|Photo of Anna Rachnel & me at NBBC by Nancy Uvmer, NH.|
Pre-conference posts like this one, from Eric Rosenthal writing for OncologyTimes, point out that this won't be a "BIG THREE" conference -- cancers of lung, breast, and colon -- but " 'the year of small tumors' with the Sunday afternoon Plenary Session featuring studies on melanoma, GIST tumors, and childhood cancers." There are also significant developments in ovarian cancer, something that has been a long time in coming, according to Sally Church, a scientist and consultant.
But before you get discouraged -- keep in mind that there are more than 1300 abstracts in breast cancer alone spanning six different categories, from prevention to triple negative cytology. There will be more than enough for me to feed on for the rest of the summer. Key? All the background work I can accomplish while I'm there so when (not if) a breast cancer breakthrough drops I'll be ready to catch it.
While I'm preparing for this conference the blogosphere's been on hyperspeed. Last week my new column "Anchored Activism" was published in OncologyTimes. A number of people weighed in on the topic of NBCC's baseline report Deadline2020. My interest then and now is following research in the understanding and prevention of metastatic disease, the Bermuda triangle of breast cancer.
In the meantime, in cancer culture Komen once again did something none of us could even make up. "Sometimes, I swear," Kathi Kolb said on her blog, "these posts write themselves." She was talking about the unbelievable new product for the cure, "Promise Me" perfume. The line between fundraising, "brandraising" and mass consumer slop have just coagulated into something so divorced from cancer it isn't even funny. The ultimate irony, as Lani Horn pointed out, is that the smell of perfume makes the majority of survivors sick. I'm one of them. After treatment walking into any closed space - an elevator, conference room, even a hotel lobby - where women waft in perfume is enough to kick off a migraine.
If we weren't talking about cancer some of this might be weirdly amusing. But we are. And according according to the Chronicles of Philanthropy, Komen is one of the most highly regarded charities in the United States. Thanks to the voices of Gayle Sulik, Anna Rachnel, and Katie Ford Hall, among others, there's a serious spotlight shining on all Komen activities. In the coming months I'll be adding in my thoughts.
Two more things. Last week Brenda Coffee's post, "Hang On to Your Husbands" spurred a lot of thought about cancer and relationships. Cancer leaves everyone vulnerable and exposed. A plague on anyone who preys on couples - or singles - during a stressful time.
Then today, in her beautiful way, Marie created a forum for women to discuss their lives, before and after in "My Other Life." The threads of my life have remained steady even though many of the details continue to evolve and change. What runs through mine is passion, reading, writing and commentary. I love to laugh but I'm rarely frivolous. I've found, through my friends in the cancer community in general and the breast cancer community in particular, a place where all my interests fuse and I can best make a difference. This has taken the greater part of 50 years. Thank God I've finally landed.
Later, friends. I'll tweet you from Chicago.