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5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course 5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course

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Unread 12-13-2003, 07:41 PM
5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course

In February, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists are holding their annual conference in San Diego. One of the days is a special program for ovarian cancer survivors. I attended last year in New Orleans and found the day very informative and attended by many extremely bright survivors. My husband and I are planning to attend this year, along with our biking son Jeff.
If anyone is interested, much info can be found on the following link. Just click on the left side where the conference is mentioned.

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Unread 12-13-2003, 08:54 PM
5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course

Hi Karenann...

Doesn't the east coast ever host any conventions or functions?? Seems as if everything is always out in California.
You have alot of clout....Put in a good word for us New York and New Jersey people. LOL

Thanks for the information.

Unread 12-13-2003, 09:53 PM
5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course

Hey Rosalie
The Ovarian Cancer Natl Alliance is holding their annual conference at the end of September 2004 in Washington DC.
Remind me to share the exact dates and hotel name with you.
Their conference last two and one half days, and I know you would enjoy it. And I would love to meet you in person.
oxoxo karenann
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Unread 12-14-2003, 03:48 AM
5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course

Hi, Karenann--

Several months ago, I got an invitation in the mail to the SGO's Annual Meeting in San Diego. I was going to attend until I called to inquire and found out that I would have to pay $350 to register even though I am a survivor. I actually called to register about 4 times and was told 4 different things each time I spoke to someone different about registration.

Once I was told I could only attend the ovarian cancer survivor's course. Once was told I would have to register as an SGO member or non-member. Once I was told I didn't have to pay the general registration, only for any add-ons I wanted to attend. Finally, when I called back for assistance in completing the registration form, they told me they had given me the wrong information earlier and that I had to register as an "Other Health Care Professional/Advocate" and pay $350, plus the cost of all add-on courses I wanted t attend. I was told I could register for the ovarian cancer survivors' course for free, but I told them I was not an ovarian cancer survivor, and wanted to attend sessions either on endometrial cancer, or courses that were related to all gynecologic cancers.

Are you going all the way to San Diego just to attend the half-day ovarian cancer survivors' course, or are you planning on staying for and attending the entire SGO conference? If so, are you required to pay the $350 they're telling me I have to pay, or is there another avenue that you are aware of that I can explore to attend the whole Annual Meeting? Are you aware of other gynecologic cancer survivors besides ovarian cancer survivors attending the conference? After getting the run around, I voiced my extreme displeasure about the SGO requiring survivors to pay as if they were health care professionals.

I was actually thinking about writing to Dr. Kenneth Hatch, the SGO President, to discuss the issue. I believe that paying for a hotel and plane fare from the east coast is enough of an expense without also having to pay so much to register for the course itself. I thought perhaps you might have some insight since I recall that you've mentioned attending these meetings before.

Thanks for your help.

Unread 12-14-2003, 07:55 AM
5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course

Hi MoeKay

The SGO conference is basically for medical doctors practicing in the gyn cancer area and researchers as well.
The ovarian cancer survivors course day was started three years ago, and is just a half day session utilizing some of the excellent gyn onc docs in attendance already for their own conference.
Phila NOCC, of which I am a member, pays to do a special continuing medical education program during the SGO conference. NOCC targets primary care physicians, ob/gyns, and internists who reside in the area of the SGO conference, to come and learn more about ovarian and cervical cancer.
Last year in New Orleans, Phila NOCC sent me to the conference to be our representative at the CME program during the SGO conference. Since it was our money that put on that program.
All of the doctors in attendance pay an extrememly high price for every session they attend. And the conference is huge!!!!
Last year my gyn/onc attended. She told me she would get me into any session I desired. Truth be told, I never saw her face to face during the conference. That's how big this conference is.
Most of the ovca survivors that attend, live locally. However, other ovca survivors who are able, attend as well. As I get more involved in the advocacy for disease, I find I have ovca friends all over the country.
And we love getting together when possible.
So since my biking son was asked to attend this year, my husband and I thought we would go as well. And have a mini vacation in southern Calif.
Hope this gives you more clarity.
oxoxox karenann
Unread 12-14-2003, 09:46 AM
5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course


A couple of weeks ago, I had the SGO send me a copy of the Agenda for the upcoming conference in San Diego. It is not only for physicians and researchers, since a number of the postgraduate sessions listed specifically state that they are open to survivors, including but not limited t the following:

Genetics for the Gyn Oncologist--States that attendance is limited to physicians, nurses, office staff, and survivors.

Therapeutic Touch--Open to physicians and survivors.

Vaccine therapies--Open to all attendees.

(There are many other courses that state that they are open to all conference attendees as well).

