Today Compass Marie and Angela Long traveled to Hillsborough Community College in Ybor City to attend the 2013 National African American Breast Cancer Conference Tour. This ten-city conference tour is focused on disseminating education regarding triple negative and advanced breast cancer, two topics of concern to the African American population. We were so excited that Tampa was selected as one of the locations of this tour and off we went for a day of learning and fellowship.
The Sisters Network founded in 1994 by Karen Eubanks Jackson is the leading voice and only national African American breast cancer survivorship organization in the United States, and it has 40 affiliate survivor run chapters nationwide with a membership of over 3000.
Our hosts for this event were the Tampa affiliate chapter members headed by Mrs. Sonia Franklin, a welcoming and passionate advocate to increase local awareness and attention to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African American Community.
Our program began with a welcome from founder Karen Eubanks Jackson and then the reading of a proclamation authored by Bob Buckhorn, the mayor of the city of Tampa Florida, declaring today July 27, 2013 as “African American Breast Cancer Survivorship Awareness Day”.
Our first speaker, Dr. Sylvia D. Campbell from St Josephs Hospital, Tampa gave a wonderful presentation on breast cancer basics carrying us from screening and diagnosis to treatment modalities commonly used. Dr. Campbell then proceeded to give a thoughtful presentation on what is advanced breast cancer and how it is currently treated. There are so many promising therapies available and it is clear that the approach to treatment is highly individualized based on the characteristics of the particular type of breast cancer you have. Dr. Campbell did not minimize the psychosocial impact of a breast cancer diagnosis and encouraged the audience not to either. Dr. Campbell urged the group to seek out assistance through support groups, consider one on one counseling, and the use of antidepressants if needed.
The next featured guest speaker, Dr. Hyo Heather Han, MD from Moffitt Cancer Center, educated the audience on what does triple negative breast cancer mean and how it occurs in 15% of all breast cancers with a high incidence in the African American population. Other risk factors include premenopausal age, patients with BRCA1 mutations, early menarche, and high body mass index.
Dr. Han continued on to discuss the role of molecular subtypes of breast cancer and how they are useful in planning treatment and development of new therapies. She discussed the 4 major molecular subtypes:
The basal like tumors are often aggressive and have a poorer prognosis compared to the estrogen receptor positive subtypes (Luminal A and Luminal B tumors).
The discussion went into treatment protocols used and discussion of clinical trials available specifically for triple negative breast cancer patients. The information was presented in a clear easy to understand fashion with plenty of opportunity for questions and this crowd was certainly not shy with questions and sharing of their personal experiences!
Today’s conference was attended by affiliate members from the Tampa, Orlando, and Miami area. There were some other local advocates in the crowd but mostly breast cancer survivors and there friends, mothers, sisters all hungry for information and knowledge they could learn and bring back to their own community. After the speakers, and a hearty lunch, it was sharing time and what we all agreed upon and reinforced by dear Mrs. Sonia Franklin’s mother is “we are all in this together”. We all have something to contribute in this effort to bring awareness of the importance of breast health and breast cancer prevention.
Thank you Sisters Network for a great opportunity to learn more about you and your mission and your welcoming spirit to all women.
Wish I said it:
“We’re connected, as women. It’s like a spider web, if one part of that web vibrates, if there’s trouble, we all know it, but most of the time were just too scared, or selfish, or insecure to help. But if we don’t help each other, who will?”
Sarah Addison Allen, The Peach Keeper
Saturday September 28th: 3rd Annual- 3 mile walk/run. 8:00 a m to 12:00pm Location-Martin L King Recreation Center in West Tampa.
Saturday October 26th: Worship in song. 6:00pm - 9:00 pm Location- TBD
Sunday October 27th: Sisters Network National Day of Worship.
Saturday November 2: 1st Annual Pink Bikers for Breast Cancer Ride. A motorcycle ride from Tampa Bay Harley Davison in Brandon to McFarlane Park
For more information on the Sisters Network Tampa Bay please contact Sonia Franklin @ 813 491 3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org