Monday, April 14, 2008

A Women's Health Care Summit on Ovarian Cancer

This morning I attended the Women's Health Care Summit on Ovarian Cancer at the Morris Museum in Morristown. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen(Morris County) , a co-sponsor of Johanna's Law, worked with the HeathCare Institute of NJ to make this program happen. It was a very informative morning. Somerset Medical Center, St Barnabas Health System, Atlantic Health Care and St Clare's offered free health screenings. While Bristol Myers,Novartis, sanofi-aventis,Pfizer, J&J and BD provided cancer and drug information and gifts for attendees.

The best part was the Speakers program. After a welcome by Congressman Frelinghuysen and Honorable Bob Franks, president of the HeathCare Institute of NJ, we listened to the Survivor's Stories of Lois Myers and Gail MacNeil. They spoke of their work with Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation to raise funds for ovarian Cancer research. ( I am a board member of KOH).

The Keynote speaker was Dr Elise Kohn from the National Cancer Institute. She discussed the properties of a good OC screening test. She said the test must be easy to do, specific for OC , sensitive to OC and get effective intervention. She presented information on the latest clinical trials at NCI and NIH for Ovarian Cancer which include studies with Avastin, Nexavar and dasatinib. She spoke to us in terms the mostly lay audience could understand. I got the chance to chat with Dr Kohn after the Summit was over and I found her to be a very thoughtful and dedicated researcher.

After a short break there was a panel discussion led by Dr Darlene Gibbon from CINJ. The doctors on the panel , Dr.Tobias, Dr. George, and Dr. Nehra presented information about ovarian cancer symptoms and treatment. Janice Berliner, a genetic counselor, presented information on when genetic testing would be recommended and steps to be tested. There were so many questions for these experts that we went 15 minutes over the scheduled time . Personally, I would have like the session to continue for another half - hour.

Now if only we could have one of these Summits in central NJ. Maybe that will be on my next LAF action plan.


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