The 1st Indian Breast Cancer Survivors conference held in 2012 was a result of a brainstorm, Dr. Sudeep Gupta and Dr. Shona Nag had over a cup of coffee. A conference that would address the needs of breast cancer survivors and give them a platform where their doubts, fears, problems both physical and psychological could be addressed, as also an opportunity to connect with other survivors. A much appreciated learning experience for out patients, survivors and medical professionals.
The 2nd IBCS conference was held in Nashik & hosted by the Manavata Cancer Centre. The conference included a session for caregivers, which was much appreciated.
The 3rd IBCS conference was spearheaded by a committed group of survivors who planned the topic for the conference. One of the sessions which was much appreciated was the panel discussion that discussed the long and short term side effects of cancer treatment A short survey completed by the participants resulted in an abstract, which was accepted as a poster presentation at the ASCO Survivorship conference,
Highlight of the 4th IBCS conference was the inclusion of two specific issues, the role of Genetics and Sexuality in cancer. These topics address many doubts and questions that patients and survivors are two scared or embarrassed to ask.
The 5th IBCS conference saw our first Patient Advocacy Meeting of various stakeholders of the field, from Doctors, to NGO, to Palliative Care coordinator, to Counselors, to Patient and Caregivers, the first step to understanding patient concerns.
2017 saw the 6th edition of the IBCS conference held in Nashik with over 500 patients and survivors from different parts of Western India in attendance. The highlight of this year's conference was the exhibition showcasing the Talents of the Survivors and the Tree of Life which was built with messages written by all the participants.
The 7th Indian Breast Cancer Survivors conference discussed a lot of issues related to feeling, survivors were open about their mental health, about coping with depression and poor body image. Dr. ShekarSalkar who hosted the conference, surprised us with a Gala evening on a cruise boat which allowed all to shake a leg and bond with each other.
The 8th IBCS conference touched on the topic of mental health, interactive sessions were organized with discussions on coping with depression. A guided meditation gave a practical demonstration of how mindful meditation can truly help.
With the uncertainty of Covid 19, the 9th IBCS conference was held. It was decided to limit the number of participants to patients who had taken treatment duringthe pandemic. Again, we emphasized on the importance of mental health, a practical Art Therapy session was organized to help patient experience the impact of design and colour to cope with distress. There was also a session on improving cognitive abilities.