June 24, 2023 | 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. | I Hotel and Conference Center


Join cancer researchers, clinicians, and survivors on June 24th at the I Hotel and Conference Center and explore impactful cancer research and treatment strategies that incorporate the patient perspective. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet fellow survivors and share their experiences. This event is sponsored by the Cancer Center at Illinois’ Cancer Research Advocacy Group.


Time Topic Speaker
7:45 – 8:30 a.m. Registration and Light Breakfast
8:45 – 9:00 a.m. Welcome: Advancements in Cancer Diagnosis and Care Erik Nelson
9:00 – 9:40 a.m. Plenary Talk 1: Creation and Use of Survivorship Plans Noel Arring
9:45 – 10:00 a.m. Break
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Survivorship Panel: Nurse Navigators and Advocates Erik Nelson (Moderator)
11:00 – 11:15 a.m. Break
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Plenary Talk 2: Lifestyle and Cancer: What We Know and Don’t Know (Yet) Neil Iyengar
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Roundtable Discussions Around Survivorship:

  • Thriving in Survivorship
  • Lymphedema Management
  • Benefits of Exercise
  • Nutrition, Diet, and Lifestyle
  • Sexual Health in Survivorship
  • What Does It Mean to Be an Advocate?
  • Financial Toxicity/Health Insurance
  • Mental Health/Emotional Support
1:00 – 1:10 p.m. Final Remarks Cancer Research Advocacy Group and Erik Nelson
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Networking


Noel Arring

Noel Arring

Associate Professor | College of Nursing | University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Noel Arring is a nurse leader with expertise in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, change management and research. Her research mission is to improve the cancer care experience for cancer survivors and their caregivers. Her research focuses on addressing health disparities using western and integrative health interventions for cancer symptom management.

Neil Iyengar

Neil Iyengar

Medical Oncologist | Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Neil Iyengar is a medical oncologist and clinical investigator with a practice dedicated exclusively to the care of patients with breast cancer. He treats patients with an individualized and multifaceted approach based on cutting-edge technology and the most up-to-date research. His practice is focused on providing patients with state-of-the-art care plans using advanced technologies and innovative strategies to treat breast cancer while also providing support for general well-being, such as nutrition and exercise. Dr. Iyengar is  dedicated to providing clear communication and understandable information regarding standard therapies as well as new and exciting research options so that patients are empowered to make informed decisions about their care.

Erik Nelson

Erik Nelson

Associate Professor | Molecular and Integrative Physiology | University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Erik Nelson is a trained endocrinologist with specific expertise in nuclear receptor pharmacology. He has made significant contributions to the fields of reproductive physiology, pharmacology, bone biology and cancer biology. Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. For this reason, Nelson integrated his expertise in physiology, endocrinology, and in vivo models to pursue translational breast cancer research. The overarching goal of the Nelson lab’s research is to develop novel chemopreventative strategies and lifestyle changes aimed at reducing cancer incidence and mortality.

Panel Participants

  • Sheena Garland, Christie Clinic
  • Susan Van Bibber, Carle
  • Kate Graff, Carle
  • Chele Crossin, Carle
  • Hannah Dignan, Carle
  • CRAG Advocates

Roundtable Facilitators

  • Thriving in Survivorship (Hannah Dignan, Kate Graff)
  • Lymphedema Management (Katie Esker, Amy Peirce, Anna Sanders)
  • Benefits of Exercise (Neha Gothe, Eddie Edwards)
  • Nutrition, Diet, and Lifestyle (Neil Iyengar)
  • Sexual Health in Survivorship (Noel Arring, Catherine Applegate)
  • What Does It Mean to Be an Advocate? (CRAG members)
  • Financial Toxicity/Health Insurance (Sheena Garland, Crystal Reinhart)
  • Mental Health/Support (Janet Liechty)

About the Cancer Research Advocacy Group

The Cancer Research Advocacy Group (CRAG) provides a vital perspective in the fight against cancer, offering input into fundamental research, clinical trials, outreach, and education and sharing information with cancer survivors, researchers, and clinicians. This work creates bench-to-bedside, bedside-to-bench feedback and means that patient perspectives are at the heart of everything our researchers do.

CRAG members include a diverse group of cancer survivors and individuals with a strong personal connection to cancer. Members may receive formal training and attend seminars given by Cancer Center at Illinois members, speak to the future generation of cancer researchers, provide researchers with letters of support for grant applications, and lobby foundations for funding support to continue cancer research.

Questions? Contact us at the Cancer Center at Illinois.