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Gathering together, while standing apart

By Mindo - 22nd Oct 2020

Gathering Around Cancer 2020, 5-6 November, virtual meeting live from Croke Park Convention Centre, Dublin

We preview this year’s Gathering Around Cancer meeting, which will take place on a virtual basis early next month

This year, due to the prevailing Covid-19 public health restrictions, the Gathering Around Cancer annual meeting will be delivered on a virtual platform and be broadcast live from Dublin on the 5 and 6 November.
“In this, the eighth iteration of the meeting, the goal of gathering the Irish oncology Diaspora and their mentors and friends, to learn from each other and to share research ideas, has never been as relevant,” according to the Prof David Gallagher, Consultant Medical Oncologist and Consultant Medical Geneticist, St James’s Hospital; and Prof John McCaffrey, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, of the meeting’s organising committee.

“Gathering together while standing apart,” is the maxim of this year’s meeting.

As in previous years, the meeting aims to focus on the topics that change the way the management of cancer is approached, with a focus on clinical updates, amending care pathways during this pandemic, while still fostering research collaborations.

The organisers have responded to feedback regarding topics and areas of interest from delegates and will be asking for feedback during and after this year’s event.

“In particular, in areas of speciality nursing, and the allied medical professions, it would be very useful to tell us about the topics you would like discussed and the speakers whom you would like to address the meeting in the future,” according to the organisers.

Irish investigators abroad

The first session of the meeting focuses on Irish investigators abroad. Presentations range from leveraging molecular data in trial design and for biomarker identification, to the role of stereotactic radiation in oligometastatic disease. The speakers during the session are: Dr Deirdre Kelly, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto; Dr Jack Gleeson, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York; Dr Grainne O’Kane, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto; Dr Dan Cagney, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; and Dr Louise Connell, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York.


The second session of the meeting will be on areas of specialist interest, while the third and final session of the first day is on lessons learned during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Melissa Lumish and Dr Yelena Janjigian, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York, will speak about chemotherapy and Covid-19 outcomes in patients with cancer. Dr Anne Horgan, University Hospital Waterford, will give a talk entitled ‘Treating older patients with cancer during Covid-19’.

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE, and Prof Paddy Mallon, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, will also give talks on the lessons learned during the pandemic and the overall national strategy to limit the spread of the virus.


The topic of the keynote speech is ‘resilience and burnout’, which will be delivered by Dr Dean Bajorin, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York. Dr Bajorin’s expertise is in the treatment of genitourinary tumours, particularly bladder and testicular cancers. His research on testicular cancer has been directed toward decreasing the side effects of chemotherapy drugs and evaluating biological characteristics of tumours to predict treatment response. Dr Bajorin has received a number of honours and awards for his work, including, in 2011, the Statesmen Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which recognises certain members for more than 20 years of extraordinary volunteer service, dedication, and commitment.

Among other contributions he also helped ASCO shape a new strategic plan to address the looming shortage of oncologists in the United States by 2020 – including the development of innovative practice arrangements.


The second day of the meeting will consist of updates on the following areas: Medical oncology; breast cancer; genitourinary cancer; and gastro-intestinal cancer. The closing remarks of the conference will be delivered by Prof McCaffrey and Prof Gallagher. A total of 12 CPD credits have been awarded for this meeting by the RCPI.

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