Beirut, November 30th, 2018: The Lebanese Breast Cancer Association and the Breast Cancer Center at NK Basile Cancer Institute at the American University of Beirut held its 3rd edition of the annual workshop entitled “Patient Empowerment Workshop” at the Gefinor Hotel in Beirut on November the 30th, 2019. The workshop, which aimed to support women with advanced stages of breast cancer by providing comprehensive advice and guidance, was attended by a group of experts and specialists who delivered an educational awareness day to help patients and empower them through this support group and annual meet up.
Titled “We are Connected”, the patient empowerment workshop comes in line with a long-term initiative by the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation and the Breast Center of Excellence at AUBMC to spread support beyond awareness and screening to detect the disease at its early stages, extending it to give those women living with advanced stages of breast cancer the courage to speak openly about their bodies and experiences in the presence of their families and their very own support system.
The workshop program included a series of educational sessions held by specialists in nutrition, sexology, psychology, oncology, meditation and beauty, which all aimed to give the needed advise and inspire women struggling with the disease to live life to the fullest while being treated. The sessions allowed for the sharing of experiences and women asking questions helping them overcome their daily challenges and struggles with the disease.
Advanced Breast Cancer, also called Stage 4 breast cancer, means the cancer has metastasized, or traveled, through the bloodstream to create tumor implants in other parts of the body such as the liver, lungs, brain, bones and/or other parts. Between 20 and 30 percent of women with early stage breast cancer go on to develop metastatic disease over time. While treatable, metastatic breast cancer (MBC) cannot be cured. The five-year survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer is 22 percent, and median survival time was three years but is improving with new treatments.
Commenting on the workshop, Dr. Nagi El Saghir, President of the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation, and Director of the AUBMC Breast Center of Excellence said:
“In addition to our efforts to improve screening and early detection, by doing this workshop every year, we draw attention to supporting women who have breast cancer and particularly those who have advanced breast cancer. All patients have the right to get the best treatment and best support. We support patients for coping with the disease from all aspects of life including medical, psychological, nutritional, physical, emotional, marital, work, creativity, family, friends and society support.”
Mirna Sabbah Hoballah, Vice-President of the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation also commented: “In a culture focused on survivorship, those with metastatic breast cancer who will be in treatment for the rest of their lives should not be left to feel isolated and misunderstood. We are very happy today to see the positive impact, satisfaction and gratitude expressed by the patients and their immediate families, which is all behind the success and the yearly recurrence of this event”.
The patient empowerment workshop is one of the many initiatives undertaken by the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation, known for its role in social health awareness, medical and psychological support of patients, as well as fundraising and financial support of breast cancer patients, in partnership with the Breast Center of Excellence of the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute at American University of Beirut Medical Center. Awareness and fundraising activities are also organized by the foundation at municipalities, schools, institutions, banks and work places in all parts of Lebanon throughout the year.
LEBANESE BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION (LBCF) is a non-profit, awareness, educational, fundraising initiative established in January 2011 by Dr. Nagi S. El Saghir (President of the LBCF) at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) and a group of women who either survived breast cancer or had close relatives surviving it. The aim of this association is to provide comprehensive support for women with breast cancer at AUBMC. Its goals include supporting breast cancer patients treatment, including radiation therapy and surgery, disseminating more knowledge and awareness about breast cancer, promoting systematic and programmed early detection campaigns, and supporting breast cancer research projects and clinical trials.