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27 Nov 2018 at 12:00AM

Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) ASM Wrap

(written by our NET Nurse, Kate Wakelin)

In mid-November, hot on the heels of the very successful APNETS conference, World NET Cancer Day, and patient symposium in Melbourne, Simone, Meredith and I flew to Perth for the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting. This is a multidisciplinary conference, which always brings lots of opportunities for learning and networking. With the focus this year being on mesothelioma and gastro-intestinal cancers, we were very much looking forward to being there.

What followed was three days that were jam-packed with thought provoking and relevant sessions, as well as the opportunities to catch up with health care professionals involved in NET care from around the country. Simone attended and presented at the IPSEN breakfast and there were many other highlights that really caught my attention including:

= Some interesting research into skills development for health professionals for better inclusion of family carers in patient care

= The vital link between exercise and nutrition in optimal cancer care – impossible to focus on one, without acknowledging the other

= Medical cannabis: we still have a lack of evidence for effectiveness, dosage and side effects. Many patients are sourcing cannabis products informally, with concerns regarding quality. Clinical trials continue, this takes time.

= Inherited cancer syndromes – acknowledgment of emotional burden of these syndromes for families, and importance of holistic care. There is an overall tendency for families to overestimate risk, therefore importance of providing clear information and support

= Ongoing issues around communication between specialists/hospitals and GPs. Patients often don’t really know what to consult GP for (or specialist). Particularly relevant given our Treatment and Wellness Plan project, that we have been working with the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre on.

= The role of MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses e.g. Futurelearn) in GP education

= Gastro-intestinal NETs session

      o Further explanation re grading – emphasis on tumours being on a spectrum (rather than neatly defined categories)

      o Role of physician being like a shepherd – role is to help guide through multiple treatment options, in consideration of many individual factors

      o Diversity in genomic profile of NETs, even between seemingly same tumour types

      o Clinical trials update, including TGA approval of new drug for carcinoid syndrome diarrhoea, Telitrostat.

The icing on the cake in Perth for me was definitely meeting up with our support group, who changed their meeting date to coincide with the conference. We had a very productive meeting, introducing Meredith, talking through some of the updates from APNETs and COSA, and doing some very good planning for the group’s activities in 2019. Thanks to everyone who made it along, it was wonderful to meet everyone!

Despite the long distance, and time away from the office and family, COSA proved to be an extremely worthwhile conference to attend!

Category: Advocacy