Our second educational forum for anal cancer thrivers on May 13 in San Francisco was an unforgettable evening! With the largest gathering of thrivers to date and individuals coming from as far as Texas and Oregon, the room was filled with anticipation and hope as the evening began. Many came to learn from clinicians, while others attended to be in a room of peers and absorb the knowledge of their shared experiences.
Dr. Joel Palefsky, a co-organizer of the event, opened the forum with a welcome to attendees and a discussion of the upcoming AnCHOR study which seeks to establish treatment options for people with anal pre-cancer. He introduced Foundation Executive Director, Justine Almada, who shared her family’s experience with anal cancer and spoke of the isolation that often comes with an anal cancer diagnosis. To end this for the people in the room, Almada asked attendees to introduce themselves to the individuals sitting next to them.
For many, it was the first time they had met another anal cancer thriver.
Next the audience heard from four clinicians: Dr. Albert Chang - Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Katherine Van Loon - Medical Oncologist, Dr. Allison Palandrani - Pelvic Health Provider, and Dr. Michael Berry - Provider at the Anal Neoplasia Clinic. The clinician presentations can be viewed on film here. (If you are looking for more educational information, please also see the presentations from our event at Memorial Sloan Kettering.)
Three thriver panelists shared their personal experiences with anal cancer. Their words echoed true for many in the room. After all panelists spoke, the formal discussion ended with questions from the audience. T
Our community is filled with strong, passionate and determined individuals who continue to amaze us. We thank them for sharing their personal journeys and allowing us the opportunity to learn from them.
At the end of the evening, there was an opportunity for individuals to meet and mingle. This was an emotional time for many. Friendships were forged and experiences shared.