow up around here, it is really rewarding treating people who I know and work with who live here.”

Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer

Another way Baystate Health helps increase our community’s awareness of breast cancer and its effects is through the Baystate Health Foundation’s Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer. This year, it celebrates its 30th anniversary. The event will be held in person once again at Temple Beth El on Dickinson Street in Springfield on Sunday, Oct. 22. There will also be an opportunity to join virtually, by walking or running anywhere and any day of your choice if you do not feel comfortable joining large crowds.

Each year, Rays of Hope raises funds to help find the cure. Hundreds of Pioneer Valley families are affected with a cancer diagnosis, and they need your support. Since its inception in 1994, Rays of Hope has been helping individuals in the fight against breast cancer by walking alongside them on their cancer journey.

Through the Baystate Health Breast Network, Rays of Hope cares for the whole person, from diagnosis and beyond. Funds raised — more than $16.6 million to date — go toward research, state-of-the-art equipment, breast health programs, and outreach and education throughout Baystate Health, including at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. The funding supports our patients and survivors and provides grants for complementary therapies and cancer programs to our communities throughout western Massachusetts. All the funds stay in our communities.

To learn more about Rays of Hope, call 413-794-8001 or visit You can also email at:

Anita Fritz is a lifelong resident of Franklin County. She was a reporter for the Greenfield Recorder for 20 years. She is currently the senior specialist for public affairs and community relations for Baystate Franklin Medical Center.