The ASCO Annual Meeting is the most important oncology meeting in the world, with more than 30,000 attendees and hundreds of presentations. Over the last few years, we posted tips on how to navigate the ASCO Annual Meeting to get the maximum benefits of the events. These are my updated tips for the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting:
1. Review the Meeting program as early as possible and register early for ticketed sessions, as it will be difficult to find a seat onsite if you want to attend specific sessions. Familiarize yourself with the various types of activities, including Education Sessions, Oral Abstract Sessions, Poster Sessions, etc.
2. Pay attention to Thursday and Friday Pre-Annual Meeting Educational Programs, as there will be a number of interesting case-based discussions and seminars. (New this year is a case-based course on improving the care of older patients in your practice.)
3. Save time and download the Annual Meeting Proceedings and ASCO Educational Book to your computer, e-reader, tablet, or iPad before you arrive in Chicago. You will find these materials and other tools on the Attendee Resource Center (log in with your ASCO.org username and password to access all the features and resources). If you received your badge in the mail ahead of the meeting, and have downloaded your materials in advance, you can skip the Registration line when you arrive and go straight to your first session.
4. Make a calendar of activities you'd like to attend using the iPlanner on your computer. In May, search “ASCO” in your app store to download the 2017 iPlanner app on your mobile device. If you are interested in specific tracks (breast cancer, lung cancer, etc.) you can follow the program track on the iPlanner. Use the iPlanner mobile app to claim CME for each session you attend, and give the sessions a quick thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating.
5. Never miss the morning Highlights of the Day Sessions, in which there will be a review of best presentations from the previous day. They take place on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday from 7:30 AM to 9:15 AM.
6. Do not miss the Plenary Session, as selected high-quality abstracts are presented there. The Plenary Session will take place on Sunday, June 4, from 1 PM to 4 PM. You can watch in person in the North Building, Hall B1, or you can watch the session via live simulcast in the East Building, Hall D1, and on ASCO Live TVs located throughout McCormick Place.
7. Read ASCO Daily News to grasp the big picture. You can pick up each day’s edition when you arrive at McCormick Place. The online publication will have exclusive video interviews and clips from Meeting Videos. As you’re leaving McCormick Place at the end of each day, pick up a copy of the ASCO Daily News Evening Edition to see previews of the next day’s sessions.
8. Ancillary Educational Events, organized by accredited educational providers, will be offered in the evenings. Participants can earn CME credit.
9. Have a set time for networking and catching up with colleagues. Use the “Find A Colleague” function on the Attendee Resource Center during the Meeting to find out if colleagues are attending and send private messages.
10. Everyone is invited to network and socialize on the outdoor terrace at McCormick Place from 4 PM to 6 PM on Friday through Monday. This is a good opportunity to meet colleagues, friends, and new contacts in a casual setting.
11. Schedule time for fun and leisure, especially before or after the meeting. Chicago is one of the best cities in the world.
12. Stop by ASCO Central and the Member Services booths in the Oncology Professionals Hall to hear more about the advantages of this great Society. Get technology support from the help desk in the Concierge Services area for your apps and devices.
13. Stop at the exhibits in the Oncology Professionals Hall and look for opportunities to learn about or collaborate on upcoming studies, projects, and events.
14. If you are interested in a specific poster, be there in the first hour of the Poster Sessions as presenters will be near their posters. If you need additional information from the presenter, you can exchange contact information.
15. Take advantage of Poster Discussion Networking, where you can meet with abstract authors and discussants following each Poster Discussion Session to talk more about the research and ask questions. The networking area is right outside the session room.
16. Most importantly, prepare notes for your post-ASCO Annual Meeting presentations at your institution or region. Take advantage of asking the authors about certain information you need to complement the abstract’s limited information. This means you have to identify abstracts of interest the day before the meeting and list your queries or questions. Most abstracts will be released online May 17 at 5:00 PM EDT.
17. Registered attendees receive complimentary access to this year’s Meeting Slides. You can use these slides to prepare your own educational presentations.
18. If there is a conflict between two interesting activities, don't worry—you can view any sessions you've missed through Meeting Videos. If you registered for the Annual Meeting, you receive complimentary access to Meeting Videos.
20. If you are traveling to the Annual Meeting from outside the United States, ASCO has information for international attendees on the Attendee Resource Center, including an explanation of the visa process.
Originally published May 7, 2012; updated April 20, 2017.