Since having been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I was aware of a conference held annually at the Fontainebleau Hotel addressing advancements in the treatment of breast cancer. This year on March 9th, CURE® held the first patient portion of the 36th Annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference and I was gratefully in attendance.
The day began with laughter yoga which I can honestly say I had never tried before and I most certainly laughed! They day quickly flowed into registration and breakfast, all provided by conference sponsors and CURE®. The informative portion of the conference covered three main sessions: side effects, genetics and updates on CDK4/6 Inhibitors.
Following each session, time was given to allow survivors such as myself to ask questions of the panel presenters. Breakfast and lunch were provided in an area which further supported networking among survivors. Informational booths and representatives were present representing local and national resources. I particularly enjoyed learning more about resources for metastatic breast cancer and for me, this is invaluable in better understanding what some of the resources my peers may have.
There was an underlying theme of hope and survivorship. I found an incredible resource sponsored by Eli Lilly called “The Thriver Pose.” One of the topics at the conference touched on supportive complementary treatments and there is much to be said about acupuncture and yoga. The yoga which is often the most helpful gets you up and moving to improve upon flexibility, supports bone density and assists in breathing in a manner comfortable for the participant. The Thriver Pose is an excellent example of a pose which promotes physical and mental wellness.
Many of us in attendance also learned more about the ways peers successfully cope with side effects like night sweats. We also discussed the importance of a comprehensive survivorship plan—which many (myself included) did not have as part of the healing process. Other great topics discussed the importance of clinical trials, managing finances and tips for peripheral neuropathy prevention. I also learned more about updates in genetic testing and the importance of having a qualified genetic counselor who can review the results in detail.
I personally loved meeting peers and my sense of survivorship was renewed by the news and energy going on in the research and treatment for breast cancer. I enjoyed ideas such as advocating for more universal acceptance of survivorship plans and how we, as survivors, need to be guided for mind and body healing. Overall, I say thank you to new survivors I met, supportive sponsors, inspired researchers and medical providers, as well as the staff of CURE®.
I thank CURE® for offering such a conference and was pleased to hear there are plans to bring the one-day conference back next year. I highly encourage individuals to attend such conferences whenever possible. I shared ideas and topics I would like to see covered, such as offering a live feed of part of the conference for those who were unable to attend due to financial or physical limitations. I also believe it is important to hear what others feel they need represented. With the hope that this conference will be held again next year, I encourage peers and fellow survivors to think about topics you would like to potentially see at the conference next year and to share those ideas in the comment section of this article.