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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What You Don’t Know…CAN …Hurt YOU!

Nationally Recognized Breast Cancer Doctor and Genetic Counselor Will Speak at Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Symposium

By Sid Riley

You will not want to miss this years “Breast Cancer Awareness Symposium”, especially if you are a woman. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this is the Sixth Annual Breast Cancer Symposium, which is sponsored by Jackson Hospital, Jackson County Health Department, Dr. Steve Stokes, Luana Granger-Ramsey, WTVY-TV, and Oglebsy’s Plants International. Organizers feel very fortunate to have obtained commitments from this year’s program of speakers.

Dr. Kirby Bland, MD:

Dr. Kirby Bland is a nationally recognized leader in breast cancer research. From his initial training at the University of Florida he has progressed steadily through the academic and research fields of Surgical Oncology, holding staff leadership and Professorship positions at the University of Louisville, University of Florida, Brown University, and currently is the Senior Advisor to the Director at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Cancer Center. His list of accomplishments, research grants and programs, and positions in professional associations is too lengthy to read. He is unquestionably one of the leading surgeons in the world.

He has also served on the President’s Cancer Panel, and has been a Consultant to the National Academy of Sciences. He is currently an active Editorial Board member of twelve scientific peer-reviewed journals. He also is currently on the Board of Scientific Advisors and the Advisory Committee for the National Cancer Institute. Obviously, he is a very busy man with his time in great demand. We are very fortunate to have him participate in our educational efforts here in Marianna.

Dr. Bland has focused in a broad perspective on surgical oncology, including bench research and clinical trials which have focused on breast cancer. He is working on the cusp of research efforts relating to this dreaded disease. In his field, his presence in our Breast Cancer Symposium is the equivalent to having Tim Tebow speaking at our school’s football banquet.

Symposium organizer Lanet James states, “Dr. Bland rewrote the book on Breast Cancer. To have him participate in our symposium is a great honor and a meaningful experience for us all.”

Emily Burke, MS CGC

Also on the agenda is Emily Burke, a Certified Genetic Counselor with Genomic Health, Inc. This is an emerging science developed by this Redwood City, California headquartered company. They are doing pioneering work in Genomic Health using molecular diagnosis.

Emily received her Master of Science degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of Texas Health Science Center, and MD Anderson Cancer Center. She was also a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

By utilizing a test called the Oncotype DX Breast Cancer Assay they examine 21 genes in a tumor sample. From this they can predict the benefits which would be derived from a regimen of Chemotherapy, as well as the probability of reoccurrence. Emily will describe these procedures and potential benefits to interested attendees of the symposium. Some Jackson County women have already benefited from this new test, and were not required to undergo chemotherapy.

This exceptional symposium offers the women of our area a rare opportunity to hear people actually leading the fight against breast cancer discuss progress which is being made on the front line of the battle.

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