From Where I Sit: A Medical Oncologist's Perspective

 Dr. Neeraj Agarwal

Dr. Agarwal is an assistant professor in the Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, at the University of Utah School of Medicine, and the director of the Genitourinary Oncology Program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Dr. Agarwal has attended this Symposium every year since 2010 because he has had a number of “very enriching experiences” here. “The Symposium provides an ideal opportunity to meet and network with investigators who share my clinical and research interests, including both the renowned experts in the field and early-career investigators, from whom I learn about novel ideas and projects,” he said.

What session types or tracks do you attend most often and why?

I usually make sure to attend the sessions focused on biology and on the translational research aspects of GU cancers. I always attend the oral abstract sessions because I want to be among the first to hear about groundbreaking research.

In a few sentences, please discuss one to three sessions during the Symposium that you plan on attending and why.

As attendees know, this is the 10th year of the GU Cancers Symposium and, to commemorate that, the leaders in the field will be presenting the advancements that have occurred over the past decade in each cancer type. Of these, I’m especially looking forward to the Decade in Review presentations on prostate cancer. The other sessions that I am looking forward to attending are the sessions on prostate cancer (integration of new androgen therapy in locally advanced prostate cancer), and the session on genomics, prognosis, and therapies in renal cancer, chaired by Drs. Bratslavsky and Choueiri (General Session 8: Renal Cancer: Genomics, Prognosis, and Therapies, Saturday, 1:00 PM-2:30 PM [PST]).

Do you have any advice for other medical oncologists as to how to maximize their time at the Symposium?

Realize that you can’t read all posters in detail and attend all sessions from beginning to end. So, planning is the key to maximizing productivity. Because hundreds of posters are being presented, I would advise review of the Proceedings or abstracts online in advance of the Symposium. Prepare a list of the posters, along with the questions you would like to ask the presenters, that includes the time and location of display for the posters you would like to view. This is also true for the other sessions you want to attend and the presenters with whom you want to interact. The other housekeeping rules I like to follow are: get adequate sleep, avoid scheduling unimportant meetings (especially during important sessions), and arrive at each session on time.

Why are smaller thematic-based meetings such as the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium important to oncology?

As opposed to larger meetings, the GU Cancers Symposium focuses on the areas specific to my clinical and research interests. Almost all sessions are run in sequence and not in parallel, so I do not have to worry about missing the sessions that I want to attend. Another great thing about this Symposium is its focus on the multidisciplinary aspect of GU malignancies. Thus, not only medical oncologists attend, but also surgeons, radiation oncologists, and many other specialists who have an interest in GU malignancies. It is a great opportunity to hear their perspectives and expand your professional networking. In my view, this Symposium is one of the very few meetings with a true multidisciplinary emphasis on GU cancers.