Here in the United States we are in a high speed world. And when it comes to health problems we want a solution fast. Part of that is making sure we get the BEST solution that’s available anywhere.
Up until very recently we relied on our doctor to tell us what is best. Then the Internet came along and millions of us found we could obtain knowledge and empowerment tools there. But for some people with serious, ongoing, and even life-threatening conditions that isn’t fast enough or comprehensive enough. They want more first person contact with where medical news “breaks” for their condition.
Typically that happens at the big annual medical conventions where specialists in their condition gather from around the world. This is where the latest research is presented to large audiences of peers. This is where, for example, news broke this week about the benefit of more refined testing of women who have an early form of breast cancer called DCIS.
Each year the American Society of Hematology holds the world’s largest meeting to discuss a wide range of blood related conditions, from leukemias to sickly cell disease. This year the meeting is in San Diego. This weekend more than 20,000 people will attend.
Along with the doctors and scientists there will be patients there too, paying their own way to attend. These are people like Jack from San Jose, California, living with multiple myeloma and Liz from New York, a lymphoma survivor.
Patients today attend the huge scientific sessions, often with 1,000 people in the audience, and try to make sense of how the latest science can be put to use for their own health, and fast. They don’t want to wait to hear it second-hand from their doctor or even see it filtered by the news media. You could say they are choosing to get a direct infusion of medical news first hand.
Admittedly, most of us don’t have the time or inclination to do this. But, as a journalist and patient who attends many of these medical meetings, I am seeing it more and more and I think it is a good thing.