I also am looking at a copy of the SGO Presidential Address from a prior SGO Annual Meeting held in San Francisco in 1999. Part of the address states as follows:

"I am convinced that nearly all appropriately informed women with endometrial or ovarian cancer when given the option would choose the surgeon most capable of providing quality cancer care for her specific problem. I am equally positive that each of the cancer survivors in this audience would agree and volunteer their attestations."

So it is apparent that gynecologic cancer survivors are permitted to attend more than just the ovarian cancer course that NOCC holds.

Thanks for your prompt response to my post. I will be writing to the SGO President shortly to see what light he might be able to shed on the role that gynecologic cancer survivors are permitted to play in the SGO's Annual Meeting.

Take care.

Unread 12-14-2003, 10:03 AM
5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course

Hi MoeKay

This is a difficult discussion to have over email. We would be better off chatting on the phone.
NOCC does not put on the ovca survivor day conference. That is sponsered by the SGO or GCF.
NOCC pays for a CME session during the SGO conference for general health care providers that live in the area where the annual conference is held.
NOCC takes advantage of all the cancer docs at the conference, and uses them for the presentation to family docs, ob/gyns, internists etc.
The Natl group of oncology nurses usually have a conference somewhere in the area of the annual SGO conference.
You could attend the SGO sessions, but would have to pay their high entrance fee.
If you are interested in getting more deeply involved as a survivor, are you aware of the peer review panel that the Dept of Defense uses with their research grants?

oxoxo karenann
Unread 12-14-2003, 11:59 AM
5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course


I am already pretty deeply involved as an endometrial cancer survivor. I have spent countless hours over the course of more than two years doing endometrial cancer advocacy in one form or another. I have written letters to gynecologists, gynecologic oncologists, radiation oncologists, national cancer organizations, including but not limited to the SGO/GCF and the American Cancer Society, state and federal legislators, as well as the media, just to mention a few.

I simply was interested in attending the SGO's conference for which I received an invitation in the mail. I can't imagine all the survivors who have attended in the past, and who didn't attend as ovarian cancer survivors like you're doing, had to pay $350 in order to hear the SGO Presidential Address, for example. In any event, even if it were the case that I would need to pay such a substantial sum to attend, I believe the SGO should make that fact clear in their registration materials. In its present form, there is not even a category on the registration for cancer survivors.

Had I known upfront that I would be charged $350 for general registration (plus a separate fee for each additional course I wanted to attend), I would have not wasted an inordinate amount of time on the phone with SGO and GCF staff (who repeatedly gave me conflicting, and incorrect, information about the cost of a survivor attending). Nor would I have spent a lot of time calling hotels in the area or wasting time searching for reasonable airfares. I was operating under the premise that if the SGO sent me an invitation to attend the conference that they would have anticipated I might actually want to attend.

So we'll see what the SGO President has to say on the issue, and who knows? You may end up seeing me in San Diego yet!

Best regards.

Unread 12-14-2003, 11:01 PM
5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course

Hi there!

LMK when you are in San Diego: I live about 120 miles away and could come down and meet you -- whoever is coming!

MoeKay, I had a thought: some of the professional societies have special membership categories for allied health professionals and families. We see this sometimes in the congenital heart disease circles in which I work. If you could join in your capacity as an endometrial cancer advocate, then you'd be able to get the members' rate for the meetings.

A couple of ideas for you: As I'm sure there are exhibitors, among them advocacy organizations, what about appearing as a volunteer? That would get you an exhibitors' badge, which in most instances will get you into plenary sessions at least if not special break-out courses. I've gone to the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology meetings that way, and my only expense was whatever airfare and hotel I needed. Like you, I've often found discrepancies in what I'm charged as an allied health professional, depending upon with whom I spoke.

I sure do hope you can find some way to go to San Diego. I'd love to go too, but am in the middle of a four-day writers' intensive program at UCLA that weekend .

I may have more than an academic interest in GYN cancer; my latest two Pap smears are showing a somewhat unstable situation (it's CIN this last time) and I'm looking at biopsy at the end of the month . So I'd be more than professionally interested in cervical cancer issues as well as the ovarian CA.

Karenann, I sure hope we can find a way to get together in San Diego, although since it's the same weekend, I'm hoping to catch you around that as part of your "mini-vacation." It's nice to have Jeff home, isn't it?

Unread 12-15-2003, 05:15 AM
5th Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor's Course

Hi Audrey

I am sorry to read you are having CIN problems.
We arrive in San Diego late on Feb 3rd, and will be there through the 10th.
The NOCC CME is that Friday, and the Survivor course that Saturday.
Maybe we really could work something out and get to meet in person!!!
Yes, it is wonderful having Jeff at home. His plan is to begin biking back right after the SGO conference, using a southerly route.
Best wishes to you on your upcoming biopsy!

oxoxox karenann

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