COSA correspondence – Day one

4 minute read

A medical oncology registrar shares her highlights from COSA 2022.

Dear Oncology Republic readers, if you were in Brisbane this week, you may have crossed paths with Dr Amy Davies. This is her experience of day one of COSA 2022.

Here I am, reporting back on day one of COSA 2022, held this year at the Brisbane Convention Centre – well positioned adjacent to the Brisbane cop shop to maximise good behaviour from all delegates!

I walk inside brimming with optimism for what the next few days might bring and the first breakfast session didn’t disappoint. The malnutrition and sarcopenia talk was a timely reminder that cancer-related cachexia is common, insidious and requires input from many (or most) MDT stakeholders.

Perhaps using serial CT imaging, which we are fortunate to use regularly to stage and restage in most patients, may become a way to monitor sarcopenia. I wonder if we could leverage that more often in clinical practice.

Following that was a very warm welcoming ceremony and a critically important plenary. Highlighting often marginalised aspects of cancer care for First Nations peoples, CALD persons and the LGBTQI+ community in a plenary was an important and timely programming decision and I applaud the organisers for this. Awareness is the first step and #COSA22 has achieved this.

But it will be up to my generation of clinicians to actually make changes. The time to tailor our care to include the unique needs of these cohorts is now: 41% of LGBTQI+ people reported high levels of distress in a recent study. This is unacceptably high.

Next up I plunged into the world of lung cancer, diving as deep as the genomic level. This session was fascinating and inspiring. The Aspiration study, presented by Professor Solomon, has provided NGS (next-generation sequencing) to over 600 people so far across the breadth of Australia.

There were also two basic science talks describing spatial genomics and deep analysis of proteins, which went completely over my head but were nonetheless fascinating.

The afternoon plenary highlighted another critical pillar in oncology practice: geriatric oncology. After all, cancer is a disease of ageing and with a population advancing in years the unique needs of older people with cancer are relevant to all clinicians.

To close out day one I attended the “power of language” session. In this we heard from two consumer advocates and their opinions were invaluable. I left resolute that patient information documentation can be improved by shifting away from generic cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all documents into tailored pieces, informed by consumer groups, that reflect the needs of various populations within the broader cancer community.

My takeaway from an enlightening first day is that we are doing so many things well and in the future we can all contribute to make most things even better! To wrap up, I shared a vino with my colleagues from Monash Health. I’m so glad we can now return to face-to-face events!

Dr Amy Davies is a medical oncology registrar at Monash Health.

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