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San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Dec 2009

January 1, 2010
by Vicki Tashman

I went to my first San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December, 2009. What a fantastic experience it was. I renewed friendships with some other breast cancer advocates as well as met a lot of new and passionate people, dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer.

I arrived the night before the conference began and met fellow advocate and San Antonio roommate, Brenda Bryant at the hotel. We walked towards the River Walk to meet some other advocates for dinner and passed by the The River Walkfamous Alamo on the way. Boy, was I surprised at how small the historic fortress was! At the time it was built, it was one of the largest structures in the then tiny Texan town. But, today, it's dwarfed by its surroundings. What would Davey Crockett think about that?!
I was sponsored to attend the conference by the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF), who organized an incredible 5 days at the conference. Wednesday morning, we were treated to an introductory Welcome meeting (also hosted by the National Breast Cancer Coalition), informing all scholars about the goings on in San Antonio. Every night, we were invited to attend an advocate reception sponsored by various Pharmaceutical companies and almost every morning we started our day with breakfast and yet another advocate reception. At the end of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the ABCF hosted a "Mentor Session," which included a panel of four doctors who summarized the days exciting presentations, followed by a question and answer period for the advocates. Their video camera was running the entire time and they will be putting a CD together which includes all the Mentor Sessions as well as the "Hot Topic" articles written by all the scholarship recipients. If you're interested in pre-ordering a CD, click here. I was part of a group of 34 scholars with a wide variety of Hot Topics. It should be a great CD!
I love my fellow Advocates!Although, my favorite part of the SABCS no doubt was reconnecting with my fellow breast cancer advocates, I did learn A LOT about breast cancer and what medical advances are coming down the pipeline. My Hot Topic was a presentation given by Doctors Peter Ravdin and Eric Winer called, "Controversies in Adjuvant Chemotherapy," and included talks entitled, "Should All Patients receive Chemotherapy," and "What are the Best Chemotherapy Regimens Available." I've posted this article separately, under our "News" section if you'd like to read it. In our monthly newsletter, I'll be posting a couple of the other advocate's Hot Topic, so by the next SABCS, you'll have access to them all!
One last thing. I bought a Flip video camera and am having so much fun with it! I bought it to take to various conferences so I can interview survivors and Pink-Linkers and post the videos on our website. Well, at SABCS, I asked some of the advocates why they became an advocates. Click here to watch the video.

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