The 2015 International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma took place in Bethesda, Maryland on March 2, 3, and 4. This annual event was organized by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, (MARF) and co-hosted with the National Cancer Institute. The goal of the symposium was to connect people from all walks of life who have been touched by mesothelioma in some way. This includes patients, caregivers, family members, medical professionals, advocates, and scientists.

Because the team at Mesothelioma Help Now is dedicated to educating and supporting patients and their families, we knew we had to be at the symposium to hear the latest news and expert advice — and then share that with you, our online community.

Stephanie, one of our contributing writers, made the trip down to the Washington D.C. area and sat in on a variety of sessions hosted by doctors, scientists, and other key individuals instrumental in mesothelioma research and advocacy. She also had the opportunity to speak with patients and family members who have been directly affected by this awful disease. Her last day at the symposium was spent on Capitol Hill taking part in Advocacy Day and meeting with elected officials to discuss the importance of mesothelioma research.

If you were not able to follow along as Stephanie posted new blogs from the symposium — or even if you were — we’ve created this recap post to consolidate the key information.

Day 1 Highlights

Live Posting from International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma
Stephanie’s introduction post from when she first arrived at the symposium.

Pain: A Measurement in Emotion
M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D., from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, spoke about the brain’s role in the perception of pain and how mesothelioma patients can best manage it.

Run Away from Cancer! Why Exercise and a Health Diet Matters More Than You Think
Linda Nebeling from the National Institute of Health addressed the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise schedule for mesothelioma patients.

Intimacy through the Cancer Experience
Gary Sheldon, MSN, NP; ANP-BC, AOCNP from NYU Clinical Cancer Center, spoke about the importance of addressing intimacy concerns with your partner instead of living in doubt and confusion.

Exercise for Healthy Living
Carol Michaels, a cancer exercise specialist, demonstrated gentle stretches to do both while seated and standing that can help mesothelioma patients recover from surgery.

Day 2 Highlights

Curing Mesothelioma: Find the answer. Be the answer.
Stephanie shares some personal stories she heard at the symposium, describes the inspiring awards dinner, and discusses a few incredible facts about mesothelioma.

Diane Blackburn: A Family Cause
Diane Blackburn’s father, a former pipefitter, was exposed to asbestos on the job and was diagnosed with mesothelioma. After her father’s death, Diane and her family set out to educate people about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Engineered Immunotherapy for Cancer
The benefits of immunotherapy were discussed along with recent promising results from research.

Day 3 Highlights

Taking it to the Hill: Mesothelioma Advocacy Day
This day was spent entirely on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. advocating for mesothelioma research and thanking our lawmakers for recently approving a new stream of funding for mesothelioma research to the tune of $9.3 million.

Advocacy is essential to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s mission to eradicate mesothelioma and the suffering caused by it. Stephanie spoke directly with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and explained to her how vital it is to fund mesothelioma research.

Mesothelioma Help Now would like to thank the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and the National Cancer Institute for hosting such an important and inspirational event. We hope to participate again next year to learn even more about mesothelioma and share that information with you.