The second day of SABCS 2021 was quite a whirlwind and I’m still adjusting to the level of activity and brain/focus requirements. Getting a good night’s sleep after the intense day on Tuesday was key and my roommate, the amazing Laura Carfang, of SurvivingBreastCancer.org, left me to snooze while she headed off to the early poster session this morning. I attended some of the sessions through Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation while continuing to be cozy in my bed and then headed over to the convention center for the day.
A poster session is literally a big room filled with these huge posters explaining something. Some of the posters have pictures, some don’t and some have the font set so small that one must get pretty close to the actual paper to read it; it’s a challenge to get all that the authors want/need to say included. The posters are usually printed on paper, but sometimes other media. The poster author or someone who understands the research will stand next to the poster during the designated poster sessions and explain what it shows. Here are some pictures from poster sessions so you can get a sense of what it is like — the ones from this year are where people are wearing masks!
Research is usually included in a poster session when it’s not quite ready for “prime time” or the big sessions where the authors are up in front of everyone to report their findings. Typically, the research done by the non-profits or patients or from the “softer” sciences like psychology are also relegated to the poster sessions. It was during a poster session in 2019 that the first in person GRASP teams discussed the selected posters, an experience that I have fond memories of and I found myself looking for the pictures of Amanda de Fiebre, which is how we marked the posters involved. This year, I’ll be participating in virtual poster discussions with GRASP next week, which has become the model during COVID.
For the first time, today, I had the pleasure of being a mentor at the Career Development Forum where scientists at the beginning of their careers get advice from scientists and patient advocates. It was so interesting to be talking to people who are on the cusp of doing amazing things and to get them to think about how they treat patients as people and get patients involved every step of the way as they think big thoughts and work to answer vexing and puzzling questions. I learned a lot and I’m hopeful that the other participants did too.
Throughout the day and in between meetings and sessions, Laura and I rotated back and forth from the SBC table, where her mom, Carol, has spent most of the conference. We had the pleasure of talking with patient advocates, doctors, researchers, other exhibitors, etc., all about the services we offer. During one such time at the table, we had the pleasure of spending some time with Gary Thompson, proud dad of Kyle Thompson, who has brought #pinkkids to SurvivingBreastCancer.org. Meeting people for the first time in real life when you’ve “known” them for a bit online is an odd experience that I think I’ve just gotten used to because it happens so often at these conferences. We took a picture to memorialize the meeting, of course.
It is difficult to explain the energy and the motivation that just comes naturally when at a conference like this. Hope is in the air and the possibility of finding ground breaking medication and, perhaps even a cure, suddenly actually seems like a possibility. Dinner was provided by the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation during the Hot Topics session, where doctors at the top of their game talked about what they think we all need to know from the first two days of the conference.
Outside of the updates from various trials and the research in the works from the poster sessions, a high point of today was learning about the success so far of an oral SERD (this would replace the shots I have to get monthly!). One step closer to the possibility of taking a pill versus getting shots for someone like me!
And here’s some info about the amazing information to be presented at the conference about Inflammatory Breast Cancer:
Whew, what a day! And we will do it again tomorrow!