Tuesday, June 7, 2011

ASCO - the End Part I

It has been a very hectic, tiring past few days but I am so happy I have been able to attend so many interesting sessions here at ASCO.

After having breakfast with fellow advocates Sharon and Susan I checked out of the hotel and headed back down to McCormick Place. First stop ? Another poster session, this time on cancer prevention and epidemiology.

I had a wonderful conversation with a researcher from Memorial Sloan Kettering who presented data from a study( poster 1509) looking at testing women with high grade serous epithelial ovarian cancer for BRCA mutations. Of 79 patients with no family history of breast or ovarian cancer 19% had a detectable BRCA1 or 2 mutation. The study concluded that the number of mutations identified supports current recommendations that it is reasonable to consider genetic testing for any woman with high grade serious epithelial ovarian cancer.

Then I strolled to a session called Assessing Patients Psychosocial Needs : How to Do this In Your Busy Schedule. After a review of the risks of emotional issues for survivors, the use of the Depression Thermometer as a tool to determine psychosocial problems was discussed. Many oncology practices do not ask questions about how a survivor “feels “ emotionally. So the speaker recommended that patients be asked how they feel along with assessing their pain, temperature, & blood pressure when they come in for a visit. Use of the DT was suggested as a way to gather that information.

When that session finished I went into the exhibit hall where there were over 220 exhibitors.I decided to do a bit of personal research so that I could better understand how vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors, Sorafenib ( Nexavar) by Bayer and Bevacizumab ( Avastin) by Genentech, work. Avastin is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the VEGF released by the cancer cells . Today I learned that Sorafenib is a small molecule inhibitor which blocks kinase proteins from signaling the cell to create the molecules it needs create the blood vessels. .

Before I knew it the day was over! Time to say goodbye to some very remarkable people, my new friends, the scholars of the Focus on Research Program.

Part II tomorrow.


Every Day is a Blessing! What a blessing it has been to be a participant in this program.

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