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BREAST CANCER CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON HOW TO SURVIVE

SHARE BREAST CANCER CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON HOW TO SURVIVE

Every three minutes another woman learns she has breast cancer, and last year more than 700 Utah women were diagnosed with the disease. Better education and prevention techniques could save more women.

Speakers at the sixth annual "Life After Breast Cancer" conference, held Saturday at the Salt Lake Hilton, included keynote Susan Stamberg, co-host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" for 14 years, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986. She said there are 2.6 million American women who have breast cancer: 1.6 million who are diagnosed, and 1 million who don't know."It is good to see so many of you here, but at the same time it is awful," Stamberg said to a roomful of more than 400 people.

Rep. Karen Shepherd spoke on health-care legislation and the politics of breast cancer. She said breast cancer, which is now the No. 2 killer of women, has three to four times more research money than any other cancer. "We have to make sure the money is spent in the right way and smarter," she said. "Women are getting basically the same treatment as their mothers and grandmothers." Shepherd said she is trying to personalize the black and white world in which she now lives.

"This is one of the most personal diseases of women," she said.

The epidemic strikes one in eight women, and most survive. All speakers encouraged women to be full participants in fighting the disease.

"The numbers are with us, but there is no room for nice girls in this fight for information," Stamberg said.

At the conference sessions doctors, breast-cancer patients and survivors discussed how to survive cancer, treatment options, bone marrow transplants and other topics.

The conference included a fashion show using models who are breast-cancer survivors.

For the first time this year, the conference included a `For Men Only' session where husbands discussed the supporting roles they played when their wives were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Don Ellsworth of Bountiful attended the session, which he said gave husbands the chance to share ideas with each other. Ellsworth's wife, Judy, who was a model in the fashion show, has had breast cancer three times with her third surgery just last week.

The conference was sponsored by the breast-care services of Holy Cross Health Services of Utah. Holy Cross and the Vivian Skaggs Armstrong Foundation offer women over the age of 35 free baseline mammograms. Since the program's inception in early 1993, it has provided 9,000 free mammograms.