My Meeting Experience: A Medical Oncologist’s Perspective

My Meeting Experience: A Medical Oncologist’s Perspective

Dr. Mehmet Asim Bilen
Mehmet Asim Bilen, MD, serves as assistant professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. In the following article, Dr. Bilen discusses why the Genitourinary (GU) Cancers Symposium is important, as well as the sessions he’s looking forward to attending this year.

Daily News: What inspired you to register for the 2017 GU Cancers Symposium?

Dr. Bilen: The GU Cancers Symposium is one of my favorite meetings. Everyone involved in the treatment of GU cancers should attend this meeting. It is a focused meeting where attendees can follow all of the sessions. It is an important platform for networking and meeting key people in the GU oncology field. In addition, I strongly recommend that residents and fellows interested in GU oncology attend this meeting.

Daily News: How has research presented at the Symposium in the past affected how you practice?

Dr. Bilen: I attended the GU Cancers Symposium as an oncology fellow and was able to present my research. I also had the opportunity to attend a career development session during the Trainee & Early-Career Networking Luncheon, which I really enjoyed. This experience helped me decide to stay in academia and continue my involvement in drug development. I have continued to follow the breakthroughs reported during previous GU Cancers Symposia and have adapted my clinical practice, as well as my research.

Daily News: Why is it important for medical oncologists to attend the GU Cancers Symposium?

Dr. Bilen: It is a unique opportunity to hear people from different disciplines including medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, and basic science who are involved in  the treatment of GU cancers. Cancer care is a team effort, and this Symposium facilitates participants to learn from each other and enhance the care of our patients. As a medical oncologist, I look forward to learning about the new advances in systemic treatment in GU oncology. I also look forward to learning from my colleagues with different perspectives, which I find very helpful in my clinical practice and research.

Daily News: What sessions are you looking forward to attending?

Dr. Bilen: I am planning to attend all of the sessions. It is an exciting time in the treatment of GU cancers because of new advances. The Best of Journals, year in review lectures, and keynote presentations are very informative. Some of the sessions that I am looking forward to are “Prostate Cancer Evolution and Progression” (February 16), “Optimizing Outcomes in Muscle-Invasive and Metastatic Bladder Cancer” (February 17), and “Opportunities and Challenges in Systemic Therapy for Advanced Renal Cancer” (February 18). I look forward to attending the Poster Sessions as well.

Daily News: What advice do you have for first-time attendees to get the most out of their Symposium experience?

Dr. Bilen: First-time attendees should attend all the sessions, if possible. Even though some sessions may not be on their research topics or clinical interests, it is helpful to generate new ideas at the end of the meeting sessions.

Use this meeting as a networking opportunity. Noting the titles of the abstracts when they become available and marking them before the Poster Session is a very helpful way to navigate through the session. Spending time with the presenters and learning about the details of the presentations is priceless. Of course, obtaining a copy of the posters is very important for reviewing details after the Symposium. I recommend trainees register for the Trainee & Early-Career Networking Luncheon, which is very helpful for learning from a career development perspective. Last, don’t forget to claim continuing medical education or Maintenance of Certification credits. 

About Dr. Bilen: Dr. Bilen joined the clinical staff at Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University as a practicing physician in July 2016. He is a member of ASCO and the American Association for Cancer Research. He is actively involved in clinical research and patient care in genitourinary cancers. He is interested in drug development and is involved in several clinical trials in the treatment of genitourinary cancers.