By Bruce J. Roth, MD, Member, 2013 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium News Planning Team Chair, ASCO’s Cancer Communications Committee
The ASCO-cosponsored Genitourinary Cancers Symposium is a well-known thematic meeting respected for its multidisciplinary scope and content. The GU Symposium is also the result of the collaborative efforts of committee members from all sponsoring organizations. The cooperation between these groups yields a unique experience for attendees that cannot be duplicated in any other format, and it also provides unparalleled opportunities for networking within one’s field and beyond.
I have witnessed the collaborative nature of the Symposium firsthand in previous years as a member of both the steering and program committees for the GU Cancers Symposium, where members of the co-sponsoring groups (SUO, ASTRO) provide suggestions for topics and speakers that I, as a medical oncologist, could simply not have come up with. The driving force for me to attend is the opportunity to meet and listen to alternative viewpoints of urologists, radiation oncologists, imaging experts, and others that I would normally not have the opportunity to experience firsthand. For me, one of the best presentations of the past couple of years came from a nephrologist, who gave an eye-opening presentation on the complications of and life expectancy with renal dialysis—important information for those of us that have, on occasion, the option to deliver therapies that might render a patient anephric.
Certainly, this year’s GU Cancers Symposium provides another opportunity for individuals with common interests to network on a professional and social level. The chance to discuss difficult cases with colleagues, mentors, former trainees, and world-renowned experts in the field for several days is motivation enough to attend. Layer on top of that the first presentations of cutting-edge research and it’s difficult to imagine a more productive and enjoyable three days.
At the 2013 GU meeting, 475 abstracts will be presented, and didactic sessions will kick off with the keynote address on personalized medicine by Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, from the University of Michigan, one of the leading voices in the field of prostate cancer genomics. Additionally, there will be a session on renal carcinoma dedicated to risk evaluation and clinical decision-making; discussions on imaging, pathology, radiology and molecular diagnostics; translation research-themed general sessions; Best of Journal sessions on prostate cancer and renal cell carcinoma; and interactive sessions featuring the Audience Response System as well as electronic Q&A.
My suggestion would be to use the available links to scan the scientific program prior to your arrival in Orlando and also learn more about the professional networking opportunities available via social media and here on ASCOconnection.org. Take advantage of the tools this site has to offer—post your own content in the Discussion Forums, ask questions, comment on blogs by leaders in the field, start a Working Group, create a user profile with your photo and CV, and generally look for opportunities to network before, during, and after the Symposium. To post content on the site, simply log in with your ASCO.org member or guest account username and password.
Whether you are a trainee, a generalist looking to “fine tune” your knowledge of genitourinary malignancies, or a grizzled GU subspecialist seeking some fresh perspectives on these diseases, the 2013 GU Cancers Symposium has much to offer. And all of us at ASCO sincerely hope you will find it an enjoyable and productive experience.