All medical providers – physicians, physician’s assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, etc--engage in continuing education. We read journals, attend lectures, and—in the new high-tech era—attend webinars. Although a minimal amount of continuing education is required for us to maintain our licenses, most of us far exceed the requirement. There are always new things to learn!
Lisa Wolf PA and I recently attended the annual meeting of The American Society of Breast Surgeons. This is a four-day meeting, held every spring in a different location. This year it was held in Las Vegas, but Lisa and I were so busy that we didn’t get to see much of the city.
I took a pre-meeting course on oncoplastic surgery (techniques to get the best cosmetic results with breast cancer surgery), and Lisa took a course to learn more about breast ultrasound. The meeting itself was organized to address the spectrum of breast issues. The lecture sessions started with management of benign breast disease, genetic testing, and management of high-risk patients.
Then there were entire sessions devoted to Ductal Carcinoma in Situ and Invasive Breast Cancer. These sessions covered the latest research, and reports on new techniques and tests for diagnosis and treatment.
There were sessions covering the issues that are unique to young women with breast cancer, elderly women with breast cancer, patients with metastatic disease, and survivors. There was a presentation on the new staging system that will be used starting next year. There was a report on the findings from an expert panel on lymphedema.
There were two “poster sessions”. For these sessions, the meeting organizers selected researchers from all over the country to present their work to the group by outlining the objectives, data, and conclusions on large posters. The posters were arranged in a large hotel ballroom, and attendees wandered around reading the posters and asking questions of the researchers. I love these sessions because you can talk to the researchers one-on-one. There is so much exciting work being done!
The meeting days were long, but they were packed full of great information. Lisa and I came back energized with many ideas. I know that we are not where we want to be with breast cancer prevention and treatment yet…..but it is remarkable to see how far we have come.
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