Breast Cancer Center: Our Physicians

Charles E. Cox, MD

Endowed Chair, Surgery, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

Dr. Charles Cox is on the medical staff at Tampa General Hospital and is a professor of surgery at the University of South Florida (USF) Health Morsani College of Medicine. He is committed to his patients’ total well-being, including their medical, emotional, and psychological health as they battle malignancies and other breast conditions. Dr. Cox holds several leadership roles in multiple surgical societies and associations. His numerous awards include the Award of Excellence in Teaching & Compassion from Duke University School of Medicine, he has been named as one of the Best Doctors in America, and he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2011. He is particularly interested in lymphatic mapping, sentinel node biopsy, and breast conserving therapies. His hundreds of books, journals, articles, abstracts and presentations focus on some of the most cutting-edge detection techniques and treatment options available for breast cancer patients.


Jason M. Hechtman, MD

FACS Assistant Professor, Dept. of Surgery, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

Dr. Jason Hechtman is on the medical staff at Tampa General Hospital and is an assistant professor of breast surgery at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. He specializes in the treatment of breast cancer and breast diseases, blending cutting edge treatment options with advanced surgical interventions to ensure patients not only receive the best medical care possible, but also feel beautiful and confident. With more than 16 years of experience, Dr. Hechtman is an expert in breast ultrasound, ultrasound-guided breast biopsy and localization procedures, breast brachytherapy catheter placement and treatment, breast oncoplastic interventions, hidden scar breast surgical interventions and other minimally invasive breast interventions that maximize aesthetic outcomes.


Abigail S. Beard, MD

Assistant Professor, Breast Surgery, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

Dr. Abigail Beard is on the medical staff at Tampa General Hospital and an assistant professor of breast surgery at the University of South Florida School of Medicine. Her areas of interest include benign and malignant disorders of the breast, high risk breast cancer screening, and breast conservation and oncoplastic surgery, about which Dr. Beard has given several presentations and published studies. She is the vice chair of the Committee on Cancer and has served on the Radiation Oncology Chair Search Committee, both at Tampa General Hospital. Dr. Beard’s awards and honors include clerkships in pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and psychiatry, and letters of commendation in surgery, internal medicine, and neurology. She was also named to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key Honor Society in the National Scholastic Honor Society.


Meira M. Pernicone, MD, FACS

FACS Assistant Professor, Surgery, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

Dr. Meira Pernicone is on the medical staff at Tampa General Hospital and is an assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Florida (USF) Morsani College of Medicine’s Breast Health Program. As a general surgery resident and chief resident in surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., she taught students in the Mayo Medical School and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, then, as a practicing surgeon, Dr. Pernicone taught and spoke at various conferences, workshops, and courses. Her international conference presentations, lectures, and publications have included a variety of breast related topics, including male breast cancer, image-guided intervention and biopsies, and breast ultrasound. Dr. Pernicone has particular interest in using acupuncture and Eastern Medicine as complements to her surgical oncology practice, which often help to further relieve patients’ suffering. She is certified in the NADA Protocol for Auriculotherapy, which uses ear acupuncture for treating addictions, PTSD, and other conditions. Dr. Pernicone also is certified in Battlefield Acupuncture for managing acute pain conditions.