The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation Breast Health Forum, presented by our Main Partner, National Bank, is THE annual scientific event on breast cancer. Attend conferences on the most recent advances in breast cancer and ask your questions.

The 6th edition of the Forum will take place virtually on May 14 and will address major topics such as the advances in research: from laboratory studies to patient treatment. From fundamental research to the marketing of a new treatment, you will learn about the most recent discoveries on the different types of breast cancer, what research is underway to improve treatments and the quality of life of those affected, as well as the different factors that influence breast cancer. 

General audience

5 $

  • 100% Virtual
  • No replay. Simultaneous translation available free*.

Health professionals

40 $

  • 100% Virtual
  • Virtual certificate of attendance for health professionals*.


8:00 / Participants login
8h30 /
Welcome word

Philippe Desrosiers
Animator and director
ICI Radio-Canada, Savoir média

Opening words

Karine-Iseult Ippersiel
and Fanny Guimont-Desrochers
Director, Investment and Health Promotion
Fondation cancer du sein du Québec

Message from our major partner National Bank

Lucie Blanchet
Senior Executive Vice-President, Individuals and Customer Experience
National Bank

8:45 / Opening conference

Nathalie Bolduc, MSC, CCGC, CGC
Consultant, Genetics and Prevention Program
Quebec Beast Cancer Foundation

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, meaning that several factors may be involved. It can also be difficult to understand what the various types of breast cancer are and what makes them different. The purpose of this conference is to go back to the basics: what is breast cancer and how does it develop? What are the different subtypes? We will also discuss genetics and breast cancer, a topic that is increasingly present in research.

9h10 / Scientific Grand Prize conference

Advances in precision medicine and PARP inhibitors

Dr Jean-Yves Masson, PhD
Professor, CHU de Québec-Laval University
and Canada Research Chair in DNA Repair and Cancer Therapeutics
CHU de Québec

It was once assumed that our genetic information was stable and not prone to error. It is now recognized that our entire DNA, our genome, undergoes thousands of damaging events a day that can create variations in our genetic code. Harmful variations, or mutations, can lead to breast cancer. Dr. Masson’s work focuses on correcting errors in the genetic information, using the principle of homologous recombination. Mutations in BRCA genes lead to a flaw in these monitoring mechanisms and represent vulnerabilities that can be targeted using an anti-cancer molecule called poly (ADP) ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor. In this presentation, we will discuss the concepts of DNA repair and their usefulness in this lethal strategy that specifically stops mutated cancer cells while sparing healthy cells.

Question period (20 min)

9h40 / Theme 1 :
Advances in fundamental research

Fundamental research allows us to better understand how the different molecules that can be responsible for breast cancer behave. A better understanding of the mechanisms behind breast cancer allows the development of more targeted and often more effective treatments. During this first part of the Forum, triple negative breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer, immunotherapy and the microbiome will be discussed.

Cancer vaccines and their use as a treatment against breast cancer

Dre Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault
CHUM Research Center and Montreal Cancer Institute

Although vaccines are conventionally known as powerful weapons to prevent disease, they can also be used as a treatment for cancer. These vaccines can either be specific to a particular cancer, and therefore unique for each patient, or shared between several cancers. In any case, the desired result of vaccination is to redirect the patient’s immune system against his or her own cancer. In this way, an army of immune cells that patrol the body acquire the ability to eliminate the cancer when they come into contact with cancer cells. This confers an immediate benefit that can destroy the cancer, but also a long-term benefit since the immune system can protect the body from future relapses. In this presentation, I will explain the basic concepts of cancer vaccination, as well as their specific application to breast cancer.

B7-H4 as a therapeutic target in poor-outcome TNBCs

Morag Park, Ph.D., C.Q., FRSC, FCAHS
Director, Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Institute
Diane and Sal Guerrera Chair in Cancer Genetics
Distinguished James McGill Professor, Depts. of Oncology, Biochemistry and Medicine
McGill University

Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) represent 15-20% of all diagnosed breast cancers and are associated with earlier age of onset and worse overall outcome. There are no specific therapies for TNBC treatment at the moment. One promising therapeutic avenue is to use the patient’s immune system to destroy tumour cells. Dr. Morag Park’s team discovered that a negative regulator of immune cell activity, as well as tumour cell growth, called B7-H4 is high in TNBC with worst outcome and may represent a new therapeutic target for TNBC.

Bacteria, our friends… in breast cancer!

