Colorectal cancer survivors, caregivers and advocates will gather at the University of Colorado Cancer Center (CU Cancer Center) on the Anschutz Medical Campus for two days of research advocacy training Nov. 5 and 6. Experts from CU Cancer Center, Colorado School of Public Health and University of Colorado School of Medicine will lead the training. The conference will bring leading-edge science to research advocates and explain how the patient voice is being incorporated as part of Fight Colorectal Cancer’s (Fight CRC) research advocacy training and support program.FightCRC-logo-200x200-125x125

“Connecting advocacy and the experts for research is essential,” said Andrea (Andi) Dwyer, who works jointly with Fight CRC through the Colorado School of Public Health. “It’s exciting that our research teams and physicians see advocates as the experts in understanding the needs of patients and survivors. Fight CRC needs medical experts from all over the country to understand this partnership and we are thrilled that Colorado is one of the host sites.”

The two-day meeting will be one component of the Research Advocacy Training and Support (RATS) program of Fight CRC. Attendees will be trained on the basics of cancer research, emerging trends in colorectal cancer research and research underway at CU Cancer Center. The RATS program is dedicated to ensuring the patient voice is integrated into research.

“The University of Colorado Cancer Center is honored to host the Research Advocacy Training and Support program,” said Dr. S. Gail Eckardt, CU Cancer Center’s associate director of translational research. “As leaders in this area, Fight CRC and its advocates have made a profound impact on how patients are engaged in research and ensuring resources are available to support research. I have worked side-by-side with these advocates and I am honored that our team is now dedicating time to the effort by bringing advocates to our campus and laboratories to further learn about science and medical advancements.”

One patient benefitting from the research at CU Cancer Center who’s now an active research advocate is Karen Wheling, a survivor of stage IV colorectal cancer. As one of the research advocates, she will see the science firsthand, meet researchers who played a role in her care and tour labs that are working to uncover cures for the disease.

“I am hoping to learn more about the science of this disease and the research so that I can more intelligently communicate the patient’s perspective when giving input about the best areas for research to find a treatment,” says Wehling. “As a patient, I am also hoping to learn more about the steps needed to change advanced-stage colorectal cancer from a terminal disease to a chronic condition while maintaining quality of life. I am very excited about the chance to learn!”

The two days will consist of lectures by CU Cancer Center investigators and distinguished faculty of CU School of Medicine including:

  • S. Gail Eckhardt, M.D., professor of medicine/oncology, Stapp Harlow Chair in Cancer Research, associate director of translational research
  • Wells A. Messersmith, M.D., professor and co-division head, division of medical oncology
  • Jean Kutner, M.D., MSPH, division head general internal medicine, Fight CRC Medical Advisory Board Member
  • Dennis J. Ahnen, M.D., professor of medicine, Fight CRC Medical Advisory Board Member

The event highlights what CU Cancer Center brings to Colorado, the Rocky Mountain region and the country: a commitment to patients and leadership in colorectal cancer research and clinical care.

“We want to make research more accessible and part of our mission at CU Cancer Center is to bring our programs to the community,” said Dan Theodorescu, M.D., Ph.D., CU Cancer Center director. “What better way to reach the public than by educating, training and empowering cancer survivors, caregivers and advocates.”

About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined. In 2015, 132,700 new cases and 49,700 deaths are estimated. Colorectal cancer is preventable with proper screening. There are over one million survivors of the disease.

Media are welcome and permitted to attend; please contact Danielle Burgess to arrange credentials or stories. Follow the #CRCRes15 on Twitter and Instagram to see real-time updates and visit to view archived content from the event.