I have been very negligent in not writing about my experience at the American Association of Cancer Researchers (AACR) annual meeting that I attended last month. I found that there was so much information, experiences and emotions that I came away feeling very awed and somewhat over whelmed by the experience. I am still trying to organize the information and feelings.

I guess its best to first explain what the AACR is and what it does in the cancer world. Their main goal is very simple, to secure cures for cancers and to prevent cancer from occurring! I think we all would agree that these goals are rather impressive and important.

It is only through research that cures for cancers will be discovered and then made available to patients. So, research they do, from basic science to genomics, cellular biology and on to learning about survivorship and its implications to everyday people.

The AACR boasts of a membership of over 27,000 cancer researchers who span the entire earth. Their members work in a myriad of settings: in laboratories and clinics, universities, medical centers, government and industry. Having had the opportunity to have met a few of them, I can say that these 27,000 men and women are among the smartest and most dedicated I people I have ever had the good fortune to meet. Being a three-time cancer survivor myself, I do feel a level of good fortune knowing that these, so very smart and dedicated people, are working so tirelessly to help me.

How does the AACR support these researchers and hope to accomplish these goals. Their web page answers part of this question https://malecare.org)

To that end, the AACR:
• Publishes six peer-reviewed scientific journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research.
• Publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors, patient advocates, their families, physicians and scientists. It provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship, and advocacy.
• Convenes topical scientific conferences and an annual meeting that draws more than 17,000 participants from the cancer research community.
• Offers workshops, fellowships and grants for early-career investigators and investigators-in-training.
• Collaborates with cancer survivors, raises public awareness of the progress in and cause for hope in cancer research and advocates for strong federal research funding

I do urge that everyone take the time to visit and explore their web pages. The point of entry is at: https://web.archive.org/web/20140625044753/http://www.aacr.org/default.aspx.
If you go back over many of my prior posts, you will see many of the scientific items I have written about are taken from research that I learned about at the conference. Many of these researches have continued an e-mail conversation with me about their work. They have been open and appreciative of feedback and suggestions that I have offered, even though I am not a scientist. This openness is consistent with the general philosophy of the AACR that survivors not only have a stake in the researcher’s eventual endpoint, but we also have a stake in the on-going process.


Joel T Nowak MA, MSW