The Life Raft Group held its first GIST Day of Learning (GDOL) in Michigan on October 27th in Ann Arbor. GDOLs are free, one-day programs that provide both education and support to the GIST community. Top GIST specialists present the latest on research and treatment options as well as provide a comprehensive review of the science behind GIST. GDOLs provide an opportunity not only to meet and interact with local expert practitioners in an intimate setting, but also for patients to connect with one another in a supportive environment.
Over 70 patients, caregivers and researchers attended the weekend event. Lawrence Baker, MD, from the University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center opened the day with an Introduction and Brief History of GIST. Many of the attendees were newly diagnosed so this session was especially informative to them.The Role of the Cancer Surgeon in Diagnosis and Therapy was led by Will Burns, MD, and and the Role of the Medical Oncologist in Diagnosis and Therapy was led by Rashmi Chugh, MD.
Clinical pharmacist, Rachelle McDivit and Stephanie Taylor, RN discussed Drug Interactions and Other FAQs and Side Effect Management. Many of the participants were very grateful for this session as many had indicated side effects being an area of concern. Scott Schuetze, MD, then discussed New Therapies On the Horizon. Dr. Baker ended the day with a very compassionate and empowering discussion on GIST Patients as Cancer Survivors.
GDOLs provide an opportunity to interact with the physicians and presenters as well as other patients and caregivers. The session was extremely interactive. A huge thank you to all the physicians who spent the day taking questions from the attendees. A very big thank you to our generous sponsors – Bayer, Novartis, Decipher, and Pfizer.