Keynote Presentations

Living Your Best LifeSaturday, October 7, 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
Many people describe breast cancer as engulfing every aspect of life, and long for the time when they can get back to “normal.” But how? It can be stressful trying to restore life as it was “BC”—before cancer. Living your best life means releasing from the unrealistic expectation of “getting back to normal,” and building a way forward that is more accommodating to the changes cancer brings. Whether newly diagnosed or living with “mets,” this session offers practical life skills to help open a path to a thriving and sustainable lifestyle.

Jacci Thompson-Dodd, MA, MSSS, LASW, OSW-C
Founder of WeSpeakLoudly





Learning From Each Other: Sharing Stories, Sharing WisdomSaturday, October 7, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Hear from a panel of your peers diagnosed with breast cancer. Listen as panelists share their experiences and join the conversation by sharing your own insights in this interactive session. Panel topics for discussion may include: reactions to a breast cancer diagnosis, managing fear of recurrence, discovering new purpose or life direction, living well with metastatic breast cancer and practical tips for follow-up care.

Facilitator: Lorelei Bonet, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Clinical Oncology Social Worker
Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology

Panelists: Coming soon


Fact or Fiction: Cancer Nutrition MythsSunday, October 8, 9:15 – 10:00 a.m.
With so much information about what to eat and what not to eat, knowing what’s hype and what’s scientifically proven can be difficult! This session will break down some of the most talked about controversies in food and nutrition related to cancer and answer your questions about what and how to eat to live well every day.

Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN
Chief Wellness Officer, AVA Nutrition Coaching
Senior Nutritionist, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/ Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Co-Founder, Wellness Guides



Breakout Sessions: Part One
Saturday, October 7, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.    

A. Medical Update: Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Shridar Ganesan, MD, PhD
Chief of Molecular Oncology
Associate Director of Translational Science
Omar Boraie Chair of Genomic Science
Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology
Rutgers, Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

As someone diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, you may have specific concerns about treatment options, chemotherapy side effects and risk of recurrence. During this session, explore your unique needs as you cope with TNBC, gain insight into promising new research and learn how you can influence the future of care for people with triple-negative disease.

B. Metastatic Breast Cancer: Latest Medical Treatments Generosa Grana, MD FACP
Director, MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper
Professor of Medicine, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

This session is for people living with metastatic breast cancer – cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body (most often the bones, liver, lungs or brain).  Join this session to learn about the latest medical breakthroughs to treat stage IV breast cancer and hear about clinical trials that are showing promise for tomorrow’s treatments.

C. Breast Cancer 101: What I Need to Know Sonia Benn, MD
Medical Oncologist and Hematologist
West Cancer Center

If you have questions about your diagnosis, your treatment or the reasons your doctor is suggesting a specific treatment, this session is for you! To really understand your diagnosis and treatment options, it helps to have an understanding of the many factors that are taken into account, such as tumor type, lymph node status and stage. Dr. Benn will break down the basics, answer your questions and empower you with a new set of tools for understanding your diagnosis.

D. Managing Menopausal Symptoms  Marcia Kirby, WHNP-BC
Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation

Some breast cancer treatments can cause early menopause or menopausal symptoms, no matter your age. Whether young or old, join this session to learn what you can do to take control of common symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, mood changes, joint pain, low sex drive and more. Hear about the different types of menopause and effective ways to better your quality of life.

E. Strengthening Connections: Talking With Family and Friends About the Impacts of Breast Cancer Jacci Thompson-Dodd, MA, MSSS, LASW, OSW-C
Founder of WeSpeakLoudly

Women are often the primary emotional support for their families and network of friends. When diagnosed with breast cancer these support relationships are often reversed, and managing these changes can be difficult. Over time, the unmet needs of both those with cancer and their supporters can damage or weaken their relationships. This workshop is for those diagnosed with cancer and their supporters to learn effective communication skills to help strengthen relationships.  

Breakout Part Two: 
Saturday, October 7, 2:15 – 3:30 p.m.    

F. Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Discussion Group Stacy Lewis, LMSW, ACHP-SW
Women's Cancer Program Coordinator

A triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis changes you, your relationships and sometimes even your life’s direction. This lively group discussion will provide you a forum to talk about the challenges of living with a history of TNBC, including managing fear of recurrence, coping with treatment side effects and juggling life’s demands during and after treatment.  Sit back and listen or join the conversation by sharing your own insights in this interactive session, while also learning about the many TNBC-specific resources available to you

G. Metastatic Breast Cancer: Living With UncertaintyLorelei Bonet, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Clinical Oncology Social Worker
Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology

This session is for people living with metastatic breast cancer – cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body (most often the bones, liver, lungs or brain). Understanding your care and balancing ongoing treatment with daily life can be challenging. Explore approaches to living everyday fully while living with metastatic breast cancer. Gain helpful strategies to manage stress and maintain a sense of normalcy during times of transition and learn ways to communicate needs and boundaries to others.

H. Self-Advocacy for the Health Of It! Rene Bowditch
Board President and Co-Founder
Here for the Girls, Inc.

Mary Beth Gibson
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Here for the Girls, Inc.

Who is the person who cares most about you and your health? You, right? Yes, you! Caring for your health goes beyond self-advocacy in just the medical community; it extends to all aspects of your life. Join us for this lively, interactive workshop to equip you with the information, resources and tools you need to advocate for your overall well-being. Let us help you tap into your inner superhero (we all have one!) to unleash your own unique power to care for yourself. 

I. Faith and SpiritualityJeremy R. Sanders, MPA
Cancer Program Specialist
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Religion and spirituality often help people with cancer find meaning in their illness and provide comfort in the face of fear and uncertainty. Connection to a caring network of support is another benefit of belonging to or turning to a faith- based community. These communities may also provide assistance with the practical challenges that come with a breast cancer diagnosis: help around the house, with meals, with rides to medical appointments, and other types of hands-on care. Come to this workshop and learn how a diagnosis of breast cancer may both test and fortify spiritual beliefs and explore ways to make meaning and find purpose through spiritual connection and enrichment.

J. Navigating Surgical Decisions, Body Image and Self-AcceptanceRebecca Pine 
Author and Workshop Facilitator
The Breast and the Sea

As someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer, you may be struggling with breast reconstruction decisions. Understanding the different types of reconstruction, what is involved and then deciding whether to reconstruct or go flat can be dizzying.  We will discuss and view surgical options, as well as provide tools for helping you make decisions about what’s right for your body.  Additional tools will be offered to aid in the process of self-acceptance and inner healing for anyone who has had a breast cancer diagnosis. 

K. Accessing Breast Cancer ResourcesShonta Chambers
Executive Vice President of HealthK Equity Initiatives and Programs
Patient Advocate Foundation

Getting the breast cancer care you need when you are uninsured or underinsured is a big challenge. This workshop will provide an overview of the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) and other organizations, services and resources available to support persons with breast cancer. Join in an interactive demonstration of PAF’s uninsured and underinsured resource directory and hear about effective case management strategies that links individuals to services. This workshop was made possible by the generous support of Genentech. 

L. Caregiving: Support for Your StrengthAllison Schaffer, LCSW
Assistant in Medicine and Psychiatry
Manager, Patient and Family-Centered Care
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Supporting a loved one through a breast cancer diagnosis can be new territory. Explore ways to show your care and concern and be of help. Gain insights into caring for yourself while caring for another by learning strategies to help you manage your time, energy and resources.