European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress 2011 - Stockholm

Each year, the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) and the European Society of Oncology (ESMO) are holding the a conference to provide updates from clinical research in Oncology, on Oncopolicy. In 2011, the conference that is said to be the 'European ASCO conference' was named "European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference" (EMCC), and brought together around 17,000 health professionals.

One of the unique features of the conference is a two-day "Patient Advocacy and Ethics" track. This two-day track is held within the scientific programme of the conference and addresses both health professionals as well as patient advocates. The programme of this year's patient advocacy and ethics track was again set by patient advocates of ECCO's "Patient Advisory Committee".

As in previous years, the track represented a highly innovative and comprehensive two-day programme within the core of the EMCC congress. It aimed at increasing awareness patient issues with all stakeholders at the conference. The topics presented by patient advocates, oncologists, researchers, nurses and industry representatives included e.g. challenges in personalized medicine, patient involvement in the design, conduct and dissemination of clinical trials, the challenges of rare cancers, ethical issues around pediatric and geriatric cancer care, and  cancer and the internet. A mock court room trial where 'Pat Info' (aka Patient Information) was on charge was the first ever on an oncology conference - and received great applause.

'Cancer on the Internet' session

A key highlight was the 'Cancer and the Internet' session in the Patient Advocacy/Ethics track, as well as the "Social Media teaching lecture". The internet has largely transformed the way how both healthcare professionals and patients gain access to cancer information. Many oncologists' daily practice includes accessing up-to-date publications online, collaborating with co-researchers via e-mail, or sharing patient cases with colleagues in distant places. At the same time, more than half of today's cancer patients are using Google, Facebook, Twitter and online forums  to find information about their cancer, its treatment, and how other patients experience it.

While regulators are still living the myth that health information can be contained in a well-controlled 'walled' environment, information about clinical trials, new treatments and quality of care is spreading quickly. To address this issue, the EMCC offered the 'Cancer and the Internet'  session as well as a social media teaching lecture to address how healthcare professionals and patient groups are using the internet and social media today. Both the plenary session as well as the teaching lectures were chaired by Jan Geissler (CML Advocates Network). Speakers included Richard Sullivan (Kings College), Gilles Frydman (ACOR), Denis Costello (EURORDIS), Kathi Apostolodis (e-patient).

The slides are embedded below.

Slides of the 'Cancer and the Internet' sessions

Cancer on the Internet / Teaching Lecture on Social Media


Live Twitter Feed on #EMCC2011 hashtag

Statistics of #EMCC2011 hashtag - illustration on the right representing tweets on 25/09/2011