Bringing the Cancer Community Back Together at ASCO Annual Meeting: Why It’s So Important for Cancer Care

June 2, 2022
Jyoti Patel, MD, FASCO

For our worldwide cancer community, the first weekend of June means the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting is here. I am excited to once again attend this meeting that draws together cancer researchers, health care providers, advocates, and people with cancer from around the world in my hometown of Chicago, Illinois, this year from June 3 to 7. After 2 years of attending the meeting virtually, we will once again be able to meet both in person and online. Together, we will learn about and discuss important issues and ongoing controversies in cancer care, including in cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and surveillance across many different cancer types and among different care providers.

This year’s theme of “Advancing Equitable Cancer Care Through Innovation” highlights the need to find fresh solutions that improve the lives of those touched by cancer, regardless of their circumstances. This theme captures how much cancer care has evolved and transformed through a pandemic that has changed medical care, highlighted health disparities, and demonstrated how international scientific collaboration can speed up discovery.

Since 1965, the ASCO Annual Meeting has brought together oncology professionals for a clinically focused scientific meeting. In past years, more than 25,000 oncology professionals would come to Chicago for 5 days of cutting-edge scientific programs. The knowledge they gained was then taken back to their clinics, where it had a direct impact on patient care. In 2022, the meeting has evolved. We expect about 20,000 attendees in person, but the meeting can now reach an even larger audience virtually with over 85 livestream sessions, interactive media platforms, and on-demand capabilities.

This year, following the themes of equity and innovation, key presentations will focus on new treatments and better use of existing treatments. The advent of telemedicine, for example, has fundamentally changed the cancer experience for patients, their families, and health care providers, and there have been significant efforts to rethink clinical trial eligibility requirements so we can more accurately study new treatments in people who match the patients we see in our clinics. It’s gratifying to see how the impacts of a clinical trial can be translated to the patient I will see in my office the following week.

I am looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues, discussing new therapies, and sharing lessons learned at the ASCO Annual Meeting. To me, the meeting represents the best of what we do as a cancer community, and I know I will be recharged and even more committed to my work. By sharing information, adhering to the most rigorous scientific standards, and by never taking our focus off the patients at hand, we can positively impact cancer outcomes. 

Visit the Cancer.Net Blog each day of the meeting (June 3-7) for scientific highlights from the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting and read how the new research may affect the care of people with cancer. You can also keep up with the meeting’s news by following Cancer.Net on Facebook and Twitter, where you can follow the #ASCO22 hashtag.

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