University of Vermont

The 18th Annual Women's Health and Breast Cancer Conference


Information for Physicians

Contact Us

Questions about this year's conference? Call (802) 656-2292.


Quick Facts
  • Please register for the conference by 8:00 am on September 28, 2015. Walk-ins are welcome after the registration deadline. However, space is limited and some sessions may be closed. Register early!
  • The conference will be held at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center in South Burlington, Vermont.
  • The conference opens at 8:00 am with over 60 exhibits in the Exhibit Hall.
  • Sessions begin at 9:00 am and end at 4:05 pm.
  • The sessions and exhibits are free due to the generous support of the Vermont/New Hampshire Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, The University of Vermont College of Medicine, The University of Vermont Medical Center, and Seventh Generation.

The University of Vermont College of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


The University of Vermont College of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 5.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.


Application for CME credit has been filed with the American Academy of Family Physicians. Determination of credit is pending.


Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


The following sessions have all been approved for physician credit:


Session One (9:00-9:50 AM)


1-1: “I Wish She Had Told Me…”: Perspectives on Sexuality and Intimacy After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis / Patti Johnson, RN, OCN, CBCN and Mary Nolan, RN, OCN / A diagnosis of Breast Cancer has a tremendous impact on all aspects of a person’s life. Sexuality and intimate relationships can be adversely affected by the diagnosis and ensuing treatment. This tender topic is often avoided by medical staff, the patient, and the partner. This presentation offers insight into partner perspectives on intimacy and communication after a breast cancer diagnosis, and suggestions on how to open communication and reclaim intimacy.


1-2: Predictors of Recurrence After a DCIS Diagnosis / Brian Sprague, PhD / This session will discuss the basic biology of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ, the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer) and the magnitude of this diagnosis as a public health problem; the typical disease-free survival rates for DCIS, including the average time from diagnosis to an invasive breast cancer diagnosis; and predictors of disease-free survival, including factors related to the patient, her treatments, and the characteristics of the DCIS diagnosis.


1-4: Mammography in 3-D: Coming Soon to a Breast Center Near You / Rebecca Zuurbier, MD / This talk will describe the evolving role of 3-D Tomosynthesis in breast cancer detection and diagnosis. The technology and technique will be described and the current research will be reviewed. Practical implications for the patient, radiologist and referring provider will be considered.


1-5: Palliative Care: Not Just Hospice! / Janet Ely, MSN, FNP, AOCNP, AHPCN and Mary Giancola, MSW, LICSW / Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. It focuses on improving quality of life by providing patients with relief from symptoms, pain and stress of disease. Care is provided by a team of providers, nurses, social workers and other specialties to wholly support and care for the patient and family. Integrating palliative care into cancer care is appropriate for any cancer diagnosis and provides an extra layer of support from the time of initial diagnosis, through active treatment and, when needed, helps patients and families transition to end of life care.


1-6: Environmental Endocrine Disruptors and Their Impact on Weight, Metabolism, and Cancer / Frances Carr, PhD, Karen Glass, PhD, and Janet Gray, PhD /In addition to altering risk for several cancers, including thyroid as well as breast cancers, common environmental toxins known as endocrine disruptors, have also been linked to the increased rate of obesity over the past several decades. This session will briefly explore how some of the environmental factors and estrogen-like chemicals (BPA) might affect metabolic function, weight regulation, and cancer incidence.


1-9 I Helped Find a Cure: How Clinical Trials Change Lives / Claire Verschraegen, MD / Clinical trials are one of the most essential tools in finding new breakthroughs for cancer treatment. This panel will answer your questions about clinical trials and let you know how you can help find a cure.


1-10: PROVIDER TRACK: Lung Cancer Screening / George Gentchos, MD / This presentation will focus on the current and controversial issues regarding lung cancer screening with low dose CT scan. This will include review of data from the National Lung Cancer Screening trial, lung cancer statistics focusing on lung cancer in Vermont, lung cancer in women, and issues particular to lung cancer screening including concern for radiation risk, false positive exams, economic impact and the evolving insurance coverage for this examination. This session will also include information about the lung cancer screening process at UVM and its incorporation into a comprehensive
lung cancer program. This session is specifically geared toward primary care providers and other health care professionals.


Session Two (10:00-10:50 AM)


2-1: Genetic Counseling and Testing for Inherited Cancer Risk / Wendy McKinnon, MS, CGC / This session will review the features of inherited cancers that impact women (breast, ovarian and endometrial) and explain who might be a candidate for referral for cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling and possibly genetic testing. This talk will review what happens during a genetic counseling session, as well as review the risks, benefits and limitations of undergoing genetic testing for cancer risk.


