I have mixed opinions on cancer conferences or events. Yes you get to meet other lucky people with cancer and listen to perky speakers to try to provide an optimistic view on your cancer. I attend them but sometimes leave feeling I was either put on display (she is someone with cancer and has to wear a stupid tshirt, wrist band, pin or whatever that denotes you as a person with cancer, usually with the s-word title) or been seen as a marketing opportunity. And the ones which put the cancer people in a special group and are showing their support of them by segregating them and encouraging everyone to cheer them on, are the worst. I really hate those and attend as few of these as possible.
These groups have the best of attentions and assume all of us with cancer want to be special and applauded for our 'battles', 'fights', 'strength', 'courage' and all sorts of other little tags. But some of us don't want that special attention. If I am going to tell someone about my life with cancer, I am not going to do it with a label or as a group, I'll talk about it one on one. It is interesting, if I participate in these events as a volunteer as opposed to an attendee, I have complete strangers coming up to me and telling me their cancer story out of the blue. But that is them one on one, not as a group.
But Friday I am going to a cancer event. It is a free conference being sponsored by the hospital I go to. It will include a presentation by my surgeon and oncologist on new personalized treatment in breast cancer. And a keynote session by the one and only Dr. Susan Love. I am going as an attendee. I am not going as a patient. I am not going as a person with cancer. I am going with interest in learning the latest. I do not expect to be singled out as a person with cancer. I do expect to be asked if I am a patient at the sponsoring hospital, and since I already am, I expect no pressure.