2017 ASCO Annual Meeting Preview and Education Program Highlights

Mar 02, 2017

By Jack Lambert, Staff Writer

Each year, more than 30,000 health care professionals from around the world gather for the ASCO Annual Meeting at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, IL, to learn, share, discuss, and debate practice-changing discoveries in cancer care. We hope to see you there on June 2 through June 6.

Last year, ASCO sought to harness the collective wisdom of its members and Annual Meeting attendees to set a course for the future of patient-centered care and research. This year’s meeting builds on those efforts in order to unite the entire oncology community in the battle against cancer.

Making a Difference in Cancer Care WITH YOU

“Making a Difference in Cancer Care WITH YOU,” the theme developed by 2016-2017 ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO, demonstrates the Society’s commitment to providing the latest science and education around cancer care.

ASCO, and by extension its Annual Meeting, exists solely to improve the care of patients at risk for, or with, or who have survived this terrible disease that affects so many of us and our loved ones, Dr. Hayes explained. Doing so requires not just knowledge, but also an understanding of how everyone in the cancer care community contributes to this shared goal.

“Taking better care of patients with cancer is the ultimate goal of why we do what we do. Although we span many disciplines and professions, we are a single community with a singular focus: to provide better care for patients at risk for or with cancer,” Dr. Hayes said.

This commitment to the multidisciplinary team will be carried through the ASCO Annual Meeting. The Education and Scientific Programs have been designed to showcase, challenge, and enlighten every bright, dedicated individual interested in oncology research, education, and care.

“Whether you are a clinician, a researcher, an educator, or all three; a medical, radiation, or surgical oncologist, or all three; a clinical or a diagnostic physician, or both, ASCO has a multitude of offerings, programs, and initiatives for you,” Dr. Hayes said.

2017 Education Program: Overcoming barriers to high-quality care and research

The key to this year’s Education Program, said Michael A. Thompson, MD, PhD, 2016-2017 chair of the Cancer Education Committee, is breaking down the walls that can divide cancer care.

“As everything gets more complicated, we discover barriers in cancer care,” Dr. Thompson said. “One of the things we are trying to explore is how to overcome barriers to improve clinical cancer care by utilizing cancer research. We want to help our members navigate that process.”

This year’s Education Program theme—“How Can Education Overcome Barriers in Clinical Cancer Care and Cancer Research?”—served as a touchstone for the committee when designing the sessions. Attendees can expect a high-quality overview of best practices, standards of care, and evidence-based medicine across disease sites. Additionally, the Cancer Education Committee has worked closely with the Scientific Program Committee to make sure that a wide range of oncology professionals with differing experiences have a voice during sessions.

The Education Program will feature presentations by some of the top minds in oncology, including both world-renowned professionals and exciting emerging leaders in their respective fields. Session faculty will be inclusive of many specialties and backgrounds, with presentations by medical oncologists, pharmacists, nurses, physician’s assistants, radiation oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, and many other types of health care professionals.

Attendees can expect high-level overviews from the chairs of Education Sessions that emphasize the potentially practice-changing nature of what is discussed. “The idea for the Education Sessions is to help everyone, but especially a general oncologist and people interested in other cancers outside of their main field,” Dr. Thompson said.

Education Program highlights

Value in oncology is an increasingly important topic that has played a prominent role at previous Annual Meetings. That will be the case again this year, with sessions on Improving Quality and Value of Cancer Care for Older Adults (June 2, 4:45 PM to 6 PM), Value-Based Medicine and Integration of Tumor Biology (June 3, 8 AM to 9:15 AM), and Clinical Pathways and New Drug Approvals: Maximizing Value Without Compromising Patient Care (June 5, 3 PM to 4:15 PM).

One of the small changes attendees might notice is the way value is incorporated into sessions, Dr. Thompson said. Instead of overt discussions in every session, the topic of value will be woven throughout educational tracks.

“Value has been a growing topic for the last few meetings, as it grows in importance nationally and internationally,” Dr. Thompson said. “We’re getting more nuanced. It’s not a simple utility-over-cost [equation], because value depends on whose utility and whose cost.”

