Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chicago, Here I Come!

Tomorrow I will be heading to Chicago for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting "Illumination and Innovation". I will be attending as a patient advocate and representing the #gyncsm( gynecologic cancer social media) Community on Twitter which I co-founded and co-moderate with Christina Lizaso.

I will be tweeting using the #gyncsm hashtag to keep the community up to date on the latest research news for those impacted by gynecologic cancers. Due to my diagnosis I admit in advance they there may be a heavy emphasis on ovarian cancer.

In order to spend my time efficiently,  I spent time the past few days finalizing my schedule. The meeting starts on Friday afternoon and ends on Tuesday afternoon. The  iPlanner on the meeting website made this planning a bit easier. I focused on the Gynecologic Cancer sessions (education and poster sessions) as well as the Patient & Survivor  and Health Services and Quality of Care sessions. There is an app for the meeting for my phone so I can log in at any time and see my schedule, maps of McCormick ( which is huge), places to eat, shuttle locations etc. You might wonder why planning ahead is so important. Well this conference is the largest  oncology conference in the world with well over 30,000 attendees. So with a packed scheduled and long walks between locations and let's not forget the Oncology Professional Hall it sure helps to have it mapped out in advance. There were so many presentations and posters to choose from: BRCA mutations and the genome atlas to managing treatment in older women to  medical diagnostics and immunotherapy just to name a few.

 The other added benefit of planning ahead is that it insures I won't miss the sessions/ posters presented by doctors I have met in the past or followed for years on Twitter. For example, I can't wait to see Dr Matthew Katz's poster on Disease-specific hashtags for online communication about cancer care. Dr Katz has been a supporter of #gyncsm community from its inception in 2013 and helped us with the Tweet Disclaimer on our blog. Another poster I don't want to miss is the one by Roisin O'Cearbhaill on Carboplatin hypersensitivity reactions in carboplatin treatment for recurrent ovarian cancer . I met Roisin a few years ago at a Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation dinner where she received a grant for her research and having experienced a carboplatin reaction this is of particular interest to me.

I also have set aside time to meet up with other advocates in the Patient Advocate Lounge and look forward to the Tweet-up taking place on Saturday night. Evenings will be busy to with the dinners and receptions and catching up with friends from the Research Advocacy Network.

Be sure to check back frequently for updates from the meeting and if you are on Twitter be sure to follow #gyncsm and #ASCO15 for the latest news.

Lastly, I want to thank the Conquer Cancer Foundation whose support will make this trip and my meeting attendance possible.

Every Day is a Blessing!

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