2-4: Therapeutic Targeting of Anti-Estrogen-Resistant ER+ Breast Cancer / Todd Miller, PhD / Patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer are often treated with anti-estrogen therapy. This session will discuss knowledge gained from breast cancer cells and animal models, which is being actively translated into early-phase clinical trials to develop more effective strategies to prevent cancer recurrence and manage disease.


2-5: Ovarian Cancer Screening / Elise Everett, MD /The recommendations for ovarian cancer screening can vary depending on your risk factors and medical history. This session will provide a better understanding of the data behind these and help you make choices that are right for you.


2-6: What's Density Got to Do With It? Breast Density and How it Affects Screening for You and Your Patients / Sally Herschorn, MD / Having dense breasts is the number one reason cancers are missed on mammograms. Up to 50% of women have dense breasts. Breast density is also a risk factor for breast cancer. If you have dense breasts you belong to a very big club. This talk will explain what breast density means for the patient and her provider and the options available to improve screening.


2-8: Patient Navigation and Resources for the Cancer Patient / Susan Bouffard, RN / Patient navigation is becoming more and more common and will soon be an essential part of cancer care. This session is targeted toward those who are interested in the navigation process and how navigation can help patients facing a cancer diagnosis.


2-9: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Cancer: A Shot at Prevention / Maura Barry, MD / Studies have pinpointed a strong link between HPV and certain types of cancer. This session will describe that link in detail and provide you with information that you need to know about how preventing HPV can also help decrease your cancer risk.


2-10: PROVIDER TRACK: A Continuum of Care for Cancer Survivors / Patti O'Brien, MD /There are nearly 40,000 cancer survivors in Vermont alone, and that number will increase in coming years. Survivors have unique medical needs including addressing side effects from treatment, ongoing screening and surveillance, genetic testing/counseling needs, psycho-social needs—to name a few. In addition, the needs of newly diagnosed women may be very different than those of women treated many years ago. In the context of Survivor Care Plans, we will discuss coordinated care that addresses specific survivor needs as they transition out of specialty care, and as they progress through survivorship with their primary care provider. National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines will be reviewed. This session is specifically geared toward primary care providers and other health care professionals.


Session Three (11:00-11:50 AM)


3-5: Ovarian Cancer Treatments / Elise Everett, MD / This session will discuss the treatments used for ovarian cancer at various stages, side effect management, and research for new therapies. Attendees will leave this session with a better understanding of the role of surgery, chemotherapy, and new biological agents in the treatment of ovarian cancer.


3-9: Cancer Survivor Care Plans: Avoid These Awkward Breaks / Penelope Gibson, PA / A survivor care plan is essential to making sure your journey following treatment is a healthy and satisfying one. This session will describe and discuss the use of cancer survivor transition plans to help patients and health care providers work together to deliver the best care.


3-10: PROVIDER TRACK: A Provider's Perspective on Integrative Medicine / Andrea Fossati, MD / Integrative medicine can provide patients and health care providers alike with more options when it comes to both treatment and survivorship. This session will explore the realm of integrative care and how providers can safely incorporate it with traditional treatments in order to provide the best possible experience for their patients. This session is specifically geared toward primary care providers and other health care professionals.


Lunch Sessions (12:00-1:00 PM)


L-3 PROVIDER TRACK: Medicinal Marijuana: A Provider's Perspective / Bridget Conry, BA and Shayne Lynn, BA, Champlain Valley Dispensary and Southern Vermont Wellness / This panel will discuss the role of the provider in the patient registration process with the Vermont State Medical Marijuana for Symptom Relief Program. It will also detail the patient experience at the dispensary with an overview of the initial consultation and the products available. This session is specifically geared toward primary care providers and other health care professionals.


Session Four (1:15-2:05 PM)


4-1: Chemobrain / Owen Drudge, PhD, Julie Dumas, PhD, Moira Mulligan, MS, CCC-SLP, and Patricia O’Brien, MD / Women frequently comment that their memory declines during and after therapy for breast cancer. A panel of experts, including a cognitive expert, an oncologist, and a breast cancer survivor, discuss the science behind cognitive change and research efforts to increase our understanding of this condition.


4-4: Phthalates are Everywhere - But Do They Cause Breast Cancer? / Thomas Ahern, PhD /Phthalate compounds have made their way into an alarming array of consumer products including food containers, children’s toys, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Phthalates are suspected to disrupt hormonal pathways in our bodies, and have the potential to cause cancer. Dr. Thomas Ahern will discuss the pervasiveness of these compounds in our
daily environment, summarize current evidence for an effect of phthalates on breast cancer, and introduce his ongoing study on the subject, funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure.


