Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, COSA

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Executive Officer, COSA


COSA Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM)

Hopefully readers will still have time to register for the 2016 COSA ASM when this edition of Cancer Forum is published. Held on the Gold Coast from 15 to 17 November 2016, the theme of “Partners for Progress in Breast Cancer Research and Care” is fitting for our collaboration with the ANZBCTG for a conference program dedicated to breast cancer. The full program and registration information is available at www.cosa2016.org

Venues, dates and themes for future COSA ASMs are now confirmed as follows:

  • 2017, 13-15 November, Sydney International Convention Centre – immunotherapy, with a subtheme on quality and safety in cancer care
  • 2018, 13-15 November, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre – gastro-intestinal cancers and mesothelioma, with possible sub themes of prevention, technology and genomics
  • 2019, 12-14 November, Adelaide Convention Centre – prostate cancer and geriatric oncology

Cancer Survivorship 2017

COSA is now partnering with the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer to co‐host the biennial Cancer Survivorship Conference. The 2017 event will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Thursday 2 and Friday 3 February. This exciting partnership will help ensure this conference is closely aligned with the national directions for cancer control and continues to expand its reach and relevance to a diverse range of cancer health professionals, policy makers and to all those affected by cancer.

The theme “Cancer Survivorship 2017: Pathways to better policy and practice” will focus our thinking on how we can translate the growing evidence in this area into day to day applications. The program will explore diverse perspectives from Australia, the UK and US to identify how we can accelerate progress collaboratively, share learnings and promote best practice.

Unlike the COSA ASM, delegates to this conference include not only health professionals and researchers but also cancer survivors and representatives from cancer advocacy groups.

Other educational opportunities for COSA members 

The COSA Cancer Care Coordination Group has trialled a highly successful webinar program to assist in achieving the Group’s professional development goals. To date the Group has conducted two webinars: the pilot webinar was held in October 2015 on the topic of “Indigenous Cancer Care” with the aim of highlighting the relationship between individual, social and health system issues that can impact on the delivery of cancer care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients; and the second in July 2016 titled “Care, Complexity & Clarity” presented elements of a current research project that set out to develop and pilot test a clinically relevant nurse‐sensitive index for use with cancer patients in ambulatory settings. The webinars reached 150 registrants at over 90 sites. COSA and the Cancer Care Coordination Group are currently investigating further webinars on topics of relevance to COSA members.

Australasian Tele-Trial Model

Under the leadership of Professor Sabe Sabesan, and in consultation with clinical trial sponsors, clinicians, health administrators and regulatory bodies, COSA recently published a national guide for implementing the Australasian Tele-Trial Model – a model to enable cancer patients to access clinical trials closer to home using tele-health.

Access to clinical trials for people diagnosed with cancer is a core component of providing optimal cancer care through specialist cancer centres, hospitals and other treatment facilities. Patients living outside major metropolitan centres face many barriers accessing clinical trials, including the limited availability of trial sites close to home and the increased cost and inconvenience of travel to major centres where the trials are taking place. While it may be reasonable to establish clinical trials units in large regional cancer treatment centres, the logistics of maintaining a suitably trained workforce and undertaking the ethical and regulatory responsibilities of clinical trials may be difficult in smaller rural and regional sites with limited resources and low patient numbers.

System improvement using the model is unlikely to be achieved without added cost and additional resources for the sponsors, hospitals and governments. Simplification and streamlining of site accreditation and selection processes, monitoring requirements, ethics, governance and contractual matters are needed to reduce cost and workload, and to expedite approval processes. COSA will now work with relevant stakeholders to ensure adoption of the Australasian Tele-trial Model is part of standard practice by cooperative trials groups, industry, researchers, governments, regulatory bodies, hospitals and insurers.

The Australasian Tele-trial Model is available to download from the publications page of the COSA website www.cosa.org.au

Working with Cancer Council Australia

In COSA’s role as medical and scientific advisors to Cancer Council Australia, we often collaborate on submissions to government. Since the last report we have submitted the following joint submissions from Cancer Council Australia and COSA:

  1. Submission to the Review of the Radiation Oncology Health Programs Scheme (April 2016)
  2. Comment on the National Patient Information and Consent Form (PCIF) Project documents (July 2016)

Cancer Council Australia and COSA’s joint Position Statement on the Medical use of cannabis was updated in July 2016 to report on national and state changes in public policy in this area. Our joint position remains unchanged.

For more information about COSA activities please visit www.cosa.org.au

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