Advancing hope

Advancing hope

UF’s breast cancer symposium partners with national organization

By Mina Radman

For nearly 18 years, the Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease has brought together leading experts on breast cancer care. This year, the American Society of Breast Disease, one of the nation’s oldest scientific organizations, will forgo its own annual symposium and join forces with the event to discuss the latest advancements in research and care.

“This alliance is a reflection of the scientific organization, what we do at the symposium and the support that we have,” said Shahla Masood, M.D., director and founder of the symposium.

Masood, a professor and chair of the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at the College of Medicine-Jacksonville and medical director of the Shands Jacksonville Breast Cancer Center, created the symposium in 1995 as a way to advance and promote multidisciplinary care. Health care providers, physician assistants, patient advocates and others convene under one roof to collaborate on change and improvement to patient care.

“I have been very interested in the concept that breast cancer is not a single disease that can be treated by a single person,” Masood said. “The participation of a multidisciplinary group brings the ultimate therapy to patients.”

More organizations are making breast cancer care a top priority, and this growing awareness has helped spur advancements in minimally invasive diagnostic procedures and surgery. When experts come together to discuss these advancements, they better understand breast cancer and can create a more integrated process for all patients to receive treatment, Masood said.

The original symposium in 1995 was among the first of its kind and inspired similar conventions across the nation. Masood has taken the symposium worldwide, holding events in Italy, Cairo, France and Saudi Arabia. Masood, an internationally recognized physician in breast cancer diagnosis and prognosis, also created a scientific journal, The Breast Journal, in 1995 to increase awareness about breast cancer.

The American Society of Breast Disease held its symposium for 36 years before choosing to partner with Masood for the multidisciplinary symposium.

“I have incredible respect for the people of the American Society of Breast Disease,” Masood said. “They are fantastic people who have been helpful to advance breast education.”

The 18th annual symposium will be held Feb. 14-18 at the Ritz Carlton in Amelia Island, Fla. There are more than 20 featured speakers and moderators scheduled for the weekend.