The Southeast Asian Breast Cancer Symposium; background, aims and successes

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Published: 5 Sep 2023
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Carolyn Taylor - Executive Director, Global Focus on Cancer

Carolyn Taylor speaks to ecancer about the Southeast Asian Breast Cancer Symposium.

The conference aims to enhance breast cancer survivors’ quality of life by improving key aspects of cancer care from prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment to palliative care and survivorship.

She highlights some of the successes of SEABCS.

This meeting started in 2016. Myself and a breast surgeon, Dr Cheng Har Yip from Malaysia, who was also at that time the Head of the International Breast Surgery Foundation, we decided we really wanted to look for a different conference that would happen for the regions, particularly for the ASEAN countries; how we could bring together advocates, clinicians, ministries and patients and their caregivers to look at breast cancer in a different way. Our organisation is actually cancer agnostic but we get the most buy-in for breast cancer. We really saw an opportunity to hold a different type of conference and really start to build a different sort of coalition for the region.

What are some of the successes of SEABCS?

One of the really great things that has come out is this informal coalition that has come together among the advocates and some of the researchers as well. And these partnerships that have happened, looking at these more collaborative opportunities in academic and advocacy partners. 

Also we’ve had some really wonderful buy-in from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Pathology, the International Cancer Control Partnership, IARC, WHO, really, again, bringing a different level to meetings that have generally happened here before, particularly that advocates were involved in. So it’s educational, it’s also opportunistic, really looking at how we can come together to move the needle here in holistic ways across the cancer care continuum.