28/07/2013

Last Saturday, it was my pleasure to be a speaker at a breakfast on metastatic cancer hosted by PLWC. The essence of my talk was that whilst metastatic breast cancer is incurable, it is not untreatable. It is important to remember that Diabetes is also incurable but is very treatable. In 2001, I had the pleasure of attending the ABC conference in Lisbon. It was a meeting aimed at drawing up guidelines dealing with the management of metastatic breast cancer. Many points came out of the meeting. One important point was from Musa Meyer who stressed the need for research into the area and emphasised that success of treatment should not be judged purely by survival but in quality of life survival.
Afer I spoke, we heard from 2 women who are living with their disease. Both had extraordinary stories to tell. Raychan Cassiem inspired all of us as she told us about her success in the Two Oceans marathon. Janet Grobler talked about the need to reinvent oneself as the disease affected her in different ways.
 In true Cape Town style, we had an excellent breakfast and then heard from Dr Rika Pienaar (oncologist) who talked about the importance of treating a breast cancer survivor holistically and with wisdom. Ms Frieda Loubser finished off the morning with a talk about the genetics of breast cancer. 
Over the last 20 years, survival after the diagnosis of stage 4 disease has increased so more and more women are living with their disease.

There is no doubt that further workshops addressing the needs of this particular group of breast cancer survivors will be necessary and I am certainly looking forward to the next one. Well done to Linda Greef for organising such an excellent morning.

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