Cancer Australia Launch at ASBD Conference

Cancer Australia chose ASBD’s most recent conference, the 12th Scientific Meeting held at RACV Royal Pines in October to launch the statement “Influencing best practice in metastatic breast cancer

Cancer Australia CEO Prof Dorothy Keefe PSM, was in attendance to launch the document.

The best practice statement aims to deliver better care across the health continuum and ensure people living with metastatic breast cancer know what their treatment options are and are involved in the decisions around that treatment.

The Statement also acknowledges that multidisciplinary care is particularly important for people with metastatic breast cancer due to their complex management and supportive care needs. Effective, sensitive communication in a culturally safe environment, and a patient-centred, individualised approach are key elements of care. Ten key appropriate and inappropriate metastatic breast cancer practices are highlighted to ensure that patients receive consistent breast cancer care. Access the statement here. – supply link to PDF on ASBD web


Collaboration - Cancer Australia CEO Dorothy Keefe, ASBD Executive Officer Kerry Eyles, ASBD President Elisabeth Elder, BCNA CEO Kirsten Pillati at the reception following the launch.

ASBD’s Largest Scientific Meeting

The 2019 conference was our largest scientific meeting to date with over 600 delegates and was an example of strong collaboration between key groups in the breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and care domain - including Cancer Australia, BCNA, BreastSurgANZ, McGrath Foundation, Sydney University, Breast Physicians of Australia and New Zealand and the GP’s Breast Interest Group. As a multi-disciplinary society ASBD is pleased to provide the framework to encourage many groups to come together in the interest of providing better diagnosis, treatment and overall care of breast cancer patients.

Complementary Therapies

One of the highlights of the Evidence Based Supportive Care session was the presentation by Professor Shaun Holt on the topic of complementary therapy in patients with breast cancer. Prof. Holt is a medical doctor, researcher and an adjunct professor at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. He is widely regarded as an expert in complementary therapy and has featured on TV, radio and Ted Talk on this topic.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is commonly used by cancer patients and studies indicate that 25% of patients may use 7 or more different types of CAMs in addition to conventional treatment in an effort to leave no stone unturned. Prof. Holt gave a comprehensive, thoughtful and often humorous account of the myriad of CAMs available. He categorized the CAMs into Alternative medical systems (e.g. acupuncture, homeopathy), Manipulative/Body based systems (e.g. chiropractic, massage), Mind-Body Intervention (e.g. yoga, meditation), Biologically based therapies (e.g. vitamins, supplements) and Energy therapies (e.g. TENS, crystals, magnets). Although CAMs do not cure cancer, a surprisingly large number of CAMs have been shown in studies to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Prof Holt discussed CAMs that can be beneficial such as acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, meditation, art/music therapy, yoga, tai chi, hypnosis, ginger and TENS. On the other hand, a wide variety of CAMs can cause harm by delaying or substituting conventional treatment as well as psychological harm and financial harm. His talk is a useful reminder for healthcare professionals to be aware of the different types of CAMs available in the community and to be understanding of the patient’s anxiety and needs. Only then can we offer advice and guidance for our patients to use CAMs that are beneficial and avoid those than can cause harm.

Radiation Oncology Workshop

The workshop was led by A/Professor Anne Koch of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto.  (Number) attendees to the workshop made good use of the opportunity for up close and personal discussions with the world expert in the indications of regional nodal irradiation in the post mastectomy setting. Anne showed multiple examples of planning cases to illustrate the clinical issues and technical challenges relevant to the regional nodal radiotherapy. In her presentation, Anne highlighted the trend for de-escalation of the use of nodal irradiation in low risk node positive breast cancers and recommended for risk adaptive strategy to guide patient selection. She illustrated the technical aspects of hypofractionation for regional nodal radiotherapy as per the clinical trials MA-39 and MAC-23, currently active in Canada and the North America.

Ethics and Law Workshop

“Ethics & Law – End of life/Bioethical dilemmas in cancer treatment and research” was one of the most interesting and thought-provoking pre-conference workshops offered at the last ASBD Scientific Meeting. Two very engaging speakers, Professor Ben White and Dr David Kirchhoffer, gave compelling presentations on the delicate issues around the voluntary assisted dying and ethical concerns in medical research. The meaning and value of the concept of human dignity always takes the precedence in patient care.

2019 Proffered Paper Winners

Over fifty abstracts were submitted from all disciplines and the judges selected the top eight for oral presentations.

Jennifer Xu’s presentation “First do no harm”: Significance of delays to surgery in patients with non-metastatic breast cancer, was the winning oral presentation judged by Dr Torsten Neilsen, a clinician-scientist at the University of British Columbia, and Dr Reena Ramsaroop, a pathologist and former ASBD director from Auckland , New Zealand. Jennifer Xu is completing her final year of medical school at the University of Melbourne. She has a keen interest in surgery and oncology. Over the past 6 months she has been working with the team at ONJCRI to complete her project on wait times to breast cancer surgery.

Jennifer Xu, University of Melbourne

Dr Ranesh Pallen’s winning poster was titled: Impact of SSO-ASTRO Margin Guidelines and intra-operative imaging on re-operation rates following breast conserving surgery: A single tertiary institution’s six-year experience. Ranesh is a PGY4 unaccredited general surgery registrar working at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. He completed his undergraduate studies at The University of Western Australia and has a Postgraduate Diploma of Surgical Anatomy from the University of Otago. Ranesh’s research interests lie within Surgical Oncology and Trauma Surgery.


Dr Ranesh Pallen with his poster.

The conference exhibition and poster area.