12th Annual Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference Draws Large Attendance

More than 450 thyroid cancer survivors, family members, friends, and health care professionals took part in the 12th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 16-18, 2009. The annual 3-day conference was sponsored by ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. <www.thyca.org>.

Attendees came from 36 states, Puerto Rico, Brazil, 5 provinces of Canada, and United Kingdom. They included people from children through seniors, from people awaiting diagnosis to long-term survivors of every type of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, anaplastic, and variants.

Highlights of the conference’s 100-plus sessions included more than 45 physician presentations and Ask-a-Doctor sessions covering treatment, initial and long-term follow-up, as well as recent advances in targeted therapies and clinical trials testing new treatments.

The more than 25 physician specialists included several past presidents and current board members of the American Thyroid Association. They came from leading cancer and medical centers around the country, including Boston University School of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Washington Hospital Center, and many other centers.

“We are grateful to the dedicated thyroid cancer specialist physicians who so generously gave of their time in support of patient education, said Gary Bloom, ThyCa Executive Director and a 14-year survivor of thyroid cancer. “Thyroid cancer requires lifelong management, and this conference is designed to help patients manage their care and quality of life over the long term.”

More than 30 additional speakers included nurses, mental health professionals, specialists in complementary approaches to well-being, survivors of each type of thyroid cancer, and caregivers.

“It was truly an empowering experience to meet all other people who are touched by thyroid cancer one way or another, as a patient, a medical professional, or a caregiver,” wrote one thyroid cancer survivor, adding, “Also, it was just amazing to see how a disease like cancer could bring out so much positive energy from people.” Another participant wrote, “I just wanted to thank you for an enlightening and informative Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference!” Another wrote, “That was a fanstastic conference. So much info.”

On the weekend’s Saturday evening, the 8th Annual Dinner/Auction Research Fundraiser raised more than $35,000 for thyroid cancer research. Thyroid cancer survivor Ken Pelt of Wisconsin gave an inspiring appeal for more thyroid cancer research.

ThyCa also announced that it will award new grants for thyroid cancer research in 2010, for the 8th consecutive year. Grant recipients will be selected by an independent expert panel of the American Thyroid Association and the grants are open to researchers and institutions worldwide.

For 2010, ThyCa has scheduled educational and supportive events every month. More than 60 communities have monthly ThyCa Support Group meetings in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica and Philippines; each group has its own web page on www.thyca.org. In addition, during spring 2010, ThyCa will sponsor free one-day educational workshops in locations around the United States, and in Canada. Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, sponsored by ThyCa, takes place during September, together with year-round awareness campaigns for early detection and treatment of all thyroid cancer.

The 13th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference will take place in Dallas, Texas, on October 15-17, 2010. Details are available on our website..

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. is an international nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization of thyroid cancer survivors, family members, and health professionals, dedicated to education, communication, support, awareness for early detection, and thyroid cancer research fundraising and research grants. For more information and free materials about thyroid cancer and ThyCa’s free year-round support services, education, research fundraising, and special events, e-mail to thyca@thyca.org, call toll-free 1-877-588-7904, write to PO Box 1545, New York, NY 10159-1545, or visit our website.