Another prominent topic this year is the incorporation of technology and social media into research and practice. Don’t miss Social Media 101: A Primer for Professionals (June 2, 1 PM to 2:15 PM) or Using Social Media and Mobile Technology for Cancer Prevention and Treatment (June 4, 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM). Additionally, there is a session on mHealth: Mobile Technologies to Virtually Bring the Patient into Oncology Practice (June 3, 8 AM to 9:15 AM).

The goal of these sessions is to show how doctors can do more with fewer clicks. “We are trying to reassess not just doing technology for technology’s sake, but trying to optimize delivering care to people,” Dr. Thompson said.

The Education Program also reflects the overall meeting theme of “Making a Difference in Cancer Care WITH YOU,” and sessions reinforce the collaborative nature of cancer care. An Extended Education Session will discuss Constructing a Care Team for Under-resourced Populations: Reaching the Hard-to-Reach With a Multidisciplinary Approach (June 2, 1 PM to 3:15 PM). There are also sessions on Patient Communication: Balancing Hope Versus Reality (June 4, 9:45 AM to 11 AM) and Collaborating with Advanced Practice Providers to Optimize Efficiency and Improve Care (June 5, 9:45 AM to 11 AM).

Note: Session dates and times are subject to change; visit am.asco.org to view the most up-to-date program information as the meeting approaches.

Other can’t-miss sessions

The popular Clinical Problems in Oncology and Meet the Professor sessions will return to this year’s Annual Meeting. Clinical Problems in Oncology Sessions combine the use of case-based panel discussion with interactive keypad technology for audience participation. Meet the Professor Sessions enable interactive discussion between attendees and recognized experts in a variety of subspecialty fields.

Both Clinical Problems in Oncology and Meet the Professor sessions are ticketed in order to provide an intimate, personalized learning experience. Visit am.asco.org to add the ticketed sessions package to your registration.

The Annual Meeting also includes a Highlights of the Day Session on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday mornings. At these sessions, expert discussants present key findings and provide an overview of the previous day’s abstract presentations. Oral Abstract Sessions will include didactic presentations of abstracts representing important clinical and translational research findings by topic category. Visit am.asco.org to find more information about session types and for updated program information.

Joint Sessions will be offered with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI).

Clinical Science Symposia offer a forum for science in oncology, providing foundational education on a specific topic along with the presentation of abstracts. In keeping with this year’s collaborative theme, the Clinical Science Symposia were developed by the Cancer Education and Scientific Program Committees in partnership. Both committees have worked together in order to create the best programming possible for attendees, said David C. Smith, MD, 2016-2017 chair of the Scientific Program Committee.

“The real intersection of the Scientific and Education Programs is in the Clinical Science Symposia that go with each of the tracks,” he said. “There we will take abstracts from the Scientific Program and bring science organized around various themes into the Education Program.”

Maximize your education with Pre-Annual Meeting Seminars, Case-Based Courses

ASCO is again offering two types of educational programs prior to the official start of the Annual Meeting: Pre-Annual Meeting Seminars and Pre-Annual Meeting Case-Based Courses. Attendees can register for one seminar or case-based course in addition to their Annual Meeting registration. Both of these educational offerings have been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Pre-Annual Meeting Seminars offer an in-depth and extended educational opportunity dedicated to topics of interest in the oncology community. They will be held onsite at McCormick Place from 1 PM to 5 PM on June 1 and from 7:30 AM to 11 AM on June 2. Seminar registration includes a box lunch on Thursday and a continental breakfast on Friday. Meals will be available 30 minutes before the start of the sessions. Three seminars will be offered this year:

  • New Drugs in Oncology focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of recently approved drugs and those on their way to approval.
  • The Economics of Cancer Care will discuss how treatment costs impact both practice sustainability and patient financial burden, and how to reward therapeutic innovation while managing development costs.
  • How to Integrate Cancer Immunotherapy Into Your Clinical Practice will enable clinical oncologists, nurses, pharmacists, and the entire medical team to effectively offer their patients additional treatment options through immunotherapy.

Pre-Annual Meeting Case-Based Courses offer a flipped-classroom format focused on case-based learning. Courses will be held onsite at McCormick Place from 7:30 AM to 11 AM on June 2. In advance of the meeting, course attendees will receive materials focused on a real-world case to review and prepare for the in-person meeting and panel discussion with recognized experts. Case-based course registration includes a continental breakfast on Friday morning.