Dr Réjean Lapointe
Head of the Cancer Axis, CHUM Research Center

The microbiome is a collection of microorganisms that live together in an environment. For more than a decade, we have been discovering with amazement the impact of the composition of the gut microbiome on our health, and in diseases such as cancer. A new frontier in this field is the study of the microbiome inside tumours and its impact on the stimulation of the local immune system, clinical outcome and response to treatment. Dr. Réjean Lapointe’s laboratory primarily seeks to define the magnitude of the intratumor microbiome associated with breast cancer, the abundance of which seems to be linked to better patient survival. In particular, his team seeks to precisely identify the bacterial species that are associated with a better clinical outcome and that could therefore become our friends!

Question period (20 min)

10h40 / Pause

11h00 / Theme 2:
How does clinical research work ?

Finding a cure for cancer is not easy. While some researchers may make promising discoveries, they must first go through a rigorous process before their treatment is brought to market.! The situation is similar for screening methods or complementary therapies aimed at improving the quality of life of those affected. This part of the Forum will present the main steps of a clinical study, and researchers will then discuss the issues surrounding research.

Is participating in a clinical trial an option for me?

Mme Catherine Vayssier
Project Manager, Clinical Research Awareness

Is participating in a clinical trial an option for me? Participating in a clinical trial may be an option for patients diagnosed with breast cancer. Find out what clinical trials are, their role in drug development, who can participate in them and how participants are protected. Resources and tips for searching for a clinical trial will also be presented.

Participating in a clinical study: in the shoes of a patient

Mme Catherine Wilhelmy
Patient research partner
Université de Sherbrooke

A breast cancer survivor shares her experience as a clinical trial participant and how this led her to become a patient partner in research.

Advances in clinical research: light on the PERSPECTIVE project: integration and implementation.

Dr Jacques Simard, Ph. D., MSRC, MACSS
Canada Research Chair in Oncogenetics
Vice-Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
Full Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine
Faculty of Medicine, Laval University
CHU de Québec Research Center – Laval University
CHU de Québec

One of the main objectives of the large-scale PERSPECTIVE project (, in French) is to develop a framework to support the implementation of a personalized approach to breast-cancer screening. This study uses risk-stratification tools developed by Jacques Simard’s international team to generate evidence on the feasibility, acceptability, adoption, social and ethical issues, and cost-effectiveness of an individual risk-based screening approach. This project benefits from collaborations with several partners, including the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec’s Cancer Division and Ontario Health/Cancer Care Ontario.

Question period (20 min)

12h00 / Lunch

13h00 / Theme 3:
Innovation that improve the quality of life

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy… The treatments to eliminate breast cancer are numerous and have many effects on the body. Researchers are working to better understand the interactions of these treatments with the body, but also their impact on the quality of life of patients. In this way, they can make the treatment more effective, with the least possible side effects. During this theme, speakers will present the most recent advances in research for the well-being of people affected by breast cancer.

New approach to axillary surgery in node-positive and clinically negative breast cancer patients: Sentinel node & targeted axillary dissection

Dre Léamarie Meloche-Dumas
Resident 4, General Surgery, University of Montreal

Despite significant advances, the treatment of breast cancer continues to cause significant morbidity. The ACOSOG Z0011 clinical trial demonstrated that sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) was equivalent and less morbid than axillary dissection in patients with clinically negative axilla and one to two positive sentinel lymph nodes. The NCCN recently proposed expanding this indication when an axillary lymph node is positive by ultrasound biopsy and there are only one to two suspicious nodes on imaging. Targeted axillary dissection, which involves excising the positive biopsied lymph node during surgery, increases the accuracy of SLNB after receiving preoperative chemotherapy. Together, we will review the various applications of the sentinel lymph node and targeted axillary dissection in the contemporary era in patients with early breast cancer.

What do you need to know about lymphedema?

Marie-Ève Letellier, PhD
Kinesiologist and Lymphedema Therapist, Lymphedema Clinic – MUHC, Scientific Director
AQL – Association québécoise du lymphoedème

Lymphedema is a chronic swelling in the affected area (e.g., arm and/or breast). It can be primary (e.g., from birth), but the vast majority of cases are secondary (e.g., obesity, venous insufficiency, cancer). About one in five women will develop lymphedema as a result of treatments for breast cancer. Early intervention and proper management (compression—when indicated, exercises, self-management) are important allies in the treatment of this condition. The Lymphedema Association of Québec (AQL) is an organization that supports, informs and answers questions from patients, caregivers, and health professionals, among others.

