colorectal cancer education day 2024
Dr. Sunil Patel, a colorectal cancer specialist, presenting to patients and families at the 2024 Colorectal Cancer Education Day.

Patients, family members and medical specialists from across southeastern Ontario came together on March 23 for the second annual Colorectal Cancer Patient Education Day. The full-day event, hosted at the Donald Gordon Hotel and Conference Centre, was developed based on patient and caregiver feedback, and provides a platform for individuals affected by colorectal cancer to gather, learn and find support.

"We originally created this event as a forum for patients and their family members to have their questions answered and learn about the latest advances in care,” says Dr. Sunil Patel, a physician at the Southeast Regional Cancer Centre, specializing in colorectal cancer. “Our first event was hosted right before the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve had to delay a few years as a result, but we’re glad to be back.”

From morning until afternoon, attendees participated in various sessions covering topics such as new therapies and surgical advancements, coping strategies, symptom management and incorporating patient preferences into care. 

"This day is an opportunity to build a sense a community for current and former patients, as well as their caregivers,” says Jennifer Pereira, Patient Navigator for the Colorectal Diagnostic Assessment Program. “It’s a chance to connect with others who have been through the disease and share experiences."

Combining educational and social aspects, the event facilitated connections and camaraderie among attendees, offering a sense of support and understanding beyond the clinical setting.

"We’ve heard lots of positive things from patients about the event, and we hope to bring it back on an annual basis,” says Dr. Patel. “For anyone impacted by colorectal cancer, this is a worthwhile opportunity to learn about new advances in care that are happening right here at KHSC."

As the event concluded, participants left with a deeper understanding of colorectal cancer and a strengthened sense of community.  

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