NOTES FROM NCBC’s 21st ANNUAL BREAST CANCER CONFERENCE

4women.com, Cancer Blogs — By on June 2, 2011 at 11:08 am

susanncbc.jpgWith over 70 informational sessions to choose from, over 80 expert speakers, and over 800 breast health professionals from the U.S., Canada, and Europe in attendance, 4Women.com was honored to be part of the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC) 21st Annual Breast Center Conference.  We were especially pleased to be part of a larger contingent of women representing Sarasota, FL at the conference – Marie Borsellino, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) Breast Patient Navigator, Cristi Radford, Certified Genetic Counselor at SMH, and Breast Investigators, Angela Long and Sherry Cushing.  Ironically, the conference took place in the very smokey Planet Hollywood hotel of Las Vegas, where we all certainly inhaled a hefty amount of second hand smoke!

Cigarette smoke-induced red eyes and hoarse voices aside, this was a fabulous opportunity for 4Women.com to reach breast care navigators and breast health professionals at all administrative levels with our message.  Rest assured, these folks desperately want to provide their patients with more options, more emotional support, and a more personalized form of patient care.  As an Exhibitor, 4Women.com was there to exchange ideas and explain what we do and why do it to the conference attendees as they circulated during their breaks.  This conference is an important venue and destination for breast health professionals seeking additional accreditations.  In addition to attending informational sessions and hearing expert speakers, many of the attendees were taking their accreditation exams.  They seemed relieved to happen upon our booth where we could discuss the human and emotional side of patient care while they unwound from their exams.

Among the long list of expert speakers was a conversation about the newest recommendations that women postpone annual mammograms until age 50 between Ned Calonge, Chairman of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) and Dr. Jay R. Parikh, past President of the NCBC.  Dr. Calonge reportedly acknowledged that the USPSTF’s recommendations (which 4Women blogged about here) were not communicated as effectively as they could have been.  He also reportedly stated that the task force was not aware that the health care reform bill was going to be passed and how as a result, their recommendations would impact coverage decisions by Medicare and private insurers.

ncbc-michellesusan.jpgWhat was so evident at this conference was that the women that provide our breast health services sincerely want to do more for their patients.  We met breast care navigators from just about every state in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Ireland, Guam and Puerto Rico, and from Canada.  We were so pleased to find that they not only were aware of the emotional side of cancer treatment and associated appearance changes, they seemed incredibly hungry for more informational resources and support materials.  We were there to fill just that niche by sharing and distributing our ‘Anticipatory Coping’ trifold brochure, which gives a synopsis of our up-coming article in the June 2011 issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

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We established many new connections at the NCBC conference that will better enable us to influence the breast cancer care that women receive, injecting our messages of patient empowerment with anticipatory coping resources and emotional support for women facing chemo-induced hair loss and other drastic appearance changes.

Susan Beausang, 4Women.com

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