First off, this event is HUGE! Like SUPER-HUGE!! There were 10,874 people from over 102 countries in attendance this year.

What started in 1977 as a one-day conference has evolved into a 5-day symposium attended by academic and private researchers, physicians, and patient advocates.

The mission of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is to provide expert knowledge to clinicians and survivors. This is done through General sessions, educational sessions and poster presentation sessions. Session topics ranged from new drug approvals, early-stage breast cancer and sessions about metastatic breast cancer, as well as covering the use of immunotherapy during treatment and gaps in quality of care.

Then there was the exhibitor hall with over 80 exhibitors. There were drug company reps where I learned more about some of the meds I have or am currently taking.

There were booths with patient advocates like Surviving Breast Cancer organization, Tiger Lily Foundation and the one nearest and dearest to my heart, The IBC Network Foundation.

One of the biggest things, in my opinion, to come out of this year’s event, was that Inflammatory Breast Cancer was presented on the main stage for the first time ever in the 46-year history of SABCS.

You guys – this is a huge leap for IBC! It was featured on the main stage as a people’s choice event. The attendance was amazing and again, in my opinion, the presentation was riveting.

Dr. Lynce was the moderator and there were three MDs on the panel as well as three patient advocates.

Each of the MD’s addressed a different medical aspect of Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
1) Is IBC a genomically different type of breast cancer?
2) Surgical controversies in IBC.
3) Approaches to Radiation therapy.

The three patient advocates addressed patient needs.
1) What is the role of the IBC patient advocate?
2) What do you consider the most important unmet needs in IBC?
3) Based on experience, how can healthcare providers do better?

Listening to my own doctor, Dr Anthony Lucci, speak about the surgical controversies was remarkably interesting to me. He mentioned that MD Anderson sees approximately 125 IBC patients a year. He went on to say how IBC is a clinical diagnosis and as many as 40% of IBC patients are not receiving the current recommended treatment of trimodal care, chemo, surgery, and lastly radiation.

With proper trimodal treatment, a stage 3B patient can expect up to a 5-year overall survival rate of 70%, This is much more heartening than statistics provided by “Dr Google”.

And this is where the IBC Network Foundation plays a significant role. The foundation funds clinical research and education for inflammatory breast cancer. With continued research and trials, new drug treatment plans are evolving and extending those percentage rates, which is very encouraging to an IBC patient such as myself.

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