9th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Conference Draws Big Attendance; Survivors Begin Planning 2007 Conference, To Be Held in San Francisco, California11/2006
The 9th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Conference sponsored by ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association (www.thyca.org) brought together more than 400 hundred survivors, caregivers, families, and health care professionals and other experts to learn the latest about thyroid cancer and share their experiences. They heard from experts and learned how to get support if living with thyroid cancer.
Participants came from 37 states, from Alaska to Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia, 3 Canadian provinces, Costa Rica, and United Kingdom. The annual conference took place October 27-29, 2006, in Orlando, Florida. The weekend combined education, support, and skills for coping with the emotional and practical aspects of living with thyroid cancer.
Survivors ranged from a newly diagnosed 13-year-old to a 42-year survivor. They chose from 115 sessions led by more than 60 speakers. Attendees included survivors of every type of thyroid cancer—papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic. Among them were many newly diagnosed, as well as long-term survivors and those with advanced metastatic disease.
- Speakers included three American Thyroid Association presidents: David S. Cooper, M.D., 2006-2007 President; Ernest L. Mazzaferri, M.D., Immediate Past President; and Past President Carole A. Spencer, Ph.D.
- 23 Physicians, a Pharm.D, and 3 Ph.D. scientists led more than 50 sessions on diagnosis, care in the first year and over the long term, research advances, and clinical trials. Speakers came from the Cleveland Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Ohio State University, University of Florida, University of Miami, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and other major centers.
- Spanish-speaking endocrinologist Beatriz Tendler, M.D., University of Connecticut Health Center, helped the Spanish-speaking attendees.
- National Memory Champion Scott Hagwood, thyroid cancer survivor of North Carolina, led a memory skills workshop; and Michael Desiderio, M.B.A., of Arizona, medullary thyroid cancer survivor, and Cheri Wallace Lindle, M.Ed., of Oklahoma, founder of ThyCa's Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer E-mail Support Group, led communications skills sessions.
- Special guest at Saturday evening's Research Benefit Dinner/Auction was Thurman Thomas, retired star running back noted for 4 Super Bowl and 5 Pro Bowl appearances. He spoke of his loss of many family members to cancer, and his support of cancer research. Michael Desiderio, medullary thyroid cancer survivor, presented the evening's keynote.
- Speakers also included 2 mental health professionals; 3 attorneys specializing in health insurance, employment, and disability; financial and household management educators; and a nutrition specialist.
- More than 30 survivor/caregiver roundtables focused on living with each type of thyroid cancer, being in a clinical trial, being an effective self-advocate, voice issues, caregivers' needs, and many other topics.
Some attendee comments:
- "This was my first conference and I left there feeling both supported and educated," wrote an attendee from Colorado.
- "What a warm, loving, comforting atmosphere to walk in to my first conference!! Thank you all so much for giving me the gift of the first time in 2 years feeling like I belonged again. It's a blessing to have such a big family. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" wrote another participant.
- "The information far exceeded my expectations! I will never miss another conference," commented another attendee.
- "I've learned so much. Many questions have been answered and I know more about managing my medications and other issues. You have provided incredible speakers," wrote another.
- Another said, "ThyCa's web site, conference, and volunteers in addition to other survivors, have been the best follow up to treatment that I could have imagined. Thank you for making it all possible!"
- "It was my first conference-and what a great informative, educational, and supportive conference. I'M SO GLAD I ATTENDED THIS CONFERENCE! I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO ATTEND FUTURE CONFERENCE," wrote a Florida attendee.
- "Providing support and education to everyone affected by thyroid cancer is the heart of our mission," ThyCa Board Chair Gary Bloom of Olney, Maryland, an eleven-year thyroid cancer survivor. "We thank all our speakers who gave so generously of their knowledge and time, and all the volunteers, including many unable to attend, who made the conference possible. The conference information will help us continue to expand our educational web site, so that people worldwide will benefit from this important event."
- "We're excited that next year's conference will be in California. We invite everyone to attend the 10th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Conference in San Francisco, California, October 19-21, 2007," said Bloom. "Throughout the year we welcome everyone to visit our web site and attend our monthly local support group meetings, as well as our one-day regional workshops already being planned for the spring."
ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc. is a national voluntary nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization of thyroid cancer survivors, families, and health care professionals, advised by thyroid cancer specialists and dedicated to education, support, communication, awareness for early detection, and thyroid cancer research fundraising and research grants.
For more information about ThyCa's free year-round support services, education, and publications, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call toll-free 1-877-588-7904, write to PO Box 1545, New York, NY 10159-1545, or visit the ThyCa web site.