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by Shawn Russell   |   July 2, 2018

My Experience as a Patient Speaker at the SNMMI Annual Convention

The SNMMI (Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging) held their annual convention this year in Pennsylvania. As part of their multi-day program they have a patient education day, and I was invited by Shawn after meeting her at the Run/Walk in Harrisburg last year. I was asked to share a patient’s perspective as it relates to prostate cancer, and I decided to write a speech about fear and its impact on patients and caregivers and then share my success story from stage IV to remission.

My wife and I arrived at the Philadelphia convention center and were overwhelmed by the scope of the event. SNMMI had every room in use and there were myriad medical professionals making their way to different sessions. I was slotted for a prostate cancer breakout session, and I expected to be speaking to patients and caregivers. It turned out that health workers mostly populated the room. I noticed a large number were often very involved on their laptops or phones during speakers, however saw full engagement when I was up to speak. This leads me to believe that there needs to be an expanded, candid conversation between patients and their health care teams with regard to the mental challenges of facing a prostate cancer diagnosis. It’s a tough topic, but one I was glad to be able to share with the group because of it’s vital importance.

I went on to share tips for winning the battle against fear and how success is possible with faith, top-level care, good nutrition, and good support. I shared with everyone the support ZERO provides to men battling prostate cancer and their families. I am extremely thankful to be able to speak and share an encouraging story with those who are researching and working hard to see an end to this disease.

I also can’t wait for this year’s Run/Walk in Harrisburg. I hope you’ll join me.