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This Friday, October 8, the Cancer Legal Resource Center will host a conference in Los Angeles on the many complex legal issues surrounding cancer. This all-day, free conference will cover a variety of quickly evolving issues, such as health care reform and local cancer community resources. The conference hopes to attract professionals throughout the cancer community including nurses, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and attorneys, who can all gain continuing education units for attending the conference.

We first covered the Cancer Rights Conference this past June when it was held in Chicago, IL. The upcoming conference is bringing back some popular sessions, including Estate Planning and Life Insurance, and adding new talks. One new session will cover the rights of young people with cancer. Hosted by education attorney Andrea Oxman from the Disability Rights Legal Center, the CLRC's umbrella organization, the seminar will discuss cancer issues for children and young adults, such as education and insurance coverage.

Monica Fawzy, a staff attorney at the Cancer Legal Resource center recently spoke with us about the conference. According to Fawzy, a Genetics and the Law session will cover, “The role that genetics plays into the law and coping with cancer." The session will discuss the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act and some of the decisions that young adults have to make if they are going to get tested for cancer susceptibility genes. “As we’ve seen, the law is very slow to catch up with this new technology,” said Fawzy, and the conference will discuss issues that young people should think about going forward.

A session on Employment will also clarify the protections for cancer patients in work environments. According to Fawzy, the panel will be comprised of  “a physician, an attorney, and an expert from the advocacy group Cancer and Careers,” who will discuss the federal and local laws that allow people to retain benefits, take medical leave, and avoid discrimination in the workplace.

The conference will also explain some recent changes in health care reform. As the health care laws are currently in a state of flux, we are pleased that the Cancer Legal Resource Center has plans to put on another set of conferences during 2011 in Chicago, IL; Washington, DC; and Ann Arbor, MI. For those based on the West Coast, Friday’s conference at the Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center in LA is an opportunity to learn about cancer rights from the experts.

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