A medical oncologist is recognized for her contributions in organizing the first international conference dedicated solely to metastatic breast cancer in an effort to give patients a platform to share their stories.
Dr. Fatima Cardoso has dedicated her life to patients with breast cancer. Since her first years as a medical oncologist, she understood that patients with metastatic breast cancer needed someone to fight for their voice to be heard among the usual quotes like “race for the cure” or “let’s kill cancer” so common and natural among patients with early breast cancer.
Patients with metastatic breast cancer were, in many countries, put aside and considered not worthy of attention because at the end of the day, they would die. Fatima was impressed by the different realities of patients with metastatic breast cancer around the world in her many travels, especially in low-income countries where even the most basic measures like morphine for pain were inaccessible. She was devastated to see women and men with metastatic breast cancer dying alone, suffering in silence. She started to imagine in how she could help in a meaningful way all those who needed someone to fight for her voice.
Using her scientific knowledge and her heart, Fatima, through the European School of Oncology, organized the first international breast cancer conference dedicated to metastatic breast cancer, the Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC) Conference.
It was a success, and from 2011 to 2021, the ABC Conference, now in its sixth edition, is the most well-known scientific event dedicated to advanced breast cancer around the world. The ABC guidelines are used by thousands of doctors and patients everywhere. The ABC Conference brings together the most well-known specialists in the world side by side with patients with metastatic breast cancer. It is unique in its conception and wonderful in its execution.
But Fatima felt that ABC was not enough. In 2016, the ABC Global Alliance was established. The alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ABC. It brings together several organizations that seek to improve not only survival but also quality of life for patients with breast cancer. It has been an incredible journey that I had the privilege of seeing happen every day for the last 10 years.
Seeing the progress of the ABC Global Alliance and how Fatima continues to dedicate part of her life to the cause, always available to those who come for her, day or night, from Africa or Asia, makes us understand how the fight for the voice of these patients to be heard was worthy.
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