Listen to the “Meet the Mesothelioma Experts” Session with Dr. Joanna C. Horobin

COMMAND trialThe most recent installment of the Meso Foundation’s “Meet the Mesothelioma Experts” series is now available for listening on our website. The session was held on April 8 with Dr. Joanna C. Horobin, the Chief Medical Officer at Verastem, Inc. Dr. Horobin discussed the company’s latest investigational agent, defactinib, which is being developed for use in patients with pleural mesothelioma.

During the call, Dr. Horobin was interviewed by Mary Hesdorffer, the Meso Foundation’s executive director and experienced nurse practitioner. The session focused on learning more about investigational agent defactinib, which is used to delay the time to progression after having a response or stabilization with first-line therapy.

Dr. Joanna C. Horobin, M.B., Ch.B, has been the Chief Medical Officer at Verastem, Inc. since October 2012.

You can listen to the session with Dr. Horobin, as well as past “Meet the Mesothelioma Experts” session here.

Stay Tuned this Fall for Three Regional Conferences on Mesothelioma

conferenceFollowing the successful conclusion of its annual Symposium, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) announced that later this year it will be the host of three regional conferences in Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco, for mesothelioma patients, their families, and others interested in learning about the most up-to-date information on mesothelioma treatment. In a cancer like mesothelioma, for which patients generally must travel far and often just to consult with experts, the ability to meet mesothelioma specialists, listen to their talks, and engage with them one-on-one, without leaving the conference venue, is unique , but also of utmost importance.

“Informed and knowledgeable patients generally can make better decisions regarding their treatment and care than those unaware of all options, side-effects, and other considerations,” said Mary Hesdorffer, experienced nurse practitioner and executive director of the Meso Foundation.

The three conferences, organized in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, and the University of California San Francisco, are meant to provide patients across the country with similar, albeit condensed, benefits of the organization’s annual Symposium (expert presentations, support sessions, socialization with peers and experts), but with less travel and with only a one-day commitment.

The conferences will be scheduled as follows and more information will be made available a thttp://www.curemeso.org. The Foundation encourages everyone interested to sign up for its e-newsletter, through which it will make detailed conference information, including dates, available in the next few months.

September – at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
October – at the University of Chicago (Chicago)
November – at the University of California San Francisco (San Francisco)

Live Broadcast of Mesothelioma Conference for Patients and Family Members

International Symposium on Malignant MesotheliomaThe Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation will provide an online live broadcast of its annual International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma on March 6-7

Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) February 27, 2014

On March 6-7, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) will make available a free-of-charge live broadcast of its 11th International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma. The Symposium is a unique event that covers important treatment information and research advances presented by mesothelioma experts. The Meso Foundation understands that many mesothelioma patients are unable to travel for health reasons, so to ensure the community can still access this life-saving information, live video coverage of most session will be available through the Meso Foundation’s website.

The free live stream is a real-time broadcast of the Thursday and Friday sessions of the Symposium. Only a computer (or smart phone/device) and an internet connection are needed to access the live stream, which will be available athttp://www.curemeso.org/symposium. The same webpage also contains the full agenda of the event.

Some of the topics covered during the Symposium and its live stream include pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, immunotherapy, post-surgical recovery, early detection, novel therapeutics, radiation oncology, chemotherapy: poison or antidote?, chemo brain, survivorship, nutrition, exercise, caregiver conversations, healing from loss of a loved one, getting involved, and an update on the work of the Meso Foundation.

The Symposium is geared to attendees from all walks of life, including patients and their families, advocates, medical professionals, and those who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma. The Symposium will be held from March 5-7 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria Virginia. Symposium events will include an advocacy day on Capitol Hill, science and community sessions, a Celebration of Life ceremony, an Awards Dinner, a Community Dinner featuring the Meso Fighters Band, and more. A full list of events, topics, and speakers can be found at http://www.curemeso.org/symposium.

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor of the lining of the lung, abdomen, or heart known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. Medical experts consider it one of the most aggressive and deadly of all cancers. Approximately 3,500 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year and an estimated one-third were exposed while serving in the Navy or working in shipyards.

