It’s been a year since Jeanne Corman of Arden completed radiation therapy for breast cancer. But she is still intent on learning more about the disease and appreciates opportunities to connect with other survivors. She did both at Every Woman Matters: A Breast Health & Wellness Conference sponsored by Christiana Care’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute and partner organizations. The all-day event on Oct. 4 featured educational presentations on breast cancer, as well as breakout sessions where attendees could learn more about their special interests.
“I just marked my one-year anniversary, and I am always trying to learn more,” Corman said. “It feels so supportive to be with women who know how I feel.”
There were 124 attendees and 17 exhibitors registered for the event at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center. But the event has the power to impact many more people, said Nora Katurakes, MSN, RN, OCN, Christiana Care’s manager of Community Health Outreach & Education.
“Every single one of you has a voice to tell another person what you have learned today,” Katurakes said. She emphasized that these types of events benefit the community by providing reliable information and education, as well as an opportunity to ask questions. The event focused not only on survivors, but on all women who are interested in breast health.
Jacqueline Napoletano, M.D., director of breast imaging at the Graham Cancer Center, spoke about breast screening and the latest technology in imaging. Lana de Souza-Lawrence, M.D., a radiation oncologist at the Graham Cancer Center, talked about radiation therapy, which targets and destroys cancer cells that may remain after surgery.
There are 14 million cancer survivors in the United States; 25 percent are breast cancer survivors, many of whom are on an emotional “up and down rollercoaster” after treatment.
She advised survivors on managing fatigue, exercising and accepting offers from people who want to support women who are undergoing treatment.
“If someone asks if they can help, keep a list ready,” she said.
The event included lectures and question-and-answer sessions on nutrition, genetic links to breast and ovarian cancers, and spiritual wellness. Breakout sessions focused on metastatic breast cancer and clinical trials, young survivors and improving self image.
“This type of information is invaluable,” says Pamela Lucas, a survivor from Newark. “This event has been a true learning experience.”
Event sponsors included Susan G. Komen for the Cure; the American Cancer Society; the Avon Foundation for Women; Sisters on a Mission; and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho sororities.
The Breast Center was open for mammogram appointments during the event. Also available were screenings for blood pressure and bone density, and educational displays on ovarian cancer and other health topics.