Highlights from SABCS 2009

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Every year, CURE invites one advocate who is attending the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium to serve as a guest blogger. This year readers have been hearing from Bev Parker, PhD, a 24-year breast cancer survivor who is attending the symposium for the seventh year.As I write this, I'm sitting in the final session of the symposium. These few days have been packed with information and activities. I gained new knowledge (e.g., taking oral bisphosphonates might reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence), some of which could be useful personally (vitamin D might alleviate joint and muscle pain from aromatase inhibitor treatment).I spent these days in a mix of physical and mental activity: rushing to and from the hotel, going to events and meetings, and sitting for long periods in the sessions. On the plane back to Chicago and in the coming days and weeks, I'll have time to reflect on all that happened in San Antonio. Below--in no particular order--are some of the special memories I'll take with me:

>Meeting other advocates and reconnecting with old friends

>Posters to read at leisure and copies to take home

>Hot Topics mentor sessions put on by the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation

>Getting away to relax and enjoy the Alamo gardens

>Shopping at the mall I had to cut through to get from the hotel to the convention center

>Talking with oncologists (and getting free second opinions!)

>Receptions and presentations just for advocates (put on by Novartis, Genomic Health, and Genentech)

>Meeting with others about the upcoming I-SPY 2 adaptive trial

>Lots of free food and drink (way too much for the weak willed!)

>Attending sessions of special interest and those given by researchers I particularly respectAlthough "risk reduction" is the watchword rather than "cure" or "prevention," we all hope that one day prevention will be possible and, barring that, a cure. Hope abounds here, also synergy and energy. With the commitment, passion, and intellectual potential evident at this symposium, hope is well-justified. I look forward to next December and learning all the good things that will happen between now and then.That's all from San Antonio!To read more articles from CURE's coverage of SABCS 2009, visit