This year, the NCoBC (National Consortium of Breast Centers) Annual Interdisciplinary Breast Center Conference was a hybrid event, occuring online and in person at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. NCoBC’s mission is to ‘bring together experts in breast surgery, oncology, radiology, pathology, nursing, administration, navigation and psycho-oncology to share cutting updates from prevention, early detection and survivorship’. NCoBC offers two key certifications for improving high-risk breast clinic care: the Breast Patient Navigator Certification Program and the Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment Certification. Associated coursework was available at the conference.
This was Natera’s first time exhibiting at this conference, and was a primary sponsor, providing lanyards for all conference attendees. Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel, MD, Natera’s VP of Medical Affairs, Hereditary Cancer, presented a symposium, and he was joined by several commercial and medical team members.
The Natera team who attended noted some key highlights and themes from this year’s conference:
Genetic testing to inform care: this year there was a strong focus on genetics as an informative tool for increasingly personalized breast cancer risk assessment. Since streamlined genetic testing workflows are not yet an established day-to-day practice in all high-risk breast clinics, we found that many attendees were interested in learning more about this topic. There was a particular interest in new software tools and services that are available to support nurse navigators in offering genetic testing.
Precision medicine: Germline status is increasingly recognized as being important for developing personalized treatment plans for patients. Dr. Weitzel, a pioneer in precision medicine, underscored the importance of this with his presentation “Beyond Cancer Risk: Expect the Unexpected with Multigene Panel Testing”, showcasing examples where genetic screening revealed important information that changed patient management decisions.
Dr. Jefferey Weitzel, MD, presenting at the NCoBC lunch symposium.
3D and AI-informed mammography: Breast mammography technology continues to innovate because of associated developments in image analysis software. Companies like Volpara health demonstrated that AI-powered image scoring paired with superior positioning by technologists helps meet a high standard for mammographic image quality and risk assessment.
Natera was pleased to be at NCoBC 2022 for the first time, and our team enjoyed engaging interactions with attendees, where we shared information about how Empower, Natera’s hereditary cancer test, can both inform patient medical management and add value to imaging center high risk programs.