Tuesday, June 21, 2016

2nd Annual Metastatic Breast Cancer Symposium

Metastatic breast cancer claimed the life of our namesake — Susan G. Komen — who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977 and died three years later. In Suzy’s time, people crossed the street to avoid her, unsure of what to say and even afraid they would “catch” her cancer. Breast cancer wasn’t discussed in public, even in the 1980s. There were few breast cancer centers, little in the way of treatment options, and a stigma and shame surrounding breast cancer that kept many women feeling isolated and alone with their disease.

Unfortunately, many living with metastatic breast cancer feel that same isolation today. They deal with family and friends who don’t quite know what to say and even those who suggest that maybe aren’t “fighting hard enough.” Along with that there are often significant psychological burdens, physical effects, and financial pressures. What’s more is the fear that the latest treatment will stop working.
Over 75 people were in attendance at the 2nd Annual
Metastatic Breast Cancer Symposium. 
We can and must do better for the tens of thousands of women and men living with metastatic breast cancer in the U.S., and for those who will be diagnosed with in the future.  Komen has set out to build new and lasting relationships with those patients who feel they have been forgotten.

Susan G. Komen has invested nearly 1 billion dollars in research to study and combat this disease. This is more money than any other breast cancer organization. The only entity that has invested more money than that is the federal government.  However, when it comes to metastatic breast cancer research, NO ONE invests more than we do…not even the federal government.  A lot of the advances in this disease are due in part to research that Susan G. Komen has funded.  And that vitally important research continues today, locally.

(From left to right): Kathy Miller, Adrian Lee and Shirley Mertz
at the 2nd Annual Metastatic Breast Cancer Symposium.
In order to better educate our community on metastatic breast cancer, we teamed up with GE Healthcare to host the 2nd Annual Metastatic Breast Cancer Symposium, offering basic science, clinical, and survivorship information related to metastatic breast cancer. The symposium featured Komen Scholars, Kathy Miller and Adrian Lee, and Komen advocate, Shirley Mertz, President of The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network. The triad shared their latest findings, tips, and stories.

Over 75 people were in attendance for the event. Some who are currently enduring the effects of metastatic breast cancer, as well as nurses and other healthcare professionals who actively care for these patients.  Attendees told us about the way the symposium benefited them. One said that it left her with, “…hope that research will continue to increase for MBC.” Another thanked Komen for making this event a reality and said the symposium was, “Clear and concise…the best I’ve heard. I learned a lot!”

Through education, research, and advocacy, we are able to empower others, ensure quality care for all, and work to find the cures. Our fight continues.

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