Bladder Cancer Think Tank 2011
Friday – Day 2
More than 100 leading doctors, researchers, patient advocates, and industry representatives have come to Coronado, California to talk about ways to improve bladder cancer care at BCAN’s 6th Annual bladder Cancer Think Tank Meeting. The meeting started on Thursday. Learn more about the work done on Thursday. The meeting ended Saturday, with another day of incredible work. We had a full day of meetings on Friday, starting with an update from three groups – Data Mining, Standardization of Care, and Survivorship - that have been working on projects since the 2010 meeting.
In the past year, the Data Mining group has put together a handbook with guidelines on how to collect data (like patient information and tissue samples) for bladder cancer. To conduct their studies, researchers need databases with lots of samples collected in the same way. This handbook will help guide the development of these databases.
The UCLA study released a few weeks ago showed that many patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer are not getting the recommended care. The Standardization of Care group is taking it one step further, and studying whether patients with advanced disease are getting the recommended treatment. If patients aren’t getting the recommended treatment, the group is asking the doctors why not. For instance, was the patient not eligible for the treatment? Did the patient refuse it? The group is looking primarily at the use of chemotherapy before or after radical cystectomy, surgery to remove the bladder.
This year has also been a busy one for the Survivorship group. Their major project in the past year has been the development of a Bladder Cancer Patient Care Plan – a single document filled out by a doctor or nurse that is a record of treatments received, doctors seen, and resources available. A document like this can be taken from your urologist to your primary care physician to show what your bladder cancer treatment includes, or to a new urologist if you have to switch doctors and want to tell them what your treatment has been so far. The care plan has been tested in focus groups, and now we are planning to test it in clinical settings. The Survivorship group has also been working on the patient tip sheets that your tips have made possible – we’re looking to publish the first of the tips in the next two months, so keep an eye on this page!
The day included two great panel discussions. The first discussed ways to potentially better predict who will respond to chemotherapy before surgery to remove the bladder, how we could find markers to better match patients to treatments that will work for them, and what we can do to develop new treatments. The last panel of the day talked about what we can do to improve the clinical trials system. Clinical trials are needed to evaluate new treatments and compare them to older treatments. Unfortunately, many bladder cancer trials are closed because they do not attract enough patients. We need to work with patients like you to find out what would make you want to participate in a trial, or what would make you not want to participate. Susan, a bladder cancer survivor, presented on her experience participating in a clinical trial.
One of the highlights of the day was presentations from our four John Quale Travel Fellowship award winners. The Travel Fellowship makes it possible for four young doctors and researchers to attend the annual Bladder Cancer Think Tank and present on their latest research. This year’s winners presented on topics ranging from using molecular markers to predict bladder cancer risk to studying “hot spots” across the country where there are more cases of bladder cancer than we would expect. Learn more about the four fellows.