Breast cancer survivors learn about resources

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COLUMBIA — Breast cancer survivors had the chance to learn about resources available to them at an annual luncheon held Saturday.

The luncheon is hosted by the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing. 

Several speakers presented at the luncheon, including Daniel Kingsley an oncologist specialist, Sherri Homan an epidemiologist and genetics counselor Stacey Miller.

The presenters informed the breast cancer survivors about a variety of topics such as genetics testing, breast cancer treatments and more. Guilherme Desouza is an associate professor at the MU College of Engineering and he talked about a mobile app for lymphedema monitoring and testing.

Christina Penn is one of the event organizers and an oncology social worker at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. She said this event is important for breast cancer survivors to find out information and resources they weren't aware of before.

"Our community, both from a health care perspective and the neighborhoods and communities they live in, are invested in not only breast cancer treatment but also the concerns of breast cancer survivors because as medical technology changes, how we treat them changes," Penn said.

Penn also said the event aims to empower survivors to reach out to their health care providers about their questions and needs.

One of the presenters, Stacey Miller, discussed genetics testing. She said people with breast cancer often wonder why they have it. She wanted to emphasize in her presentation that a lot of times, it's out of their control.

"I am hoping that they leave the better idea of what caused them to get breast cancer, but also what the risk might be for their cherished, at-risk family members that they worry about every day," Miller said.

Miller also said the event is a good way to answer questions that survivors have about their future after breast cancer.

"There is a lot of questions they have even after they complete their treatment and I think a lot of times that's an area we don't do a very good job of continuing education," Miller said.

Survivors could also talk with different health care providers and pharmacy representatives at the event as well.

The event organizers said the luncheon will take place the following year and include different presentations.