CAPhO18 Summary Report

I was fortunate to receive a Wild Card Travel Grant from CAPhO this year, which enabled me to attend CAPhO 2018 as a first-time attendee. I submitted a poster abstract, “Optimizing patient education on oncology medications”, which was accepted into the research (non-clinical) stream of the poster competition. CAPhO 2018 provided me with an abundance of learning and networking opportunities! The trip to Gatineau-Ottawa started out for me with a Research Committee meeting on Thursday afternoon, which was very productive (so nice to be able to meet face-to-face!). On Friday I attended several satellite symposiums. I heard about durvalumab for non-small cell lung cancer, patient and health care professional perspectives on the neuroendocrine tumour journey, and then Friday evening kicked off the conference with the welcome reception and poster competition. As part of my role on the Research Committee I was involved with judging posters, which meant that I got to meet several poster presenters and hear about the amazing research being done across Canada. There were a record 50 posters presented at CAPhO 2018, which contributed to this being an excellent networking event. A huge crowd of attendees showed interest in learning about the oncology research that was being presented.

Saturday was a big day for CAPhO! The opening plenary on health literacy by Tamara Harth was a big eye opener for me. It was startling to hear that 88% of adults age 65 and older have low health literacy, and that low health literacy accounts for 3-5% of healthcare spending. I will definitely be incorporating some of the strategies discussed by Tamara into my practice to both become aware of and improve patients’ levels of health literacy. Some of these strategies would be relatively easy to incorporate into any patient interaction; for example, consideration of factors that affect health literacy (e.g. communication skills, education level, physical and emotional state), starting off each patient encounter by asking how the day is going, and ensuring the encounter takes place in a patient-friendly environment. This plenary was nicely followed by one from Derek Jorgenson on shared decision making and how to best speak to patients about numbers. This was a great reminder that we should be quantifying things for patients in language they understand, and including “the why” to encourage adherence. It was easy to relate this back to the research we are doing in Halifax on the patient perspective of optimal oncology medication education…interestingly, our patients indicated in focus groups that they would like to hear the numbers…especially for “the percentage of the good results from the drug”. We will be keeping these strategies and tips in mind as we prepare to develop a new model to deliver education to oncology patients in Nova Scotia.

Saturday morning was followed by the AGM, a post-cancer treatment panel, and an afternoon of concurrent sessions…it was difficult to decide which ones to many great choices. I decided to hear about how the opioid crisis may affect oncology patients as well as the evidence behind prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Last, but not least, the awards ceremony and gala finished off the night! Great entertainment and the dance party did not disappoint!

Highlights of Sunday included the award-winning poster presentations, and hot topics. Throughout the conference I capitalized on opportunities to meet and learn from colleagues practicing in oncology across the country. I also attended a dinner with the Atlantic crowd and squeezed in a quick visit to the national art gallery. I am very much looking forward to CAPhO 2019 and can’t wait to see everyone in Halifax!

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