December 3, 2012
All was quiet on the Riverwalk in San Antontio this morning.
Since Saturday 31 breast cancer advocates, thanks to the generosity of the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF), have been arriving from across the United States, Austrailia, New Zealand and the Netherlands for the 35th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (#SABCS), the premier international conference for scientists and clinicians to discuss advances in the shared mission of ending breast cancer. I am fortunate to have be part of this group and will report — up close and personal — on the findings, studies, and hot topics every day. Only at an event like this can you talk about everything in breast cancer, from molecular profiling, to evolving trends in hormonal therapies and germline polymorphisms. It is the ultimate for science nerds, and as we all know, understanding the science is at the heart of effective advocacy.
For 15 years ABCS has provided 528 breast cancer advocates this oustanding opportunity to learn. “What we hope is that advocates will not only relay the findings to their own organizations, to other women with breast cancer, and to their oncologists as well. Not all oncologists can attend,” said Sandi Standford, ABCF president. “We even have one advocate who has a standing appointment with her oncologist every year after the symposium to discuss the latest findings.” Advocates are also encouraged to contact their closest NCI-affiliated cancer institution. As part of NCI designation member organizations – by charter – must have patient adovcate representation on key committees.
That small bit of information is huge in reality.
There is nothing more powerful than a well-educated advocate, informed not only by her own experience but with a solid understand of breast cancer treatment, where it has come from and where it’s going. That’s why 31 of us are here for five fully-packed days. There are educational sessions, panel disucssions and presentations all day long. Then beginning Wednesday evening ABCF provides “Hop Topic Mentor Sessions” where physicians and researchers provide an overview of each day’s findings.
ABCF is an organization that gets behind educating women in a big way. I’m grateful. As I walked the streets of San Antonio this morning I couldn’t help but notice the inscription on the public library here. Considering the mission of Alamo and #SABCS, it seemed to say why we’re all here this week.
I’m ready. Bring it!
— Jody Schoger