This past weekend LBBC hosted the 4th Annual Conference for Women Living with Advanced Breast Cancer: Enhancing Your Health and Quality of Life. TV personality Donna Deegan, New York Times best-selling author Bruce Feiler, and prominent medical oncologist Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH engaged the attendees when delivering the keynote speeches.
This national, two-day conference focused on support and practical resources for women living with metastatic breast cancer. Breast cancer is considered metastatic when it travels from the breast to a distant part of the body, such as the bones, liver, lungs or brain. An estimated 150,000 to 250,000 U.S. women are living with metastatic breast cancer.
The conference featured a variety of workshops on relevant topics including confronting tough decisions, managing symptoms and side effects, communicating with children, triple-negative breast cancer, healing through writing, managing insomnia and fatigue, and planning ahead with wills and powers of attorney among others. Attendees were also able to pose treatment, research and quality-of-life concerns to an ask-the-expert panel, composed of some of the nation’s top healthcare providers.
Donna Deegan, evening anchor for “First Coast News” in Jacksonville, Fla., shared her inspiring journey of thriving while managing breast cancer. After her initial breast cancer diagnosis, she established The Donna Foundation, which helps women who are in treatment and have financial difficulties. She also created 26.2 with Donna: The National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer. Deegan, who was diagnosed with breast cancer several times, has published two books about her journey with the disease, The Good Fight and Through Rose Colored Glasses.
Best-selling author Bruce Feiler talked about how he coped with his 2008 diagnosis of bone cancer and how his experience inspired his just-released book, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness and the Men Who Could Be Me, in which he explores how he prepared for the possibility his children could grow up without him.
Dr. Judy Garber, director of the cancer risk and prevention program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, discussed treatments for metastatic disease and explained how groundbreaking research could impact health, treatments in the pipeline and open clinical trials.
LBBC was able to provide travel grants and fee waivers to attendees with financial needs. More than 200 participants came from 30 different states and several provinces in Canada. Besides obtaining critical medical information, attendees were also able to find support resources by visiting the exhibit tables, receive complimentary Reiki and upper body massage services, and network and connect with hundreds of women going through the same emotional journey.
Did you attend the conference? What was your experience like? Share your story!
To learn more about the Annual Conference for Women Living with Advanced Breast Cancer, visit lbbc.org. To view more pictures from the conference, please check out our Flickr account by clicking here.