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Susan Baker headlines Cancer Survivorship Conference

A Texas ranch girl who went on to travel the world with her husband, James A. Baker III, Susan Garrett Baker will headline 
MD Anderson’s 24th annual Anderson Network Cancer Survivorship Conference Sept. 14-15 at the Omni Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway, Houston.

In her 2010 autobiography “Passing It On,” Baker gives an honest account of the difficulties of blending two families after her second marriage, the struggles with and joys of her faith, and her activism on the issues of homelessness and parental advisories on record labeling.

Though the book’s manuscript was nearly complete when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009, she also explores this aspect of her life, describing chemotherapy that “hit her like a Mack truck,” losing her hair, feeling foggy and hopeless, and “looking death in the eye.”  

Her message — “Cancer made me realize how much my daily choices matter” — will kick off the conference, which is open to all who want to learn more about the issues cancer survivors face, meet and share with other survivors, take wellness classes and have fun.

Thanks to MD Anderson, sponsors and individual donors, the cost of the conference is just $50 for early registrants, which includes all meals, activities and self-parking.

Registration is available online until Sept. 7. After that, participants may pay $60 at the door on the day of the conference.

Speakers, breakout sessions, medical panel

The conference includes nearly two dozen informative breakout sessions, including:

  • risks and benefits of vitamin and mineral supplements for cancer patients, 
  • managing treatment side effects, 
  • issues of young adult survivors, 
  • the healing power of journaling, and  
  • making the most of your medicines during cancer care.

Members of the popular medical panel will present an overview of their research and answer questions from the audience. They include Ronald DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson; Holly Holmes. M.D., assistant professor in the Department of General Internal Medicine; and Karen Lu, M.D., professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine.

Violinist and cancer survivor Treesa Gold will provide entertainment at the banquet on Sept. 14.

Other keynote speakers are Richard Lee, M.D., medical director of the Integrative Medicine Program, and Shelby Robin, pediatric nurse and cancer survivor.

The Anderson Network, an organization with support and educational services for patients/survivors, their families and caregivers, is a program of the Department of Volunteer Services.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center