New dosimetric approach for breast treatment

Karine Audet
Dosimetry Coordinator
CIUSSS Saguenay Lac St Jean

This year will mark 30 years since I was admitted to the order as a radiation technologist. As early as 1992, the benefits of radiation therapy as a systemic treatment to prevent breast cancer recurrence were known. In this short presentation, I will show you how the advent of new technologies has helped us to improve an already effective treatment, making it less toxic.

Question period (20 min)

14h15 / Pause

14h30 / Theme 4:
Factors that influence breast cancer

Whether before, during or after a breast cancer diagnosis, many factors influence the impact of the disease on the person affected. Speakers will address these factors, as a better understanding of them could improve the patient’s care journey and well-being.

Adapted physical activity for you: an interventional study for women with a breast cancer diagnosis and reporting major emotional distress.

Dr Paquito Bernard
Associate Professor, Department of Human Kinetics
Researcher, University Institute of Mental Health in Montreal

Mental health is put at risk during or following treatment for breast cancer. Canadian guidelines recommend the use of physical activity to alleviate depressive symptoms, and its benefits for physical and mental health in the context of breast cancer are well documented. Paquito Bernard’s team has therefore developed the Adapted Physical Activity for You interventional study to help patients struggling with major emotional distress engage in physical activity based on their desires and energy.

And then, the challenge of life after breast cancer?

And then, the challenges of life after breast cancer?

Karine Bilodeau, Inf., Ph.D.
Assistant professor at the Faculty of Nursing at the Université de Montréal and regular researcher at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Center

The end of treatments is often a sign of a return to normalcy; however, this event brings its own set of challenges. Patients adjusting to their new state of health find their bearings in their personal, family and professional life. This presentation will outline some of the challenges encountered at the end of treatment and some strategies for rediscovering your new normal.

Detecting and managing symptoms to improve breast cancer treatment: the e-IMPAQc project.

Detecting and managing symptoms to improve breast cancer treatment: the e-IMPAQc project

Dre Sylvie Lambert
Canada Research Chair, Associate Professor, Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University and Researcher, St. Mary’s Research Center

We know that women treated for breast cancer face many emotional, physical, psychological, social and practical symptoms and challenges. Programs that systematically detect patients’ symptoms and difficulties can improve the care process and the management of side effects. Sylvie Lambert’s team is developing and implementing an innovative electronic program in Quebec called e-IMPAQc, which allows cancer patients to self-report the side effects of their treatments using standardized questionnaires. Their research aims to ensure that the program meets the needs of various cancer patient populations, including women with breast cancer.

Question period (20 min)

15h45 / Closing interview:

Anxiety in the breast cancer journey

Sébastien Simard, Ph.D, psychologue
Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi
Researcher at the Intersectorial Center for Sustainable Health (CISD) and at the CIUSSS du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

Lucie Lacombe
Breast cancer survivor and volunteer
Quebec Beast Cancer Foundation

The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation’s helpline (1 855 561-PINK) was launched in October 2021 to support people in the breast cancer pre-diagnosis process. The unique feature of this project is that the people who answer the phone are peer helpers, cancer survivors who have experienced this difficult period of waiting for a diagnosis. An interview between host Philippe Desrosiers and a volunteer from the foundation will be conducted to discuss the project and its purpose. Psychologist Sébastien Simard will also be in attendance to discuss anxiety during this pre-diagnosis period and throughout the breast cancer journey. Solutions to help manage anxiety will be discussed.

16h10 / Closing words

Free simultaneous translation available

Download the Interactio application to follow the conference in English or French.

Please note that most of the discussions at the Forum will be in French, with the exception of a few presenters who will speak in English. More details on the use of this platform will be e-mailed to you shortly before the event.

Certificate of virtual attendance for health professionals

Only those who have met the following conditions will receive a certificate of attendance:

  1. Purchase of a “Health Professional – with Certificate” ticket for $40 (one ticket per person);
  2. Login information duly completed on the day of the Forum (first and last names, etc.);
  3. Participation for the entire duration of the Forum.

Note that only one attendance certificate will be sent to you per connection link. It will therefore be important to identify yourself properly when you connect to the virtual event on May 14.

If you would like more information on the number of hours credited, we recommend that you contact your professional order directly.

Certificates of attendance will be e-mailed to the address used for registration 10 business days after the event has ended.

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