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San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium happening now | Wear the Gown

Experts from close to 100 countries converge at the event every year.

SAN ANTONIO — The largest breast cancer symposium is taking place this week in San Antonio, bringing experts from close to 100 countries under one roof at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center to discuss the latest in breast cancer research and treatments. 

This year's San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is different because it's utilizing a hybrid model, allowing the attendees to come to the Alamo City or participate virtually.

"This is where everybody knows that the the newer treatments are going to be presented and that's going to shape how we treat our patients come Monday morning,” said Breast Oncologist Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, also the leader of the breast cancer program at UT Health San Antonio. 

She says a pivotal trial with a novel anti-estrogren therapy is being presented at the symposium. 

“These are drugs that we use all the time to treat a type of breast cancer called estrogen receptor positive breast cancer," Kaklamani said. "One of the large trials that we have been conducting, and actually (which) we were a significant part of here at the University of Texas in San Antonio.”

Getting screened for breast cancer is a must for all women. UT Health follows the guidance of the American Cancer Society, which recommends you start at age 40 and are screened annually or every other year, depending on your risk. Once women turn 45, ACS recommends yearly screening before returning to the yearly or biannual screening at age 55.

At the age of 85, screening is continued if it looks like the patient is going to have a lengthy extended life, but women can stop if it appears they will not.

Kaklamani says economic disparities are an issue in south Texas when it comes to both screening and treatment. 

"We have patients with low socioeconomic status that end up being affected more by diseases like breast cancer, and we end up having diagnoses of breast cancer at later stages," she said. "That makes it harder to cure those patients."

The symposium runs through Friday. You can find out more by going to sabcs.org.

You can also get more information about breast cancer through UT Health San Antonio at (210) 450-1000 or clicking here.

For more information on family health, call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Wear the Gown stories here.