The two-day conference, held in Antwerp, Belgium, on 10 and 11 March, is designed to ensure that Europe's cancer physicians and scientists are up to date with the latest information on prevention, treatment and supportive care for patients with prostate cancer.
"There has been a revolution in the way we approach treatment of prostate cancer," says Louis Denis, Local Chair of the ESMO International Symposium (EIS) on Prostate cancer. "This is thanks to our increased knowledge on its incidence, mortality and natural history; better use of imaging and prostate specific antigen tests to identify disease; and improvements in treatment with radiotherapy and chemotherapy."
Some 300 international specialists are expected to attend the symposium. Mario Dicato, Chair of the newly founded ESMO International Symposium Working Group, explains, "ESMO conceived the EIS meetings to address the constant need for updated information in specific fields of oncology on a multidisciplinary basis." Unlike most other scientific conferences, where presentations are based on a collection of different scientific abstracts, the EIS has been specifically designed to ensure that all the latest developments are presented in a program that follows the progression of disease.
"This field of knowledge is changing rapidly and medical care can be slow to respond," says Denis. "We all believe that this kind of meeting, with its grand vision, can make a difference, and is exactly what the patients want."
The highlights of the meeting are focused on both sides of the spectrum of the disease. "Our increased knowledge of the natural and treated history allows the identification of patients that do not need immediate treatment. Up to one-third of newly diagnosed prostate cancer cases may actually never need treatment. On the other side, when cancer becomes life-threatening, we have recent evidence that the new chemotherapy, using bisphosphonates and taxotere, may prolong life and improve quality of life, as an important bonus."
Another important part of the meeting will be a patient symposium organized by Europa Uomo, a patient advocacy group that fights to improve awareness of prostate cancer. "In the patient symposium we will focus on getting the message through with patients," Denis says.
For journalists, the symposium offers an ideal opportunity to meet and talk to some of the world's most eminent specialists in prostate cancer care. A fully equipped press room will be functioning on-site to facilitate interviews on the topic.
Later in the year, other EIS symposia will be organized: the second meeting, in Milan, Italy, on 17 and 18 May, will focus on sarcoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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