BIGOSA: 4th conference

The 4th annual conference of BIGOSA was held last weekend.  My previous blog covers some of the topics covered by the overseas guest speaker, Prof Stuart Schnitt.  Other highlights of the programme included talks from local experts with 6 free papers.

Dr Louella Ritz (radiologist) runs the Bone and Breast Care Centre in Johannesburg.  She discussed "New imaging modalities: fad or fact?"  Her talk centred around the advantages of tomosynthesis and showed the youtube clip explaining the advantages of 3D imaging.

Dr Conrad Pienaar
She was followed by Dr Conrad Pienaar (reconstructive surgeon) who discussed the advantages of the DIEP flap over the TRAM flap.  The main argument for a DIEP flap rather than a TRAM comes from consideration of the blood supply.  Both the DIEP flap and the TRAM flap use fat from from the abdomen but the DIEP is an anatomically more logical reconstruction.

We then heard from our radiation oncology colleagues.  Dr Vorobiof gave us an overview of the new guidelines for chemotherapy. He discussed the exploitation of hallmarks as being the future of systemic therapy.  Dr Landers followed with "Innovations in Radiotherapy".  He foresees a future where radiotherapy will be  individualised according to the risks posed by the tumour. (At present, the majority of women who need radiotherapy get standard 50Gy external beam radiotherapy).

Dr Hodgson, an anaethetist from Durban, discussed the use of local blocks for breast cancer surgery.  Most breast surgeons do not utilise local blocks and it is something we should be looking at.  Six free papers followed.  The Olga Stathoulis Prize for the best paper was given to Dr van Schalkwyk from Bloemfontein who presented a paper entitled "Prognostic subtypes in stage 3 breast cancer."

After lunch, Donnee Ness gave an excellent paper on new modalities utilised in the management of lymphoedema.  She concentrated on the diagnostic modalities being used to assess patients and her research based in Durban.

Eighty percent of breast cancers are endocrine positive so the majority of women with breast cancer will be advised to have endocrine therapy at some point in their management. Their symptoms tend to last longer than those experience by women going through natural menopause and managing them can be challenging.  Prof Davey shared his extensive experience with us and discussed the therapeutic options.   The last talk of the day was given by Dr Coetsee who gave an overview of fertility issues facing breast cancer survivors.

To all the local organising committee: thank you for oragnising an excellent conference.  To all the sponsors: thank you.  A special thanks to Dr Ines Buccimazza and Lisa Vickers from African Agenda.

Dr Ines Buccimazza

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