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North Carolina’s health care providers from across the state met in Chapel Hill on Friday, Oct. 30 for the 7th Annual Coping with Cancer Symposium hosted by UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC Cancer Network and the Comprehensive Cancer Support Program.

(L-R) Dr. Thomas Shea, Dr. Don Rosenstein, Symposium host Jean Sellers, Keynote speaker Dr. Kevin Oeffinger and UNC Lineberger’s Director of Cancer Survivorship Deborah Mayer

With over 120 health care providers in attendance, the symposium kicked off with a powerful key note address from Dr. Kevin Oeffinger, a family physician and director of Cancer Survivorship Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He outlined the harsh realities of what many of our cancer patients face when surveillance and follow up care is not incorporated into their survivorship care. The symposium featured seven educational presentations by cancer survivorship healthcare experts at both UNC and Duke. Topics included fatigue, cardiovascular, bone, sexual dysfunction, anxiety/depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and cognitive changes.

The symposium was led by co-directors, Thomas Shea, MD and Donald Rosenstein, MD. Survivorship experts included Claudio Battaglini, PhD, Brian Jensen, MD, Robert Esther, MD, Denniz Zolnoun, MD, Eliza Park, MD, Sohia Smith, PhD, MSW (Duke Cancer Network) and Karla Thompson, PhD. Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN facilitated the panel discussion. A special presentation entitled the Patient’s Perspective was provided by Bruce Ham (YMCA) who spoke of losing his wife to cancer.

Oncology health care providers from around the state left the symposium with a renewed understanding of survivorship care.

“Cancer survivors face numerous physical, psychological, social, spiritual and financial issues through diagnosis and treatment for the remaining years of their life. This symposium highlighted the current survivorship care that is available to our patients by world class experts,” said Jean Sellers, RN, MSN, administrative clinical director at UNC Lineberger’s Cancer Network and event chair of the Symposium. “They only confirmed the need for additional programs like this to help all providers understand that survivorship is a critical component of cancer treatment.”

Learn more about patient support and survivorship at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center: