Live Tweeting #ASCO16 with @LUNGevity

ASCO twitter logo

This year I’ll be live tweeting the big American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting June 3-7 as a Patient Research Representative for LUNGevity Foundation. What does “live tweeting” mean? It means I will be using Twitter to share information from ASCO sessions and  perspectives on the meeting in near real time.

I’ll be tweeting from the @LUNGevity Twitter account (along with Dr. Upal Basu-Roy and Katie Brown) and my own account (@JFreemanDaily).  If you want to find me or other tweeps at ASCO, please come to the Official ASCO Tweetup June 4th at 5:45pm in the McCormick Convention Center Plate Room (South Building, Level 2.5 Food Court).  Hope to see you there!

#LCSM Chat 5/5: Know Before You Go—Conference Prep 101


image by Microsoft Office

Lung cancer patients and advocates are increasingly joining healthcare, pharma, government agency and biotech industry representatives at cancer-related medical conferences such as the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in April and the American Society for Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in June.

Planning ahead for these meetings is essential for getting the most out of your time. The events, which can last several days, often have many sessions happening at the same time in different rooms. In addition to scheduling considerations, the terminology, graphics, and scientific concepts discussed in the sessions can be overwhelming even for seasoned attendees.

Because no one can possibly attend every conference, attendees share the conference experience by posting tweets while at the conference (called “live tweeting”) about significant happenings and new findings. Often, these conferences have specific hashtags–for instance, those attending the ASCO Annual Meeting this year will include #ASCO16 in their tweets. However, live tweeting from sessions presents some challenges, like condensing new concepts into less than 140 characters, and continuing to follow slides while composing tweets.

In our Thursday May 5 #LCSM Chat at 8 PM Eastern Daylight Time (5 PM Pacific), we will share ideas how attendees might prepare in advance to get the most from a medical conference and share their conference experience with others in real time on Twitter. Janet Freeman-Daily will moderate our discussion using the following questions:

  • T1: What tips do you have for getting the most out of a medical conference? How do you prepare?
  • T2: What concepts would be most helpful for patients/advocates to know before attending cancer conferences? Where can they learn these?
  • T3: What tips do you have for live tweeting a medical conference? What kind of live tweets do you value most?

We hope you’ll join #LCSM Chat on Thursday May 5 at 8 PM EDT. If you’re new to tweetchats, please read this primer on how to participate in #LCSM Chats.

Reblogged with permission from the LCSM Chat website.

Patient Advocate Scholarships Available to Attend #ASCO16

Photo shows two mean chatting in the bustle of Annual Meeting.

If you are a cancer patient advocate interested in attending ASCO 2016, consider applying for the Conquer Cancer Foundation Patient Advocate Scholarship Program.

I have attended ASCO’s annual meeting in Chicago for the past two years.  While the five-day conference can be exhausting, it’s perhaps the best way to learn what treatments are up and coming for your type of cancer, become educated about the science behind research and clinical trials, and discover (and even chat with) the experts in your type of cancer.  It’s also a place to meet the people in your cancer community who you might only know online.

The ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) 2016 Annual Meeting–held in Chicago June 3-7–will bring together over 30,000 cancer professionals from around the world for sessions about state-of-the-art treatment, results of clinical trials, as well as policy, advocacy, and survivorship issues.  You might strike up a conversation with a world-class expert in your type of cancer at a poster presentation or even walking between sessions.  The exhibit hall is a great place to learn about new biotech technologies (such as genomic testing panels and liquid biopsies) as well as what’s in each pharmaceutical company’s drug pipeline.

The Patient Advocate Scholarships are intended for expenses related to air or train travel, lodging, and meeting registration for advocates traveling from outside the Chicago area to attend the meeting (which can add up to $2K US or more).  Eligibility is based primarily on financial need as well as advocacy experience and current activities. Applicants will need to demonstrate why they would not be able to afford to attend the ASCO Annual Meeting without a scholarship award, and are encouraged to provide a compelling reason why their attendance at the meeting is vital to their advocacy role(s).

Although the application period for the doesn’t open until April 4, get an early start now on preparing your application –the application period will only open for three days!

Meeting the Chemist

This post originally appeared July 15, 2014, in ASCO’s blog. Reposted with permission.

My first ASCO Annual Meeting was an educational and exhilarating experience. As a science geek, I loved learning about new cancer treatments from leading researchers. But the highlight for me happened in a noisy back corner of a crowded poster session when I met Dr. J. Jean Cui, the chemist who is saving my life.

A little backstory: I was diagnosed in May 2011 with stage IIIa non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). After two series of chemo, two radiation protocols, two recurrences, and promotion to stage IV, I was told I’d be on chemo for the rest of my life. Thanks to “CraiginPA,” who I met in an online support group, I learned about a tumor mutation called ROS1 and arranged to have my tumor tested. I’m now enrolled in the same ROS1 clinical trial as CraiginPA, taking a pill called crizotinib (Xalkori) to suppress my lung cancer. I’ve had no evidence of disease (NED) status since January 2013. I know my cancer will likely return, but for now, life is almost normal.

CraiginPA and I both attended the 2014 ASCO Annual Meeting as patient advocates. We met “in real life” in Chicago the day before the meeting began and attended many sessions together. On the third day, June 1, we went to a lung cancer poster highlights session. Similar to a high-powered science fair, the session featured 25 large posters explaining ongoing studies, each with a researcher standing by to answer questions. One poster described a study of our drug crizotinib for ROS1 in Europe.

While we were tag-teaming the researcher with questions, we noticed two representatives of the pharmaceutical company who makes crizotinib standing nearby. We introduced ourselves and moved to a table to discuss when our trial drug might obtain FDA approval for ROS1.

After several minutes, one of the reps smiled and said, “Jean is here.”

CraiginPA’s face lit up. “She’s the chemist—the lead inventor who developed our drug!”

My geek meter pegged at ecstatic. The chemist who invented the drug that was keeping me alive was HERE!

“If I see Jean, I’ll tell her you’re looking for her,” one of the reps said. They excused themselves to talk to another researcher.

A bit giddy, CraiginPA and I went back to digesting the ROS1 poster. We had started debating where the drug actually bonded with the ROS1 protein on our tumor cells when a smiling young woman approached us.

CraiginPA recognized her instantly. “Jean! So good to see you again.”

I felt like I did when I’d been introduced to idols like Nobel Laureate Physicist Richard Feynman or MD/PhD/Astronaut Story Musgrave. This was not some academic stuck at a bench with glassware and data analysis. This cancer rock star was a real person, and she seemed just as happy to meet us as we were to meet her. How often does a researcher get to see the living, breathing proof that her work saves lives?

We hugged all around and coerced someone into taking a picture with Jean’s smartphone. I couldn’t have grinned any wider.

For the next 20 minutes, Jean fielded our questions about her background, why she chose chemistry as a career, and how her team designed the drug. CraiginPA and I were like two kids getting a peek behind the Wizard’s curtain at the magic of cancer research. We agreed this experience was easily our highlight of the meeting, especially for me since I experienced it with CraiginPA who first told me about this drug.

Later Jean emailed us the picture, along with an invitation to ask her any further questions we might have—a perfect end to an amazing day.

So stop me if you’ve heard this one: a patient advocate, a pharma rep, and a chemist walk into a poster session…