Vital Options International Presents Two Programs During The Asco Cancer Conference Working To Improve Patients’ Access To The Latest Cancer Treatments

May 28, 2015 10:04 AM EDT


Accelerating Innovation: Living Longer and Stronger, Why Innovation Is Critical for Patients
Friday, May 29th, 7 to 9 pm CDT

Right Patient. Right Treatment. Right Now! Fighting to Remove Reimbursement Barriers and Expedite Regulatory Approvals
Sunday, May 31st, 11am to 1pm CDT

Both Programs to be Webcast Live and Archived

viral.jpgLos Angeles and Chicago -- (May 28, 2015) – Vital Options International (VOI) -- a nonprofit cancer communication, education, and advocacy organization – will present two programs to ensure that the medical advances being discussed at ASCO are made available to treat the patients who need them. ASCO 2015 in Chicago, the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, is the world’s largest cancer conference. VOI will be there as part of its Advocacy in Action® initiative to help turn medical presentations into prescriptions and the talks into treatments.

Friday night, May 29th, at 7pm CDT, VOI will present a panel discussion titled, “Accelerating Innovation: Living Longer and Stronger.” The program will feature cancer patients and advocates, economic and policy experts and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry.

Sunday, May 31st at 11am CDT, VOI presents “Right Patient. Right Treatment. Right Now!” This program will chart possible ways to support medical advances and fight for access. Participants will include policy experts, patients, a legislator who helped pass reimbursement parity for oral cancer medications in Missouri, and an expert in medical innovation who is also a former ASCO executive.

Both programs will be webcast on and comments can be followed on Twitter at #AIA_ASCO15.

“ASCO is host to 30,000 oncology professionals -- so what better time or place to fight for our patients’ needs?” asked Terry Wilcox, Executive Director of Vial Options International. “We do this in the name of Selma Schimmel, our founder and a cancer patient herself who fought tirelessly on behalf of her fellow patients until she lost her battle last year.”

Jonathan Wilcox, VOI Policy Director and moderator of the Sunday program added: “We have to move beyond talk to action. We have seen too many cases where patients are blocked from getting life-saving treatments. It’s long past time to start a revolution to fight against the status quo.”

Friday panelists include:
•Lynn, 13-year Ovarian Cancer Survivor
•Gwen Darien, Cancer Support Community
•Robert Goldberg, Ph.D., Health Economist and Founder of Center for Medicine in the Public Interest
•Merrill Matthews, Ph.D., Resident Scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation
•Jit Saini, Oncology Global Head of Medical Affairs, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Sunday participants include:
• Charles Balch, M.D., FACS, Founding Editor-in-Chief of Annals of Surgical Oncology
• Missouri State Rep. Sheila Solon, who helped pass equal reimbursement for oral cancer therapies
• Don Wright, 11-year Cancer Survivor and Marathon Runner
•Eleanor "Ellie" Dehoney, Research!America
•Frank Lichtenberg, Ph.D., business professor at Columbia University
•Stacey L. Worthy, Alliance for the Adoption of Innovation in Medicine
•Matthew Zachary, Founder/CEO of Stupid Cancer

More information about both programs is available at



Vital Options International (VOI) is a nonprofit cancer communication, education and advocacy organization working on behalf of survivors, caregivers and medical professionals. VOI was founded in 1983 by Selma Schimmel as the first nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting young adults with cancer. Today, through our Advocacy in Action®, Vital Conversations, and Living With Cancer platforms, we support regulatory reform, public policy changes and improved reimbursement practices. We lead panel discussions, one-on-one interviews and social media campaigns about clinical trials, treatment advances, psychosocial issues, and access to care, to better meet the vital challenges faced by everyone in the global cancer community.

Initiate PR
Deanne Eagle, 917-837-5866, in New York
Stephen Gendel, 310-878-4652, in Los Angeles

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