We’ve had an absolutely fantastic conference, one of the best conferences ever for the BGCS. Wonderful venue, fantastic weather, quite warm in the conference venue but it’s been really, really good. Everything about the process of the conference has gone beautifully – the catering has been great, the organisation has been fantastic – so we’re really indebted to Tim and to ISO for the work they’ve done in getting it organised, it’s been brilliant.
The scientific content has been great as well. We’ve really been working as a society to try and be more inclusive to the non-surgical oncologists who work in the gynae-oncology field, trying to involve the nurses, the scientists. So the society has often been perceived as having a very strong surgical influence, which it still does have, but we’re cognisant that we want to make a society that’s much more inclusive and the content of this meeting reflects that. There have been some really excellent presentations on surgical issues like sentinel lymph nodes, for example, which is a really important issue for us at the moment and that we’re developing as a clinical community, but also some fantastic presentations on developments in medical oncology and clinical oncology, radiotherapy for gynaecological cancers. I attended a really excellent session this morning of the NFGON, the nurse forum group which is now becoming part of the British Gynae Cancer Society, and they had a fantastic programme talking about some of the quality of life issues for patients who have undergone vulval cancer surgery and sexuality after gynae cancer treatment and that sort of thing. It was an excellent session.
We’ve also had some wonderful presentations from our trainees and researchers who come along and present their abstracts. We’ve had some excellent poster presentations and oral presentations as well so it has been a really successful conference.
What is next for BGCS?
We have got some conferences coming up – we have a conference on 30th November in Canterbury which I’m particularly passionate about. This is a one-day conference in the Cathedral Conference Centre in Canterbury, which is a lovely venue. That’s an opportunity for the charities who work in the gynae-oncology field to showcase their wares. They have a session each to be able to present some of the projects that they have been working on over the past 12-18 months. We’re also focussing on, again, quality of life and survivorship after gynae cancer treatment. So we’ve got Dr Eva Greimel who is a psychologist who works in Graz in Austria who I’ve been working with in the EORTC Quality of Life Group for many years. Eva’s coming over to talk about quality of life in survivorship, particularly assessment of quality of life after treatment. We’ve got some presentations on problems following radiotherapy and sexuality. So that’s an exciting meeting.
Immediately before that, on the day before, we’re meeting up as a group of clinicians to develop a consensus statement on the use of sentinel lymph nodes in gynaecological cancer surgery. So that’s exciting as well. We’re looking at reducing the morbidity, reducing the complications and long-term effects of our surgery where we can do that safely.
Then next summer we’ve got our annual scientific meeting in Cambridge, next July, so it’s a fantastic venue. Robin Crawford in Cambridge is leading on the scientific organising committee and we’ll have a programme, the same type of thing as this, which is again going to specifically look to be inclusive to all of the disciplines who work in our field, not just focussing on the surgical aspects but focussing on diagnostics and have a session for the diagnostic gynaecologists, the unit leads, who are involved in diagnosing the cancers. We’ll have a session for the nurse forum group, we’ll have a separate break-out session, and we’ll also have all of the sessions looking at medical oncology developments, feeding back from the ASCO meeting. So it’ll be a similar sort of format to this one and, again, in an absolutely wonderful setting.