For this year’s Annual Meeting, we have 11 attendees who will serve as Social Champions. Two #ASTRO21 Social Champions, Amishi Bajaj, MD, and Laura Dover, MD, share what they look forward to at the Annual Meeting in Chicago, October 24-27.
Dr. Bajaj: This year’s Annual Meeting promises to be particularly special because it’s the first time we’ll all be gathering in one place since the onset of the pandemic. There is no better time and place to satiate one’s hunger for self-improvement and continued excellence in radiation oncology than the ASTRO Annual Meeting. It’s a five-day buffet featuring the most delectable bites of information, carefully curated for indulgence by all. Being a PGY-4 resident, and having such vast interests, I plan to cover general radiation oncology because it means I get to sample a bit of everything!
I will be sitting at the edge of my seat anxiously awaiting novel, practice-altering data, so I can’t wait for the Plenary session on October 25 with insights into the management of prostate cancer, HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer and node-positive breast cancer. I am also extremely excited for the ASTRO/NCI Diversity Symposium on October 24 (and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Health Care session on October 25 — there’s a DEIH track now!) as well as the disease-site specific, case-based sessions addressing nuances underlying treatment considerations throughout the conference, the biology session on genomic and molecular biomarkers (October 24), the ASTRO/RSS session on heterogeneous tumor dosing and spatial fractionated radiotherapy (October 25) and both Keynotes. As the Junior Chair of Communications for ARRO, I look forward to the ARRO programming on October 23, and as the proud presenter of two posters on early-stage breast cancer and glioblastoma (October 25 and October 27), I can’t wait to also check out the wonderful work done by others, both within breast and CNS radiation oncology, as well as within other areas of study.
I look forward to the practice-changing data, the cutting-edge technology presented by industry exhibitors and the cool Zen Den sessions happening daily in Room W180 as well as the camaraderie with my colleagues. I’m sure the other attendees share our sincerest hopes to optimize therapeutic ratios, feel the same consternation when faced with rock-and-a-hard-place re-irradiation cases and experience the same electrifying jolt evaluating the hotspot on a heterogeneous, ablative SBRT plan for an oligometastasis.
What makes the conference experience so deeply enriching is the ability to discuss presentations with people in real time, so I’m enthusiastically awaiting the opportunity to re-experience that this year for the first time in 19 months.
Dr. Dover: As editor and co-founder of QuadShot News, I use social media to keep a finger on the pulse of what radiation oncologists are curious about, struggling with or celebrating. QuadShot News was created to help keep busy radiation oncologists informed of recent literature and policy updates relevant to their clinical practices. Social media is particularly helpful in broadening familiarity with a variety of strategies of treatment for those who are only exposed to a single practice pattern. Perhaps most importantly, it provides camaraderie among a small field that is often widely dispersed in small pockets throughout the country.
We (co-founder Caleb Dulaney and I) were surprised when a reader nominated us as an ASTRO 2021 Social Champion and are excited to share our ASTRO experience with everyone on social media throughout the meeting. As the largest annual conference for radiation oncology, ASTRO attendees — virtual or in person — can easily be overwhelmed in their attempts to digest the most practice-changing highlights of the conference. We’re here to help. We will be sharing our take-aways in real time across as many disciplines as possible so you can feel like you’re right there with us. Please reach out to us directly if there is a particular trial or concept you’d like us to cover!
Follow the Social Champions and @ASTRO_org with our official hashtag #ASTRO21.