I am really looking forward to the upcoming Breast Cancer Symposium
in San Francisco. For me, the smaller, more intimate setting is what “old” meetings used to be like before we expanded to mega meetings. Not that I have anything against mega meetings but because I think it is wonderful to see so many investigators and clinicians with a passion for breast cancer research and education gathered in one forum. I also feel that the smaller Breast Cancer Symposium fills an important niche for clinicians and young investigators and fellows by giving them a chance to rub elbows and discuss cases with leaders in the field and to present their own research, opportunities not always available at larger venues.
This year, organizers have gone a step further and designated the meeting an “all-access” venue, a reference to the broad scope and multidisciplinary focus of the meeting. “All-access” also refers to the accessibility of faculty, who will be available for questions and discussions beyond presentations. I know that all of us feel it is vitally important to mentor the next generation of researchers and clinicians.
I am honored to join the key opinion leaders who make up our all-star multidisciplinary cast. I will only be able to name a few of the many who will be there. Drs. Lori Goldstein and Richard White (Program Committee Co-Chairs); Drs. Cliff Hudis (President-Elect of ASCO) and Monica Morrow (President of the Society of Surgical Oncology and recipient of the 2012 Gianni Bonadonna award); Dr. Shawna Willey (Past President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons); Dr. Hortobagyi (Past President of ASCO); Dr. Jay Harris (Chair of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber); Dr. Lori Pierce (Radiation Oncology). There are really too many to mention here—please check the BCS site for a complete list of faculty
I still think about last year’s presentation by Dr. Jim Simon (Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology, George Washington School of Medicine) on sexual dysfunction and estrogen therapy as it relates to women with breast cancer. His “use it or lose it” approach and practical advice offered real-life solutions for a common problem that many physicians and patients may be uncomfortable discussing. It’s one example of the everyday useful information that oncologists can take away from the meeting. Enhancing that practical approach, this year’s Symposium seeks to address three major areas of concern for practicing oncologists: What are the burning questions for practicing breast oncologists? What is making oncology practice so difficult? And what are the real challenges in translational research?
Bridging research and practice through dynamic and accessible educational presentations is something I feel passionate about; in fact, it’s one of my major themes for the year. Sharing this concern, Symposium organizers have changed course from previous meetings and structured sessions in ways that translate research results into practical applications. For example, all the Oral Abstract science presentations this year are included in General Education Sessions so that they are all put into context by expert speakers, much like the Clinical Science Symposia sessions at the Annual Meeting.
I am also looking forward to my opportunity to discuss ASCO’s latest venture, the “rapid learning system” known as CancerLinQ™
. ASCO is now entering the assessment phase of this ambitious, multi-phase initiative, which promises to change the way cancer is understood and treated. This “rapid learning system” will harness technological advances to connect oncology practices, measure quality and performance, and provide physicians with decision support in real time. CancerLinQ’s assessment phase is focused on development of a breast cancer–specific prototype, and I will be discussing our efforts in this area at BCS on Friday, September 14.
I hope to see you all there!