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Posted: Sep 04, 2015
Prostate Forum: PCRI has a conference for prostate cancer patients coming up in LA next weekend. Can you tell us a little bit about it? How is this year’s conference different from those in years past?
Dr. Mark Scholz: We’ve got some fantastic speakers this year. One of the most notable is Dr. Anthony Zietman from Harvard University. Zeitman is probably one of the preeminent radiation therapists in the world. He was the President of ASTRO (American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology) last year. He’s a really good speaker. We are very much looking forward to that.
We will have a talk on active surveillance. As you know, that continues to be a hot and controversial topic because it just seems counterintuitive for people to simply watch cancer. We have a pathologist from St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica named Dr. Davis Krasne who has studied this extensively. He is a nice addition, because it’s hard to find people who are outside the surgery and radiation arena that are interested in active surveillance. I believe he’s going to provide a presentation from the patient’s perspective that will be scientifically based, but very practical for our public.
For advance disease, we have Dr. Maha Hussain from Dr. Moyad’s center in Michigan. She’s the Chief of the Oncology Department there. She’ll be presenting on some of the different advanced disease options.
Two favorites that we’ve had before are Drs. John Mulhall and Eugene Kwon. Dr. Mulhall is from Memorial Sloan-Kettering. He is probably the preeminent expert on sexual complications of prostate cancer treatment. Dr. Kwon is a visionary urologist from the Mayo Clinic that has implemented something that is very dear to Dr. Myers’s and my heart: trying to rescue men who have early metastasis and even cure some of them. Oligometastatic Disease. He’s going to show case reports on men with early metastasis who got good results with combination treatments.
I’ll be talking about how to select treatments for relapsed and advanced disease.
Saturday is the meat of the program. We have a lot of educational and starter sessions for patients on Friday. On Sunday, we have the usual break-out sessions where we get patients and doctors more closely connected in smaller groups. Then we follow up with case presentations with a panel at the end.
Prostate Forum: I know last year people found it really useful to be able to speak with the doctors in a smaller group setting after having listened to the presentations.
Dr. Scholz: Yes, that’s really popular because a lot of attendees are trying to get their questions answered. The break-out sessions give them an opportunity to do that.
What is different from previous years is that prostate cancer technology, the treatment of prostate cancer, is progressing so rapidly that it’s really hard to keep up. The people we’ve invited to speak are the doctors who actually know the latest things. They’ve also been selected for their special communication skills, which are really necessary when you have a complex subject like this. They need to be able to translate the information into understandable patient verbiage so that patients can really use it. It’s a combination of having really special people and then trying to get the latest information out, which is always a tricky thing.
Prostate Forum: Can people still register if they haven’t already done so?
Dr. Scholz: Yes, they can still register. I believe the fee is $120 in advance and $150 if it’s on the day that the conference starts.
Prostate Forum: What about people who can’t attend? Are they going to be able to purchase DVDs of the presentations?
Dr. Scholz: There will be DVDs available for purchase after the conference. Those usually come out in December.
Prostate Forum: Who is the Key Note for the Saturday Gala?
Dr. Scholz: The Saturday Gala this year is just going to be about fun. We have a couple of entertainers, some music, and some award presentations. We’re going to give people a break from education for the night.
Prostate Forum: Plus, it gives them a chance to network with other patients, right? A lot of people tell us that that is one of the benefits of coming to conferences like this one is that you get to meet people who are in a similar boat.
Dr. Scholz: I couldn’t agree more. It’s a really important part of it: people meeting people who’ve been through the same thing.
We’re also continuing to push the Shades of Blue concept idea of dividing prostate cancer into five broad categories. The Saturday program will be loosely affiliated with that so people can match the educational information to their own stage of disease.
Prostate Forum: Those five categories refer to risk category, correct?
Dr. Scholz: That’s correct. They are the three risk categories: low, intermediate, and high. The last two categories are: relapsed and advanced disease. That helps people think a little more clearly. You can have someone sitting on one side of you who has a cancer that can be watched and on the side a man who is getting chemotherapy and they both have prostate cancer. Obviously that can be confusing for people. These categories help men sort out why one person can be monitored and another person needs aggressive treatment.
Prostate Forum: What about the clinical trials program that PCRI was working on? Have there been any movements on that?
Dr. Scholz: Yes. We’ll have a new brochure at the conference that explains how people who are interested in clinical trials can go online to pcri.com and connect directly with the doctor running the trial. This hopefully will demystify a lot of the confusion about who is eligible for which trials, what the treatments require. We hope to expedite the whole process. Trials open and close so quickly. People find stuff online and they discover that the trial is already full or it has been closed. This will be real time information about what is actually going on to hopefully get people matched up with the types of trials that will really help them.
Prostate Forum: That is available now on your site?
Dr. Scholz: It is available online. We’ll have presentations about that at the conference, as well.
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