Advocates Engage, Learn at Scientific Conference (Part 2)
Dusty shares reflections and reactions from lung cancer advocates who attended their first scientific conference on lung cancer targeted therapies. Read the first part of this series in Advocates Engage, Learn at Scientific Conference (Part 1).
New opportunities to share experiences
Oncology Nurse Navigator Pamela Boswell, RN, who primarily works with lung cancer patients in High Point, North Carolina, also attended the Targeted Therapy conference. Although she has previously attended many conferences, she said the Targeted Therapy conference was different.
“I had no idea that biomarkers have been studied for such a long time,” she said. “That there are more biomarkers being studied and more on the horizon -- along with medications to target these biomarkers -- is absolutely amazing! The presentations were very well done. Some were more interesting than others, but all were good.”
Even though shelter in place began shortly after the conference, Pam found ways to share her experience with others.
“Immediately following my return from the conference, I received the Lung Cancer Initiative’s Health Care Provider of the year award. I was given an opportunity to share a few words. I shared some things I learned at the conference -- especially how the face of lung cancer is being changed. I also shared with the Triad LiveLung Lung Cancer Support group in March.”
“It is always a great opportunity to network with those who attend and sponsor conferences,” said Pam. “These conferences are platforms that offer sponsors the opportunity to share in the endeavors that have made lung cancer less aboding and fearful and more optimistic.”
A chance to connect with others
Another advocate, Di’Ann Smith, recently relocated to the Los Angels area from North Carolina.
“This was my first conference,” said Di’Ann. “I must say I was a bit overwhelmed. But the highlight for me was having all three of my oncologists there at the same time.”
Prior to relocating to California, Di’Ann was an active member of a lung cancer group in North Carolina and engaged with advocacy. She knew some of the advocates attending the meeting. Di’Ann is planning to help facilitate a new lung cancer group in LA.
“Of course, seeing the other advocates and Pamela Boswell was a big deal for me,” she said. “The other thing I would like to share about is the biomarkers are interesting to me, especially to have recently found out which biomarker I have (ALK).”
How other lung cancer advocates can get involved
Many more advocates attended the Targeted Therapies conference. Each advocate has a different level of scientific knowledge about lung cancer research. At first, it may seem like learning a different language, and in a way, it is.
Some have scientific backgrounds and/or have been involved in advocacy for so long that they present at scientific conferences. But every advocate can benefit from applying themselves to understand the science behind the research. Hopefully, they also will share some of the knowledge they gain. In addition to being a time to learn, these kinds of events are a great opportunity to network with fellow advocates and researchers.
With scientific conferences in the near future being held virtual with no or minimal registration fees for advocates, this is a unique opportunity to participate.
Have you had biomarker testing done?