  • Hematology for the Practicing Oncologist is cosponsored by the American Society of Hematology and will focus on hematologic issues which medical oncologists commonly encounter in a consultative practice.
  • Genetics and Genomics for the Practicing Clinician focuses on cancer genomics and cancer genetics, with practical applications specifically for the clinician.
  • Improving the Care of Older Adults With Cancer in Your Clinical Practice (new this year!) addresses the needs of older adult patients with cancer from diagnosis through survivorship and practical approaches to incorporating available evidence into a patient-centered model of care.

Abstracts will be released online on May 17, 2017, at 5:00 PM EDT.

The early registration and housing reservation deadline is April 26, 2017. Register by 11:59 PM EDT in order to receive your badge by mail before the Annual Meeting. You can skip the Registration lines upon your arrival at McCormick Place and jump directly into your Annual Meeting experience.

Visit am.asco.org for the most up-to-date information about the ASCO Annual Meeting:

  • Register to attend
  • Make a hotel reservation
  • View the preliminary program
  • Plan your visit to Chicago

Create your personalized Annual Meeting schedule with the 2017 iPlanner starting in mid-April. Download the iPlanner app for your mobile device beginning in May.

The Attendee Resource Center is live and online at am.asco.org/ARC. Find information about networking opportunities, Chicago hotels, onsite services, continuing medical education and maintenance of certification, childcare, and more.

Follow @ASCO on Twitter and use #ASCO17 to keep up with the latest ASCO Annual Meeting news on social media.

Session Recommendations

from the Cancer Education Committee Chair

Having trouble deciding which of the many interesting Annual Meeting sessions to put on your schedule? Cancer Education Committee chair Dr. Michael A. Thompson suggests the following:

  • Collaborating With Advanced Practice Providers to Optimize Efficiency and Improve Care (June 5, 9:45 AM to 11 AM): “As oncologists, we know that there will be more patients with cancer in the future and probably a relatively lower number of oncologists. This session covers how to work as teams and perform more cognitive skills rather than just generating electronic medical records for billing.”
  • Clinical Pathways and New Drug Approvals: Maximizing Value Without Compromising Patient Care (June 5, 3 PM to 4:15 PM): “This session covers the implementation of new research. Instead of taking 10 to 17 years to utilize a scientific discovery, we want people to translate that faster. It can be for precision medicine or non-precision medicine. Testing and incorporating into practice is huge because we’re seeing all these new things, but we don’t know exactly what to do with them yet.”
  • Molecular Oncology Tumor Board: Double-Hit Lymphoma (June 2, 1 PM to 2:15 PM): “Dr. Jason Westin will chair a session about double- and triple-hit lymphomas, which are tricky to understand and treat.”
  • Pain and Opioids in Cancer Care (June 5, 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM): “This session will look at how people are trying to treat pain without over-prescribing. It will also look at interacting with the public on these issues.”

The 2017 ASCO Educational Book is a peer-reviewed, National Library of Medicine–indexed resource containing articles written by Annual Meeting Education Program faculty. Articles highlight current standards of care and future therapeutic possibilities. Visit the Attendee Resource Center in May to read the 2017 ASCO Educational Book online.

The May 2017 issue of ASCO Connection will feature:

  • A preview of the Scientific Program and Plenary Session
  • New features at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting
  • How to personalize your Annual Meeting experience
  • 2017 Special Award recipients
  • Meeting-related apps, publications, online resources, and logistical information

Unrivaled Networking Opportunities

There’s no better place to connect with colleagues, mentors, and collaborators than the ASCO Annual Meeting. Here are just a few of the places to build relationships, all located in McCormick Place:

Trainee and Early-Career Oncologist Lounge
Interact with established ASCO members and receive invaluable career advice and mentoring, and expand your network by meeting other young professionals in oncology.

Networking Cafes
Sit, charge your devices, and connect with colleagues at four Networking Cafes throughout McCormick Place.

Poster Discussion Networking
Meet with abstract authors and discussants following each Poster Discussion Session to learn more about the research and address questions in a networking area right outside the session room.

Women’s Networking Center
Gather with colleagues and discuss pertinent issues that affect women in oncology. Scheduled programming will take place throughout the Annual Meeting. Sign up for Mentoring Office Hours for advice on career goals and professional development.

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