The 2017 European Cancer Congress will for the first time feature critical review sessions. President of ECCO and congress chair, Professor Peter Naredi, explains how they will run and what they offer to attendees.
“Most conferences follow a typical pattern – new research is presented then there is the opportunity for questions and discussion,” Professor Naredi says.
“ECCO2017 will be different. At the end of each day, we will hold critical review sessions, evaluating the new research. These will still be discussions, but we think they will offer a broader and more incisive debate.”
These critical review sessions will be run by experts from each organ track, who will use their knowledge of the field to convene a three-person panel, which might include a surgeon, a medical oncologist and a nurse, for example.
Each expert will be invited to select just a few of the most exciting studies that have been presented that day. They will give their opinion on the research and this will be followed with a broader discussion including stakeholders, such as patients and palliative care experts.
Professor Naredi explains: “The congress is based on multidisiplinarity and that means we need broad discussions.
“Studies being presented at ECCO2017 will be brand new, or will only have been presented at monodisciplinary meetings. That means they have not yet been critically examined by all the stakeholders in cancer care.
“For example, at another conference we might hear the results of a randomised trial in breast cancer or melanoma, then talk about the advantages and disadvantages. But at ECCO2017 we will be asking if the research is relevant and looking at the global picture.
“It’s the true multidisciplinary approach to treating patients - not only considering one perspective but all the different sides. For instance, not just what new drug or technique we should use, but how we should involve patients.”
In addition, a speaker will give a global perspective on the new treatments, addressing their value in clinical practice in a multidisciplinary context. This speaker will cover recent developments in the entire field, as well as the specific examples presented by the speakers from the congress.
At the end of each discussion, each study will be put to the ballot with attendees able to vote on the merits of the research. Attendees will be asked if they think the work is relevant and important in cancer care, and if they believe it is worth using in their daily work. Ultimately, they will be answering the question: is this practice-changing?
Professor Naredi continues: “These are conversations that health care professions are having locally within their centres and professional networks, but not necessarily with all the different experts in the same room.”
He explains that real-world data, health economics and the delivery of care are also vital elements of the congress. “These sessions are an opportunity to consider how to spend our budgets. They will help us to understand how other stakeholders think budgets should be spent – whether it should be on more drugs or on more surgery - and to consider what offers the best value.”
Finally, Professor Naredi believes the critical review sessions will create a different experience for congress attendees: “You’ll be updated with different views on the topics, you will be able to listen actively and reflect on what you’ve heard, and perhaps be forced to re-think your ideas.”
Browse the updated searchable programme with all the late-breaking abstract titles, proffered papers and latest information about the critical review and plenary sessions.