Dedicated to "Women in pain who know they're not"
~ Cynthia Toussaint, Lead Vocalists on "Crazy"

10th Annual Women In Pain Conference
“The Pain-Cancer Connection”
Friday, September 24th, 2021

Edited version of the full conference webcast:

Full conference webcast including “countdown” slides:

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Read our 2021 Women In Pain Conference Press Release HERE.


“The Pain-Cancer Connection” – that’s our 2021 theme as we’ll explore the intersection of these two challenging health concerns. Specifically, we’ll examine how the inflammation of chronic pain can lead to cancer and how many cancer treatments spark persistent pain. Also, we’ll share how patients can empower their “inner-selves” for best outcomes, how they can be their own best advocates for clinical care and examine the short and long-term benefits of integrative care. We’ll look at the real-life experience of being confronted by pain and/or cancer – and the importance of shedding the identity of “patient” and moving forward with new life force.

Bring awareness and education about the connection between chronic pain and cancer, and what wellness seekers of both can do for better health outcomes and well-being

People with Chronic Pain
People with Cancer (Active / Remission)
People with Chronic Pain & Cancer (Pre / During / Post Treatment)

Theme Session Overviews:
Problem: How pain and cancer are connected
Solution: Paths to better care and wellness despite pain and/or cancer
Experience: Tips and wisdom from the “real-life” experience of cancer and pain
Moving On: Getting unstuck from “illness identity” and reconnecting with your life force


10th Annual Women in Pain Conference
Friday, September 24th, 2021
9am – 2:30pm

In Association With
Community Partners


“The Pain-Cancer Connection”

9:00am – 9:15
Slide Countdown

9:15 – 9:20
Conference Introduction – John Garrett, Director, For Grace

9:20 – 9:35
“My Pain-Cancer Journey: A Cautionary Tale”Cynthia Toussaint, Founder & Spokesperson, For Grace

9:35 – 9:40
“Chronic Pain & Me” – Anna Polack, Woman In Pain & Comedian

9:40 – 10:00
“Loss – Holding On and Letting Go”Michael Eselun, BCC, Chaplain, Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology

The Problem

10:00 – 10:30
“Managing Inflammation, Pain & Cancer with Integrative Health” Wayne B. Jonas, MD, Executive Director, Integrative Health Programs, The Samueli Foundation
The Problem: How are Inflammation, Pain & Cancer connected? The management of both chronic pain and cancer usually involves pills and procedures. But health and well-being can also be improved by adding lifestyle and integrative approaches. Often the same ones are helpful for both conditions (pain and cancer), partly because they both involve chronic inflammation. This talk will review some of these approaches.

The Solution

10:30 – 10:45
“Learning How to Effectively Advocate for Yourself and Loved Ones”Christin Veasley, Co-Founder, Chronic Pain Research Alliance
This presentation will review the components of effective self-advocacy, including education, empowerment, partnering with your clinician, setting goals and effective communication

10:45 – 10:50
“A Mindful(Ness) Moment” with Anna Polack

10:50 – 11:50
“The Role of Biochemical, Metabolic and Molecular Terrain in Treating Cancer”Dr. Keith Block, Medical & Scientific Director, Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, Chicago, IL
Dr. Block will discuss the importance of assessing and correcting a cancer patient’s metabolic and biochemical terrain in the context of a comprehensive, individualized, integrative cancer treatment program

11:50 – 12:00pm
“How True Lifestyle Changes Can Prevent Primary and Secondary Cancer” – Dr. Susan Nyanzi, MCHES, DrPH, ACSM, FRSPH, For Grace Board Member & Chronic Disease and Wellness Specialist
This presentation will show participants how true lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, social engagement, stress management, etc.) can help prevent cancer

12:00 – 12:45pm
Live Q&A Session Followed by Mid-Day Break

The Experience 

12:45 – 1:30pm
“The Ups and Downs of the Pain-Cancer Experience” – Moderator: Rhonda M. Smith, Cancer Survivor and Executive Director, California Black Health Network, Sacramento; Panelists: Henry Contreras, Tom Norris, Donna Pinto & Karen Smith
Moderator and panelists discuss the “real-life” challenges of their pain-cancer experience, sharing tips and advice about obtaining best care, managing hardships, the importance of advocacy and self-care, and the “gifts” along the way. 

1:30 – 1:35
“Puppy Play Time” with Anna Polack

Movin’ On 

1:35 – 1:50
“The Challenge to Move”
Dr. Melissa Cady, DO, “The Challenge Doctor”, Board-Certified Anesthesiologist, Fellowship-Trained, Board-Certified Pain Medicine Doctor
Dr. Cady will address, not only how aspects of pain science and the phenomena of being diagnocentric can challenge us to move, but how we can reframe them to our advantage to move toward a life with more joy and less pain

1:50 -2:10
“The Opportunity in Change: Finding Purpose and Possibility in the Unknown”Pat Wetzel, Cancer Survivor & Founder, Cancer Road Trip
Ms. Wetzel will draw on her many-year experience with cancer, and the wisdom learned, to propose that uncertainty is a good place to discover new paths forward and to find peace and purpose despite the flux of change

2:10 – 2:20
Last Thoughts, Thanks and a Reflection on the Day – Cynthia Toussaint & John Garrett


Deepest thanks to…

The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment
California Black Health Network
Chronic Pain Research Alliance
City of Hope
The Samueli Integrative Health Programs
Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology