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Feature Stories

Breast Cancer Summit: Science And Emotion

Diagnosis, treatment and

personal stories are highlights

The Third Annual Breast Cancer Summit created the opportunity for health professionals, industry leaders, elected officials, activists and others affected by breast cancer to come together to learn and connect. Held recently at Coral House in Baldwin, nearly 500 people attended the Summit, which offered the latest information in breast cancer research and treatment, with inspirational speeches by two women who have had breast cancer.

“The Summit has become one of the largest gatherings of advocacy groups in New York State,” said Roger Simpson, M.D., president of Long Island Plastic Surgical Group and founder of the Long Island Breast Cancer Summit. “It is important for an event such as this to be held locally, given that Long Island has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the nation.”

Rates of breast cancer on Long Island are an average annual incidence of 116.9 per 100,000 women (compared to the statewide average of 104.1 per 100,000 women). There are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States.

Nina D’Ambreo, M.D., of Winthrop Oncology Hematology Associates, gave a presentation on breast cancer risk factors and how to modify them. Kayron Williams, a genetics educator at Myriad Genetic Laboratories, spoke about identifying and managing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome. A panel of plastic surgeons discussed innovations in breast reconstruction.

County Executive Ed Mangano singled out Anton Community Newspapers Publisher Angela Susan Anton for the newspapers’ strong support of breast cancer organizations.

Like many attendees, Joan Beder, a social work professor at Yeshiva University who is also a breast cancer survivor, found the medical information very helpful. Beder said she was interested to learn that the BRCA gene mutation test is now the standard of care.

Personal encounters with breast cancer were presented by actress/activist Cynthia Nixon and Jean Rettura, a volunteer with the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program. Nixon, who received a lifetime achievement award, spoke movingly of her mother’s struggle with breast cancer and her own. Rettura, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31, celebrated that she has been cancer-free for 27 years.