Guest Post from a volunteer at SABCS Clare Cory
Inspiration, collaboration and application flourished at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium where the movers and shakers of the breast cancer community, including oncologists and researchers, gathered to exchange ideas, discuss the latest research and debate the most effective treatments. We advocates have an important role in the conference as we represent the direct experiences of breast cancer survivors. SABCS is unique in its inclusion of patient advocates in lectures and scientific sessions, and we learned the latest information on risk factors, promising clinical interventions and post-treatment complications such as lymphedema. At an advocate luncheon, a young and vibrant group of scientists and oncologists (all women!) who work for the FDA responded to questions about clinical trials and the processes involved in approving new drugs for treatment.
The IBC Network maintained a strong presence featuring a booth that provided critical treatment information to attendees from all over the world. Conference participants who visited the booth learned about the free CME and the app that educates both medical providers and patients about the standard of care for IBC. The booth provided an excellent opportunity to dialogue with oncologists and surgeons from all corners of the planet. These conversations save lives by guaranteeing that clinicians who treat IBC have knowledge of the most effective treatment strategies.
Although the major presentations did not focus on IBC, several posters were presented in separate sessions that were specific to IBC. Dr. Emily Villodre, a postdoctoral fellow at the MD Anderson Department of Breast Oncology, received the basic science scholar award for her research exploring the underlying mechanisms of growth and metastasis of IBC. Dr. Angela Alexander, MD Anderson Clinical Studies Coordinator, presented a poster outlining a Phase II study of treatments for metastatic IBC. Research offers hope to all women diagnosed with IBC and we survivor-advocates are grateful for the efforts of all who dedicate their lives to finding and developing ways to treat this aggressive form of breast cancer.
Ian Smith, MD, of the Royal Marsden and Institute of Cancer Research in London, received the McGuire Memorial Lecture Award and in his acceptance speech reflected on the phenomenal changes in breast cancer treatment over the past few decades. His research changed the direction of treatment for many as he pioneered neoadjuvant endocrine therapy and tested aromatase inhibitors, including Letrozole, which I take every day. As a devoted oncologist and researcher, his work has transformed the treatment regimens of countless breast cancer survivors such as myself. It was an honor and a privilege to hear from Dr. Smith and a multitude of his colleagues who are committed to creating more successful assessments and treatments for all who have experienced breast cancer. Attending SABCS afforded an extraordinary opportunity to learn from the giants in the field and to be energized by the resilience and courage of survivors and advocates. I look forward to another exceptional conference in 2019!
Clare at posters sessions with an another patient advocate Martha VanDam discussing research with Dr. Naoto Ueno.