As I sit here at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference watching the bustling sea of 25,000 people involved in cancer care, I can’t help but reflect on the path that brought me here. I am not an MD, nor was I really involved in healthcare before my breast cancer diagnosis in 2011. I was thrown into this world because my cells went rogue. Hearing the words “you have cancer” was transformative for me. Once I was through active treatment, I knew that to find meaning in my experience, I needed to channel it to help others who will also hear those words. Or hear those words uttered to someone they love.
The theme of this year’s ASCO conference was “Partnering with Patients: The Cornerstone of Cancer Care and Research.” It felt timely and appropriate that Samira and I attended the conference as patient advocates to help provide that voice and partner with others working to amplify the patient voice. The ASCO conference fell over June 4th, which is National Cancer Survivors Day and it was incredibly moving (and a bit surreal) to celebrate the day here in the hub of cancer innovation.
We will provide a proper recap of the latest and greatest news out of ASCO in our next newsletter, but until then, we will just say that we are leaving Chicago inspired and hopeful. We are ready to head back home and dive back into our work to help make the cancer experience just a little easier for other cancer patients and caregivers. Stay tuned for more information about our digital platform launching this Fall.
Patient advocate Jill Feldman shows the complexity of life for patients at a baseline before even qualifying for a clinical trial.
Dr. Mark Lewis, a doctor and patient, talks about the massive amounts of information patients are searching through on the internet today.