SAN ANTONIO – It’s one of the largest breast cancer symposiums in the world and it’s happening right here in San Antonio.
The 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is set for Tuesday, December 7 and unlike last year due to the pandemic, will be an in-person event. Some of the best researchers and physicians are expected to attend and discuss the latest approved treatments.
Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, a breast oncologist at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, joined Leading SA on Sunday to discuss some of the goals for the symposium and the latest medical advancements.
“Last year, we had 90 to 100 individuals logging on because it was virtual. Looking at anything related to breast cancer surgery, radiation, new treatments, basic science and it is held in San Antonio. This is the 44th year that we’re doing it in San Antonio,” Dr. Virginia Kaklamani said.
It is so important to get screened before it is too late, and because of the pandemic, too many people have held off, according to Dr. Kaklamani.
“The screening guidelines are usually referred to as the American Cancer Society guidelines that say we start at the age of 45 with yearly mammograms until 55. If you want to start at the age of 40, you can. I usually tell my patients to talk to their relatives about starting at 40 after 55, either every year, every two year mammograms, and it’s usually just mammograms. Now these are guidelines just for the patients that have a normal risk of developing breast cancer. If you have a high risk, the guidelines are different and the issue has been in the past year or two with the pandemic that women haven’t come in for mammograms. Now we’re seeing women coming in with larger breast cancers, and the larger the breast cancer, the worse the prognosis. So please do not forget your mammograms,” Dr. Kaklamani said.
There are now new treatments and advancements for patients who get diagnosed as well.
“So what we’re focusing more on is what we call targeted therapies, and targeted therapies are where they target the cancer and not the whole body. We’ve relied on chemotherapy way too much, and chemotherapy kills every fast growing cell in the body, which is why women lose their hair. They have other side effects, but with the targeted therapies, those therapies are smart enough to just go to the cancer and therefore caused fewer symptoms and also work best and the most. The newest ones are the ones that focus on strengthening our immune system to kill the cancer cells,” Dr. Kaklamani said.
If you have any questions about the symposium, you can find those answers right now just head to https://www.sabcs.org/. You can watch the full interview with Dr. Kaklamani in the video player above.