Dr. Brawley is the keynote speaker at Maine's 35th Living With Cancer Conference

Otis Brawley MD at 2013 LWCC in Augusta, ME

Otis W. Brawley, M.D., F.A.C.P., chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, was the keynote speaker at the 35th annual Living With Cancer Conference in Augusta, Maine, this month.

He shared the alarming statistic that more than two-thirds of all cancer deaths could be prevented through tobacco cessation and increasing tobacco taxes, and better nutrition and regular exercise.  "Over the next decade or so, obesity, bad diet, and lack of physical activity may surpass tobacco as the leading cause of cancer," he told the more than 250 attendees that included 100 survivors and 50 caregivers. Click here to watch local TV coverage of the May 1 event.

The day featured workshops on a wide variety of topics, including the benefits of exercise for survivors, tips for losing weight, Reach to Recovery training, updates on skin cancer, the importance of wills, acupuncture, advances in detection and treatment of lung cancer, palliative medicine, and the restorative power of art.

The panelists were Dusty McCarthy, a three-time cancer survivor who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, and then both colon and endometrial cancer during a routine colonoscopy in 2010; Dan Bahr, a throat cancer survivor who was expected to, but did not, lose his voice and is now an American Cancer Society Patient Navigator; and Terry Beal, a prostate cancer survivor and Road to Recovery coordinator.

Volunteers and staff from the American Cancer Society created the first Living With Cancer Conference in 1979. Cancer patients, family members, caregivers, and healthcare professionals have come together every year since to hear personal stories and learn medical information designed to help them get through their own or someone else's cancer journey

Also held this month was the Northern Maine Cancer Symposium. The event in Presque Isle attracted 68 attendees, including 23 survivors. Keynote speakers were the McLean family, whose daughter, Hadley, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011, at the age of eight. Through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and months of rehab, Hadley has persevered and, along with her family, has taken an active role in the Relay For Life of Aroostook County.
The Downeast Living With Cancer Conference in Bar Harbor, ME, is scheduled for September 12, 2013.