Advocacy

IMig Conference Helps Outreach Team Assist Mesothelioma Patients

Written By:
May. 05, 2021
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Written By: Missy Miller,
May 5, 2021

The Medical Outreach team of The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com attends conferences throughout the year in its role as one of America’s leading patient advocates.

May 7-9 is the 2021 International Mesothelioma Interest Group conference, which could be the most important one of all.

It is the largest, most prestigious gathering of diverse disciplines in the world focused only on mesothelioma cancer.

When it comes to advancing the care of patients with mesothelioma, this is the conference we most look forward to. Through this conference we learn about the very latest and greatest mesothelioma developments from around the world.

The iMig conference is an invaluable resource. We absorb knowledge that we can then pass on to our patients to provide them with the help that most fits their needs.

At this gathering, the most brilliant medical minds all come together for a single purpose, which is advancing the treatment of mesothelioma and moving us closer to finding a cure.

Conference Collaboration Is Key

The collaboration between doctors and scientists from around the world, at this one conference, is inspiring.

They discuss various surgeries, what’s working best and what’s new. They review therapies, drugs, new drug combinations, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and better ways to personalize medicine.

Doctors from many countries share information about upcoming clinical trials, treatment philosophy – things that we can pass on to the patients we’re helping.

These are the heavy hitters, too, at this conference, the biggest names in mesothelioma treatment and research, the specialists and world leaders in different fields.

The list of doctors participating this year is impressive, as it usually is. They are, to name just a few:

The 2021 iMig Conference is virtual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was scheduled originally for 2020 in Australia but was rescheduled. Typically, the conference happens every two years.

Our Medical Outreach team has been attending the conference since 2010 when it was held in Japan. It’s a gathering we fully believe in and support.

It’s what we do.

International Participation Increases Options

The last iMig Conference was in Ottawa, Canada, in 2018, where we first started hearing about the potential of Tumor Treating Fields, a new type of cancer therapy. It was first used for mesothelioma in Europe, and a presentation was made at the conference. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for mesothelioma in 2019.

That’s the great thing about the international gathering. In the U.S., there are many restrictions on newer drugs, so you often hear about the more experimental treatments first from other countries.

We pay special attention to the presentations on the topics most relevant to our audience, which could be surgery, multimodality therapy that is showing good outcomes, even advances in palliative care.

Part of our job is connecting patients with the providers who can give them the best possible care. A conference like this, which is solely focused on mesothelioma, becomes really beneficial to our audience.

The conference allows us to interact with the doctors and researchers. We get to know and evaluate each other a little, giving us more confidence in the recommendations we make, and giving doctors confidence in us.

Attendance Helps Doctor Match Program

Building on our outreach efforts throughout the year is what has led to our highly successful Doctor Match program, where we connect patients with a qualified specialist who can best fit their needs.

As the Medical Outreach director, I work closely with Jose Ortiz, our Medical Outreach liaison. We often travel around the country, visiting with oncologists and surgeons and their staffs, giving assistance when needed.

We provide free resources for many of the specialists to give to their patients, such as patient navigators for their respective hospitals.

Assisting Patients Through Medical Outreach

The Medical Outreach team has a checklist of essential information that is always available to mesothelioma patients to ensure they are receiving the best care. Many specialists share the list with their patients.

Some of the items on the checklist include:

  • Care Plan: Treatment options, nutritional help and second opinion assistance
  • Health Care: Medical referrals, help understanding health insurance and insurance appeals
  • Emotional/Mental Health: Support group information and counseling services
  • Financial Health: Copay and prescription assistance, Social Security Disability guidance, asbestos trust fund information and other financial assistance
  • Veterans Assistance: VA Disability guidance
  • Caregiver Support: Caregiver resource guide and support group information

Our Medical Outreach team, and its participation at gatherings such as the 2021 iMig Conference, helps us establish a credible, professional network and source of trust with health care providers.

It allows us to help guide patients through a very difficult journey.

It’s who we are. It’s what we do.