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2nd Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference February 2018

2nd Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference February 2018

Conference Wrap Up by convenor, Assoc Prof Michael Jefford

“Excellent conference providing invaluable information and networking”
- conference delegate

The 2nd Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference hosted by the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre was held on the 8-9 February at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne.  The conference was a great success and showcased a variety of high-calibre speakers – both national and international, while also featuring personal survivor stories and a truly memorable debate. The conference was attended by almost 300 delegates from across Australia and overseas.  Delegates were from a variety of disciplines, including medical, nursing, psychology and research. 

International speakers were Dr Jonathan Sussman, a radiation oncologist and Director of the Supportive Care Research Unit at the Juravinski Cancer Centre, and Director of the Program in Transitions in Care within the Applied Health Research Network of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; and Professor Lonneke van de Poll-Franse, Professor of Cancer Epidemiology and Survivorship at Tilburg University, Group Leader at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Senior Researcher at the Comprehensive Cancer Organisation Netherlands. 

The conference was opened by Ms Kym Peake, Secretary, Department of Health & Human Services, Victoria, following a video welcome from The Hon Jill Hennessy, Minister for Health. Simon O’Donnell, international cricketer shared his own survivorship experience, as did Rochelle Serry, successful business owner in strategic marketing. Christie Allan, also a cancer survivor, talked about young people being central to the design of youth-appropriate cancer services. 

Dr Sussman presented on work in Canada to support new models of care for survivors, and more effective integration of cancer teams with primary care providers. Prof van de Poll-Franse presented both on “The PROFILES registry: monitoring patient reported outcomes to improve quality of cancer care” and also challenges with survivorship care plan implementation. 

Attendees also heard from two prominent national speakers in Professor Janette Vardy, medical oncologist and clinician researcher at the Concord Cancer Centre, University of Sydney and Professor Phyllis Butow, NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, President of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia and Founding Director of the Psycho-Oncology Cooperative Research Group also from the University of Sydney. 

Prof Vardy’s presented on current understanding regarding two common issues reported by survivors – fatigue and cancer-related cognitive impairment.  Prof Butow presented on another common and distressing issue, worry about cancer recurrence, including interventions to help people with these concerns. She also spoke on online interventions to support psychosocial wellbeing in survivors. 

As with the first conference, we were delighted the number and quality of abstract submissions. We heard many excellent presentations from local and international submissions. 

Feedback from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to providing a valuable learning opportunity, many attendees noted that the conference afforded the opportunity to network with peers and exchange ideas. 

The conference was supported by many generous sponsors and exhibitors, without which such a meeting would not be possible.  These include Bristol Myers-Squibb, The Pratt Foundation, Janssen Oncology, Astra Zeneca, MSD, Abbvie, Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Novartis, IQVIA, Illumina, the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, a Richard Pratt legacy, Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia, Lung Foundation, Leukaemia Foundation and the Victoria State Government. 

“The breadth and depth of the presentations was excellent. It was very well run, easy to access and affordable. I thought it was excellent.”

“High calibre of speakers and presenters excellent breadth and depth interdisciplinary representation and consumers”

See the conference website for further details.