Hi again! Today is officially Day 2 of the Conference, but it’s the first full day. We started with a plenary about breast cancer and the media featuring Dr. Nancy Snyderman, from NBC’s Today Show and Gary Schwitzer, publisher of www.healthnewsreview.org. With so much scientific information about breast cancer in the media, sometimes even I have a hard time distinguishing between the facts and the hype. I love that www.healthnewsreview.org has a team of doctors and scientists who review and grade daily news articles on 10 specific criteria. If you’re looking for unbiased, scientifically sound information about medical topics, check it out.
My favorite workshop of the day was on Breast Cancer Treatment: New and Emerging Therapies. It was during this session when it occurred to me that one strong theme running through the conference is that less is more. As our knowledge of breast cancer biology increases we are better able to target specific receptors, proteins, hormones, etc., and theoretically leave healthy cells alone. Over the years treatments have become less toxic and less invasive, yet equally or more effective. The same concept applies to mammography. Increases in screening have found more small tumors which is good if the cancer is aggressive, but we are learning that some small tumors will never progress or cause any harm. Unfortunately we haven’t yet found a reliable method for predicting which is which, but being the winner of the anti-cancer trifecta (chemo, surgery, radiation), I can tell you that you don’t want to go through it if you don’t have to.
If you want to test your knowledge about breast cancer, check out http://takeaction.stopbreastcancer.org/site/PageNavigator/31MythsAndTruths
Greetings from Washington DC and the NBCC Advocacy Training Conference!
Today was the first day of the conference. It began with a Lobby Day briefing. When I go to Capitol Hill on Tuesday I will be advocating for the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s 2010 legislative priorities: 1) Guaranteed Access to Quality Health Care for ALL and 2) Continued funding ($150 million to be exact) for the Department of Defense’s Breast Cancer Research Program in fiscal year 2011.
The first plenary session featured Dr. Susan Love, Dr. Barnett Kramer from NIH, Dr. Oiopade from the University of Chicago, and Maria Wetzel of the Michigan Breast Cancer Coalition, moderated by Gardiner Harris from the New York Times. Did you know that Dr. Love’s Army of Women has over 330,000 members to date and 80% of them are NOT breast cancer survivors? The Army of Women is facilitating studies for researchers looking into quality of life issues for survivors and the cause of breast cancer. Check out www.armyofwomen.org to see if you are eligible for any studies that will help us prevent breast cancer.
I’m meeting hundreds of other breast cancer advocates from around the country who are here for the best advocacy training. We’re all getting geared up to bring our message (and all that we’ve learned) to Capitol Hill on Tuesday at NBCC’s Lobby Day.
As I attend more plenary sessions and workshops, I’ll share more information with you!
In the meantime, if you’re looking for evidence based info on breast cancer, check out: www.knowbreastcancer.org
Tomorrow I’ll be on my way to NBCC’s Advocacy Training Conference to learn more about being a better breast cancer advocate.
I’m looking forward to hearing the latest breast cancer research from leading scientists and then sharing that with you. I can also report back on breast cancer and the media, health care reform, and effective advocacy strategies.
I want to send you relevant info you can use in your community. What do you most want to know about? Let me know if there are particular questions you’d like to see addressed by the speakers.
The full program is available on the Conference website at TakeAction.StopBreastCancer.org/Conference.
P.S. If you haven’t had a chance to officially sign up for my E-Advocacy network you can do so here: http://takeaction.stopbreastcancer.org/goto/drsueannmark Please sign-up by Tuesday, May 25, to be counted among those I represent on Lobby Day.
Stand with me at the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Advocacy Training Conference.
I am going to send updates from the Conference, May 22-25. I’m excited about the opportunity to meet fellow advocates, learn the latest science and research and get tips on how to build a strong advocacy network.
I promise to give you the inside scoop from the sessions I attend. One of the best reasons to join is that you’ll be counted among the people I represent when we go to Congress on the final day of the conference - Lobby Day - to let our representatives know how important ending breast cancer is to me.
Network supporters will also be eligible to receive exclusive conference-related content only for participants in “Stand with Me. Peel Back the Pink,” including updates on the latest science & research in breast cancer from leaders like Dr. Susan Love; learning how to improve your breast cancer advocacy efforts by understanding how Congress works and using the web and new media to achieve your goals; and reviewing presentations about topics like “Pregnancy & Breast Cancer”, “Complementary & Alternative Medicine” and “What Does Health Care Reform Mean for You?”
If I recruit the most members in my conference network, I’ll win a full scholarship to next year’s conference!
May I count on your support? The deadline for joining my network is May 25, 2010. Use this link to sign up: http://takeaction.stopbreastcancer.org/goto/drsueannmark
Thank you & don’t forget to share!
