As cancer patients and caregivers transform into active cancer advocates, they may think about attending medical conferences. On March 8, at 8 pm Eastern Time (5 pm PST), #LCSM Chat will discuss various aspects of cancer advocate participation in medical conferences.
Some reasons for cancer advocates to attend medical conferences are to:
- Learn more about cancer and treatment options for cancer
- Get details about new research
- Meet the top doctors who treat their type of cancer
- Support an advocacy organization’s outreach booth
- Network with other advocates, as well as clinicians and researchers
- Share an advocate’s perspective on a specific topic, sometimes as an invited speaker
As more advocates participate in conferences, the conference organizers, professional societies, and medical practitioners are coming to understand the benefits of including advocate voices in their programs. #LCSM Chat member Janet Freeman-Daily was recently interviewed by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer about her participation in conferences–read the resulting article here: Why Should Advocates Attend Academic Lung Cancer Conferences?
Tools exist to help advocates navigate cancer conferences and understand the content they will see:
- How to Navigate a Scientific Meeting by American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
- Advocate Resources by Research Advocacy Network (RAN)
- Being a Cancer Advocate by American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
If you know of other resources, please share them in the comments on this page or in the chat.
Some professional societies and cancer nonprofits sponsor programs that enable cancer advocates to attend conferences and learn more about medical research:
- AACR’s Scientist↔Survivor Program
Participants receive travel grants and participate in special educational programs at cancer research meetings.
- ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation Patient Advocate Scholarship Program
Provides need-based grants to cover travel and registration for a variety of ASCO meetings, including the huge Annual Meeting in Chicago each June. Applications for the Annual Meeting are usually accepted during a window in early March.
- RAN’s Focus on Research Scholar Program
Scholars participate in preparatory conference calls, virtual classroom (webinars), learning materials and mentoring for research advocates to improve skills and understanding of biomedical research, and attend the ASCO Annual Meeting.
- International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Travel Awards for World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC)
Provides travel grants to WCLC, which is held in a different international city each year—it will be in Toronto Canada September 2018.
Our moderator Janet Freeman-Daily (@JFreemanDaily) will lead our discussion using the following prompts:
- T1: When a cancer patient/caregiver attends a medical conference, what are benefits to the patient/caregiver? Benefits to medical professionals? To the conference?
- T2: If you have attended a medical conference in which patients/caregivers participated, what did you like most about that conference? (Pls state whether you attended as patient, caregiver, or med professional)
- T3: If a cancer patient or caregiver wanted to attend a medical conference, which would you recommend for their first conference, and why?
- T4: What tips would you give a cancer patient or caregiver for making the most of their conference experience?
- T5: What programs help cancer patients and caregivers attend and/or afford conferences? Do you have experience with any of them?
We hope you’ll join our #LCSM Chat on Thursday 3/8 at 8 pm Eastern Time (5 pm Pacific). If you’re new to tweet chats, please read our primer “To Participate in #LCSM Chat.”
“Cancer research” is a broad term that encompasses everything from basic bench science, to translational research on patient-derived tumor specimens, to clinical trials, to studies on patient centered outcomes. While it is obvious to all of us in the lung cancer community that research is critical to improving patient outcomes, lung cancer remains underfunded compared to other common cancers.
Several different mechanisms exist to fund cancer research, including private philanthropy, Big Pharma, not-for-profit cancer research and advocacy groups, and government organizations including the DOD and NIH/NCI among others.
Given funding imbalances, it is relatively easy for lung cancer patients and advocates to make the point that allocation decisions may have historically been driven by social and political considerations, rather than by the toll of the different cancers on society. However, it is a much greater challenge to get others to recognize the imbalance, to change that pattern, and to actually drive an increase in resources dedicated to lung cancer research. Such efforts will undoubtedly require a focused effort by the lung cancer community, including those of us involved with #lcsm.
With these thoughts in mind, please join our #LCSM chat this Thursday (moderated by @BrendonStilesMD) as we explore lung cancer research, what it means to patients, how we can better integrate researchers and patients/advocates to coordinate efforts, and how we can ultimately generate more money specifically directed towards lung cancer research. We will cover the following topics:
- T1. Tell us what research means to you. How have you participated in research and/or how has lung cancer research benefitted you personally?
(examples include clinical trials, new drugs, biobanking, laboratory tours, volunteerism or support for lung cancer foundations, grant review panels, etc.)
- T2. How can we help lung cancer patients better understand research and just as important, how can we help basic science researchers understand the needs of lung cancer patients?
- T3. How can we use our collective voice to increase funding for lung cancer research?
- T4. What types of lung cancer research do you think are most important to fund?
Please remember to include #LCSM in ALL your tweets so the other chat participants can see your comments. You can read a primer on participating in the chat here. Hope you’ll join us!