Free dinner conference on young adults with cancer includes national experts, panel of cancer patients

Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast cancer, leukemia — these are not things most 20- and 30-somethings worry about. They are, however, very much part of a personal journey for local young adult cancer survivors.

Ryan Flood, Katie Mangan and Ronnette Vondrak will share their stories as part of a patient panel during the November 2­ conference at Des Moines University. The Katie Miller Young Adult Cancer Conference is a biennial event at the University, inspired by the loss of Des Moines University student Katherine M. Miller in 2005 to colorectal cancer.

This conference is open to the public and free to attend but registration is required at The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with reception and dinner followed by two keynote presentations at 6:30 p.m. by cancer specialists. The young adult cancer survivors will then take questions from the audience. The event is in the Des Moines University Medical Education Center, 3200 Grand Ave. in Des Moines.

Katherine Miller, or Katie as her classmates called her, was in her second term at DMU when she was diagnosed with a tumor in her colon. She was 26. Six months later, she was gone. A strong believer in osteopathic medicine, Katie’s story is told so that others may learn more about cancer in this age group. With more information, doctors, researchers and the public may be more able to detect cancer at an earlier stage and show sensitivity to challenges of having cancer at this age.

Register at by October 29. For more information, call 515.271.1513.


Colorectal cancer in the young adult

David Ota, M.D., FACS, professor of surgery at Duke University, earned his M.D. at the University of Chicago Pritzker and has also worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Texas Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, University of Missouri Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and Medical College of Wisconsin. He is highly published in the medical field, writing much on colon cancer-related research.

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Archie Bleyer, M.D., medical director of clinical research at St. Charles Cancer Care in Bend, Oregon, earned his M.D. at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He also is a clinical research professor at Oregon Health and Sciences University and professor of pediatrics at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He is a founding member of LiveStrong Young Adult Alliance.


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