You gotta love Kathy Griffin. Well, maybe you don’t have to love her, but you do have to give her props for promoting cervical cancer screenings with a public Pap smear. By going public with such a private, intimate medical exam, one that most women dread, she’s proving that Pap’s don’t have to be so scary. To the contrary, regular Pap screenings are an important part of health care for anyone with a cervix and with one swipe you can rest assured that you are cancer free or begin taking action against stupid cancer. It’s the same old mantra, early detection saves lives.
The campaign is reminiscent of Annie Sprinkle’s “Public Cervix Announcement” where interested audience members where given the unique opportunity to see an actual cervix, the portal to the uterus whence we all came, in a living, breathing human being. Now that’s the kind of bold humanity I can get behind.
Tasteful pics of Kathy’s big event can be found on The Huffington Post.
When was your last Pap Smear?
One final question before I share your collective pearls of wisdom on talking to your doctor about sex with the American Medical Student Association members gathered at the Disneyland Resort. I’ll let you know how the panel goes, but rest assured you have just made a tremendous impact on the future of sexual medicine and made the world a safer place for patients to discuss sexual health with doctors.
Today’s question: If you could give your doctor one piece of advice on discussing sexual health concerns, what would it be?
If you can’t be honest with me, I can’t help you. I tell all my clients that at the beginning of the very first session. I strive to create a non-judgmental environment where people will feel comfortable sharing extremely private information. Likewise, it is your doctor’s responsibility to make sure that you are treated with respect and to take your sexual health concerns seriously. The doctor-patient relationship is a two-way street though. You are responsible for being honest about your sexuality so that your doctor can do his/her job and make important decisions about your health care.
The students gathered at the annual conference of the American Medical Student Association want to know what they need to do to make you feel safe and as comfortable as possible talking about your sexual concerns and what mistakes they need to avoid that might jeopardize your willingness to give them all the information they need to help you. I’ll tell them, if you tell me.
Today’s question: Have you ever withheld information about your sexual behavior from your doctor? What kept you from being completely honest?
Medical education relies heavily on the concept of preceptorships where each student shadows a physician observing the day-to-day practice of various medical specialties. Experienced doctors can serve as models of professional, compassionate care, but they can also pass on bad habits.
When I speak to the “baby” docs at the American Medical Student Association’s 60th Annual Convention, I want to be able to them give examples of what works and what doesn’t work, when it comes to addressing sexual health, from a patient’s perspective. Your voice has been the missing puzzle piece in training the next generation of doctors, until now.
Today’s question: Have you had any positive interactions with a doctor around sexuality? If so, what made it a good experience? Describe a negative experience and how it could have been improved.
What do all the Viagra and Cialis ads tell you to do? Talk to your doctor. Sexuality is increasingly viewed through the lens of medicine. Unhappy with an aspect of your sexual anatomy or performance? There’s a pill, injection, or surgery for that. But what if you don’t feel comfortable talking to your doctor about your sexual health concerns?
This Friday, 3/12, I will be traveling to the Disneyland Hotel to speak to the future of medicine at the annual conference of the American Medical Student Association. I’ll be joined on the panel entitled, “Everything Doctors Want to Know About Sex, But Never Asked,” by cultural sexologist, Carol Queen, certified sexuality educator, Megan Andelloux, and Kat Wentworth director of Project Prepare.
I want to give you the opportunity to “speak” to these students and tell them what they need to know about providing sexual health care. Today through Thursday I will pose a different question about sexual health and the role of your doctor in ensuring you have a happy, healthy sex life. Tell me what you think and I’ll pass it on to the budding doctors who desperately want to learn how to make the doctor’s office a more sex positive environment.
Today’s question: Do you think the doctor’s office is an appropriate place to seek help for sexual health concerns?
There it stood. For about a week. A tree in the panhandle of Golden Gate Park adorned with neon, orange penises. Those are strange leaves, oh wait, those aren’t leaves, it’s a dildo tree! The ultimate “woody.” I’m glad I took this shot when I did because the very next day there was no trace of it. I have no idea who put it up or what their inspiration was in the first place, nor do I know who took it down and why.
Each “ornament” appeared to be hand stitched, complete with balls. There were thick ones, thin ones, short ones, and long ones. Some of them even had a natural curvature. Together they represented the wonderful variety of normal, healthy, human anatomy. Fluttering in the breeze, in plain sight, they could be perceived as a symbol of power in a patriarchal society, a sexual provocation, or a whimsical, rogue art installation among many other explanations.
I’ll never know the whole story, but what if it was a magical dildo tree that granted sexual wishes? What would you wish for?