The premier oncology conference just concluded their 2012 annual meeting for cancer health professionals. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) hosts this conference where all disciplines of oncology are represented by the ACSO’s 30,000+ membership. This includes medical, surgical and radiation oncologists.
ASCO is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to conquering cancer through research, education, prevention and delivery of patient care. The term ‘cancer’ includes over 200 dissimilar diagnoses. If you or a loved one are dealing with a cancer diagnosis, knowledge that is disseminated from ASCO is current on research and scientific studies that affect new drugs and treatment options. Hopefully, your oncologist will access this information in a timely manner and discuss with you if applicable for your situation. However, your oncologist may have limited time and access to ASCO’s resources may be less frequent than desired. That is where YOU – the empowered, informed patient or family advocate can access scientific data as soon as it is released to medical professionals. Read what your doctors are reading….maybe even before them!
The annual conference is a platform for announcing new findings from cancer clinical trials. Highlights from this year’s conference can be found on their site at http://chicago2012.asco.org/
The Journal of Clinical Oncology is an authoritative cancer resource published by the organization and read by many oncology professionals. http://jco.ascopubs.org/
Another outlet that the ASCO utilizes to distribute their information is Cancer.net. http://www.cancer.net/ This is a website developed specifically for cancer patients. In addition to up-to-date treatment options, Cancer.net allows you to locate an oncologist based on your specific cancer diagnosis. That is the most important decision you will make during your road to recovery. You need to select an oncologist that is an expert in YOUR specific cancer diagnoses. You don’t want the leader of your ‘team’ to have experience with a small number of similar cases as yours. You want an oncologist who primarily or solely works with your cancer type.
A major initiative that ASCO is undertaking is called CancerLinQ. This is a central knowledge base that will aggregate information from patients’ electronic health records, clinical trials and published reports. It is a real-time decision support tool for oncologists to use with their patients based on shared data from other patients, researchers and oncologists. The first assessment phase prototype will be conducted on breast cancer.
Once CancerLinQ is ready for oncologists to apply to their practice, you should ask members of your oncology team if they are utilizing this tool to help formulate a personalized treatment plan for you.
For more information about the American Society of Clinical Oncology, you can visit http://www.asco.org/