A New Approach To Conferences
The 38th ICON conference, hosted by AMPOK in the lap of God’s Own Country, saw many novel sessions, from nuclear medicine-based theranostics to a session on palliative medicine.
More than 300 delegates attended the 38th ICON being hosted in God’s Own Country.
The 38th Indian Cooperative Oncology Network (ICON) Conference, held from March 23-25 at Kochi, Kerala, had a first to its credit. It was the first such conference being organized by the recently-constituted Association of Medical and Paediatric Oncologists of Kerala (AMPOK). “Kerala has never been a destination for any of the big scientific meetings in the oncology sector,” says Dr. Boben Thomas, Organising Secretary. “We looked at a holistic approach with this ICON conference. Our themes were treatment-specific instead of being organ-specific, say lung cancer or breast cancer.”
For instance, he elaborates, there are independent conferences that are held in the field of nuclear medicine. “The role of nuclear medicine in medical oncology has increased significantly,” says Dr. Thomas. “It can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer too. So we decided that they should be included in the main agenda of the meeting, as part of an oncology conference. Now it is the era of immune therapy, genomics… we had sessions on all of these as part of the main conference.”
An innovative session was the one titled ‘What I Do On A Monday Morning’, which looks at practical, day-to-day difficulties and problems faced by oncologists. “And to make it a completely holistic conference, we included a full-day session for nurses too,” says Dr. Thomas. “After all, they are the primary caregivers. And they need to be up to speed with the latest medical and technological developments.”
ICON Executive Director Dr. Purvish Parikh is hopeful of meeting the ICON’s objective of better prevention and management of cancers in the country. “Efforts are on across the country, to spread awareness and to have more early screening and detection camps,” says Dr. Parikh. His vision was echoed by fellow oncologists and ICON committee members Dr. Randeep Singh and Dr. Shailesh Bondarde. The conference had a session on palliative medicine, titled ‘Think Beyond Morphine’. “In hospitals what we need is palliative medicine,” says Dr. Thomas. “Palliative care, on the other hand, is a communitybased model. What we need in hospitals is interventional pain management and more. And the impact of palliative medicine is more for the oncology community. And this revolution can come around in Kerala because of the strong palliative care model available.”
Dr. Arlene Chan, breast cancer specialist, who practices at Hollywood Private Hospital in Australia, led the session on palliative medicine. More than 300 delegates attended the 38th ICON being hosted in God’s Own Country. “This event also gave AMPOK, which is presided over by Dr. V P Gangadharan, a great launch into the national space,” he says. The event also saw the presence of renowned oncologists from other countries. The speaker list included Dr Francesco Grossi of the National Institute for Cancer Research of Genoa, Dr Shaji Kumar from the Mayo, and Dr Richard P Baum, Chairman and Clinical Director of the Department of Nuclear Medicine/Center for PET/CT, Zentralklinik Bad Berka, making it an event of note in the oncology sector.