Nearly 200 healthcare professionals from West Virginia and the surrounding region learned cutting edge information about breast cancer treatment during the Inaugural Breast Cancer Conference: “Treatment Advances for Early and Metastatic Disease,” hosted by WVU’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center on July 10 at the Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown.

The continuing education event for healthcare professionals involved in women’s health featured topics on personalized treatment of advanced breast cancer, multidisciplinary patient care, radiation techniques and long term effects, surgical management of advanced breast cancer and quality of life issues including survivorship, reconstruction and recovery for both early stage and advanced breast cancer. 

Keynote speaker Jame Abraham, M.D., director of the Breast Oncology Program at the Taussig Cancer Institute and co-director of the Multi-Disciplinary Breast Cancer Program at Cleveland Clinic, spoke about advances in breast cancer treatment and supportive therapies. Fellow keynote speaker Sage Bolte, Ph.D., director and oncology counselor at Life with Cancer, a nonprofit support and education program of Inova Health System in Fairfax, Virginia, spoke about sexual health issues.

“I appreciate the opportunity to gather with other healthcare professionals and be educated on the latest advancements in breast cancer treatment,” Jim Carrier, M.D., chair of surgery at Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, said. “In our patient treatment today, we are looking more and more at the genetic aspects of breast cancer and focusing more on individualized care.”

Alvin Moss, M.D., section chief of supportive care services at the WVU School of Medicine, spoke about the importance of patient-centered care and encouraged participants to build a rapport with their patients; get to know them, he said.

The breast cancer conference was a collaborative effort of members of the Comprehensive Breast Care Program and Cancer Prevention and Control at WVU’s Cancer Center.

“We have a strong, multidisciplinary breast care program that’s accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC),” Geraldine Jacobson, M.D., chair of the WVU Department of Radiation Oncology, said. “Providing professional education on breast cancer management is a way of sharing our expertise and aligns with our mission to improve the health care of West Virginians.”

Cancer Prevention and Control obtained a grant from Pfizer that provided funding for the conference. The grant is being used for a project titled "Improving Care for Patients with Metastatic Breast Cancer" through a provider education initiative.

“We are working to reach healthcare professionals outside our network with information that will improve care for all West Virginia women; what started out as a focus on metastatic disease has turned into a commitment to improving care across the continuum, starting with prevention and screening and moving through to state-of-the-art care for those with late stage disease,” Stephenie Kennedy, Ed.D., director of Cancer Prevention and Control, said.