The Urology Care Foundation’s “Patient Advocacy Hub” is held every year at the American Urological Association Annual Meeting (AUA) in May and, with 23 patient advocacy groups participating, this year’s event was the largest and most vibrant to date. Here, Patricia Banks, director of marketing and communications at the American Urological Association, discusses the highlights for 2016.
Events ranging from networking breakfasts to “Sharing Our Priorities” sessions gave patient advocates exposure to the urology community, ample opportunity to meet some of the leading names in urological medicine, and occasion to network with other like-minded patient advocacy groups. Participants were able to share and gather insights into the latest research, education, and legislative priorities in the area of urology. There was also potential to create new partnerships and alliances, and to meet industry partners to discuss support for existing or upcoming initiatives.
Sharing knowledge and setting standards
Central to the ethos of AUA is to set the highest standards of urology education, and AUA 2016 continued this rich tradition of assembling thought leaders from around the world to provide the very latest advancements in urologic medicine. More than 2,700 studies were presented at the annual meeting spanning all fields of urology and covering late-breaking science, new clinical guidelines, innovative surgical techniques, debate, hot topics, and perspectives from globally-renowned leaders in urology.
Over-arching topics likely to be of most interest to patient advocacy groups include addressing the controversy around prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing, especially in light of results from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer (PLCO) screening trial, transitional urological issues in people with conditions such as spina bifida and multiple sclerosis who are now living much longer and overactive bladder syndrome. In a similar vein to Astellas’ second annual patient advocacy summit 2016, there was also discussion regarding clinical trial access as well as debate around new research on forthcoming guidelines in benign prostatic hyperplasia, erectile dysfunction, and bladder cancer.
Key talks for patients
Among the vast number of presentations at the conference, there were some stand-out talks that are of particular interest to patients. The “AUA2016 Town Hall: Optimizing Quality of Life in Patients with Advanced Cancer” talk assembled an astonishing range of specialists, from psychiatrists to nutritionists, all exploring the ways in which to improve the quality of life of those with advanced cancer. This year’s AUA2016 Ramon Guiteras Lecturer, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, discussed his extraordinary “Cancer MoonShot” 2020 initiative that aims to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy in cancer treatment. And Tom F. Lue also featured as the John K. Lattimer Lecture to discuss the latest advances in erectile dysfunction.
With a vast array of topics covered over the four days, this year’s Urology Care Foundation’s “Patient Advocacy Hub” received tremendously positive feedback. Our “Meet and Greet”, “Sharing Our Priorities”, and “Take Home Messages” sessions were given the greatest praise from attendees, with many even describing the event as “the best year ever”.