Conference Brings Researchers, Army to Philadelphia to Address Breast Cancer in Young Women

February 13, 2003

Conference Brings Researchers, Army to Philadelphia to Address Breast Cancer in Young Women

PHILADELPHIA, PA - (February 13, 2003)

The U.S. Army Nurse Corps and the nation's top breast cancer researchers and doctors will bring news, information and hope to hundreds of young survivors at the 3rd Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer.

This unique conference, a collaborative effort of the nonprofit groups Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Young Survival Coalition, will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, February 22, in Philadelphia at the Hyatt Regency at Penn's Landing. It will feature a morning plenary session, 14 educational workshops on a variety of topics and a networking reception.
For the second year Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Young Survival Coalition present this conference addressing the unique needs of young women affected by breast cancer. More than 600 women and their families, partners and health care providers are expected to attend. Last year conference attendees came from 28 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

The conference seeks to provide young women with the information they need to better communicate with their health care providers, loved ones and those responsible for funding breast cancer research. More than ever, young women need that information to effectively navigate complex treatment decisions and the long-term emotional effects of a breast cancer diagnosis early in life.

The American Cancer Society estimates 11,000 women under age 40 will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and nearly 1,300 will die. The lives of nearly 250,000 U.S. women under age 40 have been touched at some point by breast cancer. These women face a host of issues unique to their age group, including more-aggressive cancers, higher mortality rates and the possibility and consequences of treatment-induced early menopause.

Historically, breast cancer research and clinical trials focused on post-menopausal women. Today, researchers and the federal government want to narrow the gap in understanding breast cancer incidence and treatment in younger women. At the morning plenary session, "Breaking News: An Update on New Research and Treatment Options for Young Women with Breast Cancer," two leaders in breast cancer research and care will lay out the battle plan for the future of breast cancer treatment for this group.

Plenary speaker Kathy D. Miller, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, will speak about ongoing and new clinical trials, innovative medical treatments and other subjects relevant to young women with breast cancer. In addition to conducting clinical trials, Dr. Miller teaches and treats patients at Indiana University's National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. Dr. Miller has a special interest in new chemotherapy treatments, including anti-angiogenic therapies, which reduce blood supply to tumors to prevent their growth.

The other plenary speaker, Melissa A. Forsythe, PhD, RN, is a colonel in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and deputy director of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs in the U.S. Department of Defense's Breast Cancer Research Program (DODBCRP). Since its creation in 1992, the DODBCRP has provided $1.37 billion for cancer research, with more than 90 percent going toward research on breast cancer. Dr. Forsythe will speak on the government's commitment to breast cancer research and ways young women can influence the funding and review processes.

The plenary session includes a question-and-answer period moderated by Marisa C. Weiss, MD, founder of Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Dr. Weiss, a radiation oncologist specializing in breast cancer, practices at Lankenau Hospital/Jefferson Health System and is founder and president of

The conference features three sessions of educational workshops on the medical, emotional and quality-of-life issues unique to young women. This year two workshops focus on the special issues of young women with advanced, or metastatic, breast cancer. In the morning, Dr. Miller will discuss promising medical breakthroughs that inspire hope. Later, Rosalind Kleban, MSW, administrative supervisor for psychosocial programs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will explore the psychological and emotional issues affecting younger women with advanced disease.

More and more young women supplement traditional medical treatments with complementary therapies. Two workshops address that trend. LauraLynn Jansen, MHEd, health education and outreach coordinator for the Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer, will discuss "Outer Strength, Inner Peace: Using Yoga and Meditation for Mind, Body and Spirit." Later, Cara O. Frank, RAc, DiplAC, ChHerb, president of the Philadelphia-based China Herb Company, will talk about Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

Notable speakers include Maurice Nahabedian, MD, associate professor of plastic surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who will discuss breast reconstruction. Dr. Nahabedian is one of the few U.S. surgeons performing DIEP flap reconstruction surgery. Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG, assistant professor obstetrics and gynecology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, returns this year to discuss his specialty, fertility and pregnancy in women with breast cancer. D. Lawrence Wickerham, MD, associate chairman of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, will update women on clinical trials.

Other workshops cover hormonal treatments, genetic testing, advocacy, anxiety and depression, intimacy and sexuality, coping with early onset menopause and navigating your "new normal" after treatment.

The presenting sponsor for the conference is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Contributing sponsors are Aventis and its web site, AstraZeneca,, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKlineOncology, Myriad Genetic Laboratories and Roche Pharmaceuticals. Media sponsors are Philadelphia radio station B101 and MAMM magazine.

Registration costs $45 and can be waived for financial hardship. To register, call Living Beyond Breast Cancer at (610) 645-4567 or go to More information is available at LBBC's website or at the website of the Young Survival Coalition, Walk-in registrations are accepted.

Additional Contact: 
Alexa Blasdel

Living Beyond Breast Cancer, based outside Philadelphia, was founded in 1991 with the mission of empowering all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life. Since 1996 LBBC has offered an education program specifically for young women, the Young Survivors Network. LBBC's other programs include large-scale conferences; teleconferences; a quarterly newsletter; the toll-free Survivors' Helpline (888) 753-5222; a web site,; Project Connect, a community outreach program; and workshops for health care providers.

The Young Survival Coalition, based in New York, is the only international network of breast cancer survivors and supporters dedicated to the critical concerns and issues unique to young women and breast cancer. Through action, advocacy and awareness, the YSC seeks to educate and influence the medical, research, breast cancer and legislative communities to address breast cancer in women 40 and under, and to serve as a point of contact for young women living with breast cancer.