San Antonio, Here We Come!

Barbara Brenner, Former Executive Director

December 9, 2009

Here I am in San Antonio for another San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, and the timing couldn’t be more interesting. The weather here is unusually chilly, the newly recommended mammography screening guidelines are creating quite a buzz, and I’ve just returned from 3 weeks in India, where breast cancer is, in some ways, among the least of the challenges facing the country. The controversy stimulated by the guidelines was, however, covered in the Indian papers.

Both the cold and the context mean this may be an unusual meeting. There may be fewer people here and there may be more people talking openly about their disagreements about the screening recommendations. What I hope is that we can have a rational discussion about how we got into the mammography screening mess, and how we can get out of it, but I’m not holding my breath.

The meeting itself is changing. When SABCS joined forces last year with AACR (American Association for Cancer Research), many people were concerned that there would be more basic science and less clinical information presented. I’m not sure that shift has happened yet, looking at the program outline for this year’s meeting, but I was surprised to learn that the only way to get the big program book is to pay $50 for it, either through your registration payment on independently. Patient advocates are exempt from this requirement, but it was surprising to me nonetheless. It used to be that the program book was in the SABCS satchel that is handed to you when you register. Not any more.

The meeting starts in earnest tomorrow. I will be writing my observations daily, and they will be posted here. Enjoy!