Breast Cancer Update coming to Dover

DOVER — For one in eight women in the United States, breast cancer is a battle they will have to face at some point in their lifetime, but the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition is here to assist in the battle for Delaware residents.

Part of the Coalition’s service to the community includes and annual Breast Cancer Update — a one-day event full of experts educating attendees on the present and future treatment of breast cancer. This year is the 22nd Annual Update and is just around the corner, coming up on April 10.

This year’s theme is “Becoming Cancer Fierce.”

“We have a new theme every year and this year we wanted to express it’s time to move past living in fear of cancer, it’s time to rise above and become fearless,” said Nanci Mayer-Mihalski, co-chair of the event.

Mainly in attendance of the event will be breast cancer patients and survivors.

“All perspectives to the disease are essential and through the update, a sense of community and unity can provide emotional and psychological strength to all those whose life has been touched by breast cancer in some way or another,” said Dr. Rishi Sawhney, who has been treating breast cancer in Delaware for 13 years.

The first topic of discussion at the update is always a recap of what has happened in the past year relating to both diagnostics and treatment. This year’s recap will feature the Trail Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment (TAILORx) — the largest randomized breast cancer trial ever, designed to determine which breast cancers will benefit from chemotherapy and which will not. More than 10,000 patients in six countries participated.

“It’s a very exciting topic and one of the biggest studies in recent years so everyone is very interested to learn all about it,” said Ms. Mayer-Mihalski. “Many patients and survivors attend and those effected by breast cancer are always so well educated about the disease that it makes high level talks very important at these kind of events.”

Also in attendance of the update are health care professionals, nurses, doctors, and researchers, bringing what started as a 100-person event up to nearly 350 attendees annually.

“I’ve attended six updates and the field of breast cancer diagnosis and management is rapidly evolving, thanks to exciting ongoing clinical research with cutting edge technology,” Dr. Sawhney said. “Informed patients and community members will be empowered to advocate for their care, and educate those around them.”

The second topic of the update is triple negative breast cancer which affects about 10-15 percent of patients. Typical cases of breast cancer have receptors for estrogen, progesterone or HER2 but triple negative doesn’t have any of those receptors, making it very difficult to treat. Most patients with triple negative only have chemotherapy as a treatment option.

Internationally renowned breast cancer surgeon and researcher Dr. Lisa Newman of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center will be giving a talk on triple negative breast cancer at the event.

Each presentation is followed with a question and discussion segment.

“As a past presenter, I can tell you, the enthusiasm and energy in the hall is incredible. The attendees are extremely engaged, and the questions/discussion following the lectures are dynamic and interactive,” Dr. Sawhney said.

The update concludes with a panel about facing cancer on a more day to day basis and panelists will discuss complementary therapies like acupuncture, yoga, massage and medical marijuana.

“Medical marijuana can be a controversial subject sometimes, but that’s one of the reasons we’re talking about it,” Ms. Mayer-Mihalski said. “We don’t like anything regarding breast cancer to be off limits because we all come here with open minds and want to learn more and the best way is through discussion.”

The 22nd Annual Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s Breast Cancer Update is April 10 from 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. The event is free to attend but pre-registration is required. Register today at debreastcancer.org/events.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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