By Dawn Oswald
Dawn Oswald joined SBC at the LBBC Thriving Together: 2023 Conference on Metastatic Breast Cancer through SBC’s Educational Grant Program. Read below for Dawn’s takeaways from this incredible event!
I attended the 2023 conference in person for the first time. I attended via Zoom last year. The reason I chose to attend in person is because I believe it is more personal and I learn more in person. LBBC and SBC offered grants to help me attend the conference. I am greatly thankful for the support.
On Saturday, I attended “Ask the Expert: Diet, Physical Activity, and Sleep” with Rachel Beller, MS, RDN, and Pallav Mehta, MD, where we learned about the importance of fiber and ideas of how to incorporate it, plant-based foods, and oncology-specific exercises (see more in Liz Mover’s LBBC’s takeaways).
I also went to the session “Recently Approved Therapies and Promising Approaches for the Future” by Nancy U. Lin, MD. In this presentation, Dr. Lin shared information about gene mutations and applicable therapies, MBC-specific treatment options for improved survival rates, treatment resistance, and different therapies based on hormone receptor status. Some of the many drugs discussed in Dr. Lin’s presentation included:
Piqray, Afinitor, and capivasertib for the P13K mutation
Trodelvy for triple-negative breast cancer
Neratinib, tucatinib, and Margenza for HER2-positive breast cancer
Antibody-drug conjugates: Trodelvy and Enhertu
Targeted therapies: Kisqali, Verzenio, Lynparza, Talzenna, and Piqray
Endocrine therapy for estrogen-positive breast cancer
Everolimus, elacestrant, alpelisib, and fulvestrant as second-line therapies for estrogen-positive breast cancer
Chemotherapies: Xeloda, Taxotere, Gemzar, Ixempra, Halaven, and Abraxane
Chemotherapies for HER2-positive breast cancer: Herceptin, Perjeta, Tykerb, Afinitor, and Ibrance
I participated in a movement class, “Reclaiming the Body’s Healing Power Through Movement & Dance” with Nancy Herard-Marshall, MS, LCAT, BC-DMT. In this activity we were asked to consider some introspective questions about our own cancer experiences, our connections with the community, and understanding the power of our own story. We did some exercises and then we just danced any way we wanted. We were trying to throw the cancer out of our bodies, if only we could. I had a great time dancing. Exercise is very important. I try to walk at least a couple times a week with my puppy and do my lymphedema exercises. Check out Project Life MBC for upcoming events.
I attended an evening play called “IV: Our Lives,” and it was very good. The play was about men and women learning that they have metastatic breast cancer. It was based on interviews with 100 men and women asking them how they felt when they were told they had metastatic breast cancer. The play was in their own words. Let’s just say it had a lot of adult language. The hope is that recording this and getting it out there for others to hear will help get the awareness out there about MBC. Their mission is to educate family, friends, oncology teams, colleagues and those newly diagnosed with MBC. It was a little emotional and lasted for 1.5 hours. Thank God they gave us tissues.
On Sunday I went to a panel called “Shared Voices: Learning from Each Other,” with four speakers with MBC: Thomasina Butler, Sheila Godreau, Cheryl Law, and Deb Ontiveros. One of the panelists, Thomasina Butler, has been living with MBC since 2005. If that doesn’t give us hope, then I don’t know what will. I am not losing my hope or my faith. The panelists answered MBC-related questions for an hour. We all have our own experiences with MBC. It is always good to share.
The conference ended with “Living Well with Metastatic Breast Cancer,” presented by Stephanie Broadnax Broussard, LCSW, ACHP-SW and Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, FASCO. The presenters discussed sexual intercourse and ways to approach sex as someone who has experienced breast cancer and treatment. It might be something as simple as vaginal dryness. They recommended oils. My suggestion is, if you're having problems in that area, to see a sex therapist or at least tell your doctor.
In conclusion, I highly recommend attending the LBBC MBC conference next year. This year’s conference was full of information, and it gives me hope that there are people out there to help us. If you want to attend next year, you can visit the LBBC website and subscribe to receive information as it becomes available.
Thank you, Dawn, for attending the LBBC conference with SBC and sharing your takeaways with the SBC community!
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