Back June 2, 2016

Finding Support with Other Survivors

Living with a diagnosis of ER+ breast cancer is challenging and takes a significant toll on one’s body and mind. Although stories can be relatable, everyone’s overall experience with cancer is different. That’s why it’s important to gain knowledge and “be wiser” during one’s breast cancer journey. There are resources available to better guide personal treatment options.

That’s why, on May 17, patients, survivors and caregivers came to a learning workshop, co-sponsored by Cedars-Sinai and YSC, at Hotel Palomar in Los Angeles, California. By sharing stories, insights, and facts, patients and survivors were able to leave the event feeling more empowered and better-equipped to guide their cancer journey. To reinforce this message, figure skating icon, breast cancer survivor and BeWisER+ About Breast Cancer spokesperson, Dorothy Hamill, made a special appearance at the event.

Dorothy
Dorothy Hamill makes a special appearance at Hotel Palomar in Los Angeles on May 17.

 

Dr. Philomena McAndrew also spoke at the event, teaching attendees how to manage treatment side effects, risk of recurrence, and how to make personal treatment choices. Dr. Maryliza El-Masry also discussed the importance of nutrition, de-stressing and overall mental health to a cancer patient or survivor.

Dr.-EM

 

Dr. McAndrew and Dr. El-Masry teach guests how to make personal treatment choices.Dr. McAndrew and Dr. El-Masry teach guests how to make personal treatment choices.

 

There were also four patients who hosted a “patient panel” to discuss their anti-estrogen therapy stories and personal cancer journeys. Across the board, the panel discussed the important role advocacy groups played in their road to recovery, saying how it is important that all cancer patients and survivors have support every step of the way.

After learning from doctors, patients, and survivors, attendees felt supported and enlightened about their cancer treatment paths. Everyone walked away knowing that  there are not only strong support systems to help them, but there are options available that may help personalize one’s journey.

The Breast Cancer Index (BCI) is so important because it provides information about the risk of cancer returning after year 5 and the likelihood that a patient will benefit from staying on anti-estrogen treatment after 5 years.  Incorporation of BCI has been shown to result in doctors changing their treatment recommendations related to extended endocrine therapy in 26% of patients.[i] It’s imperative to have continuing conversations with your healthcare team to determine if you should extend or end endocrine therapy at year 5 or beyond.

We thank all of those who attended the workshop and will keep you posted on upcoming events. Remember to sign-up for our newsletter and to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive updates!

Dorothy Hamill meets guests and listens to their stories.
Dorothy Hamill meets guests and listens to their stories.

 

Panelists discuss the importance of support groups.
Panelists discuss the importance of support groups.

 

Guests encourage one another on their journey to survivorship.
Guests encourage one another on their journey to survivorship.

 

[i]: Sanft T et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015 Dec;154(3):533-41.[i]