Patient Advocates Join Researchers to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities

Cancer patient advocates take on many roles in their communities. They may go out to churches to promote the benefits of cancer screening, lead patient and survivor support groups, or offer a patient’s perspective on review panels that evaluate research grants. Many times, an experience with cancer pushes people to accept advocacy roles to fill some unmet need or simply to give back.

All of these efforts were on display at this year’s American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved in New Orleans Nov. 2-5. Opening the conference, 10 patient survivors and caregivers of various ethnicities and types of cancers took to the stage to describe how cancer has changed them and what cancer research has given them personally.

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Conference Set to Present the Latest Research and Developments on Cancer Health Disparities

When Michael Lawing was diagnosed with stage 3 renal cell carcinoma in 1997, he knew almost nothing about the disease.

Neither did his local urologist in rural North Carolina.

Within three years, Lawing’s cancer metastasized. His local doctor referred him to a specialist in Charlotte. Under his care, Lawing began a clinical trial of an immunotherapeutic drug. His cancer stabilized. Over the past two decades, he has experienced several recurrences of cancer, but a steady stream of newly approved treatments, most recently the immunotherapeutic Opdivo (nivolumab), have kept his disease under control. He is currently monitored with quarterly CT scans, but is taking no additional medication and experiences no symptoms or side effects.

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Advice from Advocates: How to Navigate the Annual Meeting

Two graduates of the AACR Scientist↔Survivor Program, a special educational experience that gives patient advocates the opportunity to attend and learn from researchers at the AACR Annual Meeting, have put together some tips to help guide advocates who are attending this or any large scientific conference.

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Scientist↔Survivor Program Participants Spend a Memorable Day on Capitol Hill

US Capitol Building

May is National Cancer Research Month, and for the past 10 years, leaders and members from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) have converged on Capitol Hill during May to share how cancer research is saving lives and transforming patient care.

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AACR Annual Meeting 2017: The Patient Perspective

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2017 brought some of the world’s greatest scientific minds to Washington, D.C., to address research challenges in cancer. But significant findings also came from cancer patient advocates and survivors who attended the meeting.

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A Day on Capitol Hill

The AACR is a founder and organizing partner of the Rally for Medical Research, which took place for the fourth consecutive year on September 22, bringing representatives of 300 organizations together in Washington, D.C., to advocate for continued funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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