Lisa Schulmeister, RN, MN, APRN-BC, OCN®, FAAN
Editor-in-Chief OncLive Nursing
Oncology Nursing Consultant, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nursing
Louisiana State Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Louisiana
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is often thought of as an organization for physicians who provide cancer care. However, ASCO offers a host of resources for other cancer care providers and patients with cancer.
For instance, the ASCO Annual Meeting is recognized as a top-notch educational and scientific event, and because it’s not possible for everyone to attend, ASCO is offering its June 2012 Virtual Meeting for purchase via its ASCO University Bookstore (http://store2.asco.org). The Virtual Meeting includes podcasts and iMeeting, a mobile app that enables purchasers to access sessions on their computers, Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPodTouch), Android, or MP3/MP4-compatible devices. For meeting attendees, access to the Virtual Meeting is included with paid registration.
The ASCO website (www.asco.org) also has resources and information for cancer care providers. The ASCO Abstract Database is a repository for meeting abstracts, and the entire collection can be searched at no charge at http://tinyurl.com/bohzgn4. There is a “browse abstracts by meeting” drop-down menu with links to multiple ASCO meetings (eg, annual meeting, breast cancer symposium, molecular markers meeting) held from 2007 on. Another section of the site that many clinicians find helpful is the Practice & Guidelines section, available at http://tinyurl.com/3jzw3v8. Here you’ll find clinical practice guidelines, tools and resources, and clinical evidence reviews. The site has useful information on a variety of topics, including survivorship, fertility preservation, and specific treatment-related issues such as appropriate chemotherapy dosing for obese patients. Clinicians also can access summary slide sets on topics such as palliative care, antiemetics, growth factors, and prevention of venous thromboembolism. ASCO’s website is truly a treasure trove of current, evidence-based information.
ASCO’s Cancer.Net (www.cancer.net) provides news for patients and their families and friends about cancer care and treatment advances announced during the annual meeting. The site also posts scientific news when it becomes publicly available. Patients and their families can sign up to receive the newsletter Inside Cancer.Net. Cancer.Net also can be followed on Facebook or Twitter, where real-time updates are posted. The website helps people with cancer to put complex scientific information into context via its research summaries, audio podcasts, patient education videos, patient advocacy programs, and Annual Meeting Highlights of the Day. Cancer. Net also is home to information on clinical trials, side effect management, coping, survivorship, 120 types of cancer and cancer syndromes, and more. Content is written in simple, easy-to-digest language and verified by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board. It is also available in Spanish.
ASCO notes that well-informed patients are their own best advocates and invaluable partners to their cancer care providers. Patient advocates may attend the ASCO Annual Meeting at a discounted registration rate and are offered a wide range of opportunities in connection with the event, including a pre-meeting webinar on research highlights that occurs at the same time the ASCO news embargo lifts, so participants receive timely access to this information and are able to ask questions of ASCO experts. At the annual meeting, ASCO provides a lounge where patient advocates can gather in a relaxed environment to take a break, use computers, and network. Patient advocates can also set up exhibit booths during the meeting, a great opportunity for them and for providers who stop by to view the displays.
Next year’s ASCO Annual Meeting will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago May 31-June 4, 2013. If you’re not able to attend in person, remember that you’ll be able to attend virtually. And in the meantime, check out the valuable resources available on ASCO’s website at www.asco.org.