Your invitation to Ann Arbor’s Breast Cancer Summit

A community event

If you are a breast cancer survivor, caregiver or member of the general public concerned about breast cancer, please join us for a Breast Cancer Summit on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Washtenaw Community College. The summit bridges the gap between our community and academic medicine by giving the audience a chance to ask questions and interact with U-M breast cancer specialists. Many are leaders nationally in the fight against breast cancer.

Maria Lyzen, right, and Ruth Freedman lead the Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Advisory and Advocacy Committee.

Maria Lyzen, right, and Ruth Freedman lead the Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Advisory and Advocacy Committee.

The summit was organized through encouragement from the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s breast cancer advocates. They feel the summit is a way to let the community know that the U-M breast cancer specialists are collaborative and multidisciplinary. Panel discussions and a mock tumor board will give the audience a first-hand look at how these leading oncologists work together on behalf of their patients. They will also give an update on the latest breast cancer research at Michigan and nationally, showing what has been learned and how vital research donations are to these research advances.

The summit will cover:

  • cancer prevention
  • screening
  • treatment
  • research, including clinical trials
  • survivorship
  • genetic risk Continue reading

Making a Difference in Breast Cancer Research

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like you to meet Kristine, a breast cancer survivor:

For more information about participating in clinical trials, please visit An Introduction to Clinical Trials.

Learn more about how you can make a difference in breast cancer research and treatment:

Contact the Cancer AnswerLine™ at 800-865-1125 for help finding a clinical trial that’s right for you.

 Have you participated in a clinical trial? Tell us what motivated your choice.


Improving Breast Cancer Treatment Through Better Decisions

One of the biggest challenges facing doctors and their cancer patients is deciding on a treatment plan for a disease that has a relatively favorable prognosis.

As more breast cancers are found at an earlier stage, patients and doctors must consider the best way to treat the cancer without over treating the patient and causing unnecessary side effects and quality of life problems. For women with breast cancer, improving the quality of these treatment decisions has a high potential for improving the quality of their care.

Thanks to a $13.6 million grant, U-M breast cancer researchers and a national team will study how patients and doctors make breast cancer treatment decisions, and how to improve the process for better outcomes. The group expects to develop an online decision tool for patients to help improve the quality of their decision-making. This tool will be tested first in a clinical trial to measure its effectiveness.

The best treatment decisions are made when a patient and doctor really talk with each other. Still, the prospect of understanding your medical condition, what the treatment options are, the risks and benefits of each choice, and then deciding what treatment plan is right for you can seem overwhelming. Such things as underlying values, spiritual needs and family concerns are often just as important during the journey from treatment to recovery, but patients sometimes are not comfortable discussing these concerns with a stranger.

But there are good resources available to help patients prepare for the decisions ahead.

Continue learning how to become an empowered patient


A Mother, A Fighter, The Rose Run

By Jessica Cribbs

This is Jessica’s story of why she has been organizing the Rose Run for the past four years. The run this year benefits the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Breast Oncology Program and Patient and Family Support Services.


On March 5, 2008, two little children were dancing around my feet when the phone rang. It was my mother’s voice on the other end.

The Rose Run is named in honor of Rose Marie Hunt.

I had been living in California for the past 5 years, and she was back home in Michigan. We talked often, but it was different this time. She was short, and to the point.

“Jess. The cancer came back.”

It took me a minute to register what she  just said, but it did not entirely take me by surprise. She had defeated cancer once already, in her early 40’s. She had been having regular back pain for months, which she had attributed to a fall on the ice earlier in the winter. However, she also seemed to be frequently ill. More frequent than a 50-some-year-old woman should be.

“What do you mean the cancer came back?” I asked, knowing that was impossible for her to answer.

“It’s not good, Jessie. The cancer is everywhere this time. It’s metastasized.” She went on to explain how she saw her scans and she looked like a lit-up Christmas tree spotted with tumors.

Our conversation was long that morning with many moments of silence – moments where all I could do was stare at the dining room table. I even asked her if she thought this was going to take her.

“I think so,” she calmly replied. Continue reading