I am just back from the 2015 NCRI Cancer Conference. It runs from Sunday afternoon until the Wednesday lunchtime, with a number of groups then using the Wednesday afternoon for meetings.
The conference itself is a series of plenary lectures, parallel sessions, workshops and activities plus a trade, academic and charity exhibition and poster display. A very full few days. Usually there are discernible themes plus an opportunity to follow your own theme.
This year we were also celebrating the life and work while at the same time mourning the loss of an important figure in UK cancer and health research, namely Professor Jane Wardle, who was a leading health psychologist. She died a couple of weeks ago from complications related to chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. A tribute to her can be found on the CRUK web site: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/10/23/professor-jane-wardle-30101950-20102015/
Much, but by no means all, of Jane Wardle's research related to the field of early detection of cancer, which was one of the themes of this year's conference. But perhaps what I most admire her for is her honesty in her approach to what one of my own cancer friends describes as this "cancer malarky". Jane Wardle has explained that when she showed distress it didn't mean that she needed solutions or to be cheered up; she was wanting sympathy. When she expressed anger about what had happened, she didn't want to be told to be optimistic, she wanted acknowledgement of her feelings and expressions of support.
Many of the sessions were dedicated to her or made reference to her. Over the next couple of weeks I will post about various sessions and posters of this year's conference, but I too wish to start by acknowledging a huge debt of gratitude to Jane Wardle.