ABOUT THE MESOTHELIOMA APPLIED RESEARCH FOUNDATION
The Meso Foundation is the only 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma and easing the suffering caused by this cancer. The Meso Foundation actively seeks philanthropic support to fund peer-reviewed mesothelioma research; provide patient support services and education; and advocate Congress for increased federal funding for mesothelioma research. The Meso Foundation is the only non-government funder of peer reviewed scientific research to establish effective treatments for mesothelioma and, ultimately, a cure for this extremely aggressive cancer. To date, the Foundation has awarded over $8.7 million to research. More information is available at http://www.curemeso.org.

Empowering the Mesothelioma Community

As the time for the Symposium draws near we are all filled with a sense of excitement.  We strive to build upon the momentum gained in prior years and hope that we meet the expectations of both new and seasoned Symposium attendees.  This year we will have a new roundtable composed of patients and healthcare providers.  In this session I hope that we can identify the strengths that allow those with mesothelioma to continue to lead full and rewarding lives.  What does it take to get from the early days of diagnosis to becoming a whole and healthy person who also happens to carry the diagnosis of mesothelioma?  Knowing that you have an incurable disease, do you hope for the best and prepare for the worst?  Is that even possible?  I hope to explore these questions with patients. I also wish to open a dialogue about what it takes to be on the other end of the exam table, as a provider, charged with delivering the news, and then providing hope with reality.  It is a fine balance and the providers we have chosen to partake in this discussion are known for their compassion and honesty.  I hope that by exploring the patient and provider experience we can come away with better communication skills and a better understanding of what it takes to fill either set of shoes.

Physicians’ decision-making style and psychosocial outcomes among cancer survivors. Arora NK, Weaver KE, Clayman ML, Oakley-Girvan I, Potosky AL. Patient Educ Couns. 2009 Dec;77(3):404-12. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

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Measuring therapeutic alliance between oncologists and patients with advanced cancer: the Human Connection Scale. Mack JW, Block SD, Nilsson M, Wright A, Trice E, Friedlander R, Paulk E, Prigerson HG. Cancer. 2009 Jul 15;115(14):3302-11

Which patients improve: characteristics increasing sensitivity to a supportive patient-practitioner relationship. Conboy LA, Macklin E, Kelley J, Kokkotou E, Lembo A, Kaptchuk T. Soc Sci Med. 2010 Feb;70(3):479-84. Epub 2009 Nov 10

Bereavement: addressing challenges faced by advanced cancer patients, their caregivers, and their physicians. Kutner JS, Kilbourn KM. Prim Care. 2009 Dec;36(4):825-44. Review.

Provider Roles

Lately I have noticed that there is a lot of confusion about who to contact and what is the expected role of the various health professionals that you come into contact with. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed you will either have a consultation with a surgeon, medical oncologist or both. There is a distinct advantage to seeing both as their knowledge about each others fields are somewhat limited. A surgeon is not an expert in chemotherapy and often is not aware of the new clinical trials that are available and often times if a surgery cannot be completed as planned will send you back to a local oncologist who also is usually not well informed. If you meet with a medical oncologist with a expertise in mesothelioma then they can discuss chemotherapy options as well as be prepared to take over your care following surgery, in preparation for surgery or when surgery is not an option. Once the surgery is completed and you have been discharged the surgeon has no role in your care. He should not be counted on to give advice regarding chemotherapy or interventional radiology procedures. You need to move on as you are now entering a new realm and your care should be directed by an oncologist who will manage your care for the duration of your oncology needs. Most of the surgeons and oncologist will have either a PA or NP who works closely with them. This is the person who is usually the most accessible and will direct your calls to the physician if there is something that requires more expertise than they have been trained for. The research nurse is responsible for the study that you might be on and there role is to make sure that the requirements of the study are fulfilled, you will need to get clarification of their role as every practice is different. The radiologist who performs your scans is usually not the person who gives you the results and the medical oncologist or surgeon will sometimes need to discuss your history with the radiologist so that they can make some judgement calls with the history factored in. All results are interpreted based on your prior scans, medical history and sometimes with the timing of the chemotherapy. We usually do not release the results to the patient until the physician has signed off and hopefully has had a chance to discuss them with the patient. There is nothing worse than being saddled with bad news from someone who is not able to tell you what you can do to turn the situation around.

~Mary Hesdorffer, NP

Click here to contact Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner or call 877.363.6376