Thursday, March 23, 2006

Breast Cancer Conference

Yesterday, Venita went to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition's annual conference. The morning was a panel discussion about the psychosocial aspects of breast cancer. The whatza?? Managing certain non-health aspects of the illness—anxiety/depression medications, mental health counseling, and on-line support groups.

The on-line support group discussion was weak; the speaker has been analyzing the content of unnamed breast cancer discussion boards—-looking at, for example, the percentage of posts looking for technical data v. the percentage looking for support and the differences between content from men v. content from women. One focus of this speaker’s research is to compare/contrast the electronic medium to a face-to-face support group. She seems concerned that the electronic discussions are not moderated. No recognition of the benefits of the 24/7 availability of others who have gone/are going through the process. Made Venita think about the FDMB and how some veterinary professionals are intimidated by that site.

Later in the morning, Jim joined Venita for a talk by Dr. Susan Love, formerly a practicing breast surgeon, now an academic/advocate. Dr. Love is the recognized expert in breast cancer. She has two Internet sites: this one for her “commercial activities” and this one for her research foundation.

The topic of Dr. Love’s talk was the shifting paradigm of breast cancer treatment. It is absolutely amazing the strides that are being made in treating the disease, mostly in identifying that there are various types that require customized treatments. Getting away from the cookie cutter approach. Dr. Love is a captivating, down-to-earth speaker. If you ever get a chance to see her, do.

Dr. Love has a book—The Breast Book, newly updated. Several people had recommended that Venita read it. She bought a copy yesterday. Venita recommends that if you ever have another friend diagnosed or scared with breast cancer, don’t recommend the book. Get your butt down to the bookstore that very day and give it to your friend. A well-spent $22.

Off topic info from Dr. Love’s talk. This summer, the FDA is expected to approve a vaccine against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer. That is an extremely common sexually transmitted virus. This is an incredible breakthrough against that disease, and we recommend that as info becomes more available that folks consider being (and having their children) vaccinated (males as well as females).

1 comment:

julie said...

just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you and glad you are feeling better...I am glad you were able to get out and will even be driving be careful my friend!