St. Joseph’s launches premier breast care conference

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Both care providers and patients are invited to learn the latest developments in all aspects of breast care

Best in Breast Care ConferenceEmpowering both doctors and patients is the driving force behind the first annual Best in Breast Care Conference – a new educational event for Southwestern Ontario focusing on the latest developments in all aspects of breast care.

Presented on Oct. 15 by the St. Joseph’s Breast Care Program, the full-day conference will feature leading experts in breast health, breast screening, diagnosis, treatment, reconstructive surgery, research, support, and survivorship. More than 400 attendees from across the region, including family physicians, nurses, surgeons, radiologists, other health care providers and general public, are expected to take part.

“With significant changes in the last five years in the treatment of breast cancer, we felt it was important to bring together experts to share the latest information,” says conference co-chair Patricia Baruth, nurse practitioner with the renowned Breast Care Program. “In particular, we recognized a need to provide educational opportunities for our primary care physician partners who are responsible for follow-up care of patients after breast surgery and cancer treatment. At the same time, breast care patients need the latest facts and knowledge to take control of their health. 

The goal is to enhance care in the community and ensure all patients receive the same opportunity for excellence in care.

“We hope this annual conference will help family physicians, nurses and other health care professionals become more comfortable looking after breast cancer survivors,” says Dr. Tracy Sexton, radiation oncologist at London Health Sciences Centre’s London Regional Cancer Program and a member of the conference planning committee. “We want to provide them with tools to know how to care for these women and men, and when to refer back.”

For patients, adds Dr. Sexton, the conference will help dispel myths and misconceptions and arm survivors with the facts and knowledge they need for self-care. 

 People often trust Dr. Google more than their own physicians and specialists, so hearing from the specialists and meeting people in the health care field may help build that trust.”

Dr. May Lynn Quan

The keynote speaker is Dr. May Lynn Quan (pictured) from the University of Calgary, a surgical oncologist focused on improving outcomes for young women with breast cancer. The full agenda and registration is now available online.

The conference is being supported by ONERUN. For the past four years, the charity has donated funds to St. Joseph’s Breast Care Program through the 100 km run by ONERUN founder Theresa Carriere. Following the overwhelming success of the run, ONERUN is now focusing on education and youth. 

 “ONERUN's goal has always been about bringing awareness to everyONE in the breast cancer journey - from patients, to families, to doctors and specialists, says Carrier. “Supporting the conference is a natural connection to all and we are so pleased to play a role in making this happen.”

 Lore Wainwright, ONERUN program manager, says the conference is part of the legacy hoped for when ONERUN began.

 “We knew that Theresa couldn't run 100 kms year after year and focus needed to change to shared learning and youth.”

Patients are encouraged to take part in the conference “so that they too can learn, alongside their care takers, and share with each other to watch hope rise,” says Wainwright. “We believe doctors and nurses will be inspired by the patients' presence at the conference and be a reminder of the "why". We believe that knowledge is power and that is what will be the ultimate demise of this disease.”

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