4-7: The Benefits of Weight Loss in Cancer / Kim Dittus, MD, PhD / Weight gain is common in breast cancer patients after diagnosis and during treatment. Unfortunately, survivors who are overweight may
be more likely than trimmer survivors to have their cancer recur. This workshop reviews why weight is likely to change during treatment and details activities you can do that have consistently been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, improve odds of survival if diagnosed, and help prevent other illnesses.

4-9: The Role of Nutrition and Supplements in Cancer Treatment / This session will provide helpful hints for the management of common side effects of chemotherapy, including taste changes, nausea, and constipation. Patients and health care providers will find strategies for optimal tolerance of treatment and preservation of quality of life. Additionally, focus will be placed on the maintenance of one’s nutritional status to ensure treatment can be continued uninterrupted and aid in healing.

4-10: PROVIDER TRACK: Talking to Your Patients about the Sun, Skin, and Cancer / Anita Licata, MD / This session will review skin cancer with a focus on diagnosis and treatment, highlighting current or new information. We will also discuss common questions your patients might ask regarding sun exposure, tanning, vitamin D and sunscreens. This session is specifically geared toward primary care providers and other health care professionals.

Session Five (2:15-3:05 PM)


5-3: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment / Maureen Harmon, MD, Deborah Rubin, MD, Mary Stanley, MD, Erin Tsai, MD, and Paul Unger, MD / Current breast cancer care involves the coordination of multiple medical disciplines: surgery, pathology, radiology, and specialists in chemotherapy and radiation treatment. In this session you will sit in on a reenactment of a weekly breast cancer case conference where specialists review clinical, radiologic, and pathologic findings of patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer and discuss the best approaches to treatment.

5-7: Cancer, Fat, and Exercise: What's the Connection? / Mary Chamberlin, MD / This session will review the data on studies evaluating the connection between physical activity and cancer, the effectiveness of interventions, and the biology behind it all with a focus on lipogenesis (the making of fat).

5-8: What’s New in Breast Cancer Reconstruction? / Robert Nesbit, MD / In this session, we will focus on newer techniques for reconstruction after breast cancer surgery. Some of the techniques discussed may include oncoplastic surgery after lumpectomy, nipple sparing mastectomy, and new technologies that may improve reconstructive outcomes.

5-10: PROVIDER TRACK: The Many Benefits of Palliative Care as a Part of a Comprehensive Cancer Team / Jonna Goulding, MD / Palliative care is an essential piece of treatment about which many providers need to know more. This session will discuss palliative treatments from a provider’s standpoint and give a comprehensive discussion on how every provider can benefit from knowing more about this field. This session is specifically geared toward primary care providers and other health care professionals. Please note that this session will run until 3:15 pm.


Session Six (3:15-4:05 PM)


6-1: What to Do If You Find a Lump / Ted James, MD / This session will describe what women and their health care providers should do if they are faced with a situation where they find a lump in their breast. Information about signs of breast cancer, approaches to making a diagnosis and treatment considerations for a confirmed breast cancer will be discussed. Participants will learn how to improve their ability to navigate the health care system to optimize quality and outcomes when dealing with a breast-related problem.

6-3: What’s New in Radiation Oncology / Rick Lovett, MD / This session discusses the principles of radiation and how tissue sparing is accomplished, the new advances in radiation treatments, and how individualized radiation treatments are designed..

6-5: Oncology Rehabilitation: Steps to Wellness / Kim Dittus, MD, PhD, Britta Nelson, BS, Diane Stevens, PT / Steps to Wellness is a comprehensive Oncology Rehab program for cancer survivors. The components of this evidenced-based exercise program will be presented by the team providing this service. It is also a research program and current research findings including implications for exercise recommendations will be presented. Fitness, strength, balance, and mobility can all be affected by cancer and cancer treatments. How a structured exercise program can improve these areas will be addressed. Individuals interested in joining the program will find the overview helpful as well as professionals wishing to expand their own cancer survivorship knowledge in the area of exercise.

6-6: Is There Sex After Cancer? Reviving Your Sex Life After Cancer / Gale Golden, LICSW, BCD / When an illness occurs, the accompanying treatments, medications and surgeries may diminish desire for sex and intimacy. Even in the best of relationships, an open discussion about sex may be daunting and thus avoided. This discussion will offer practical help on starting the dialogue and reviving the comfort of an intimate and sexual relationship. Help is on its way!

6-7 PROVIDER TRACK: The Use of Opiates During Cancer Treatment / Mark Pasanen, MD / The use of opiates to treat cancer symptoms and relieve pain can be extremely beneficial to patients, but it also carries risks if misused. This session will discuss the responsible prescribing of opiates, including strategies to monitor for risks and benefits. This session is specifically geared toward primary care providers and other health care professionals. Please note that this session will run until 4:15 pm.


Last modified August 25 2015 09:26 AM