Dr. Laura A. Dawson
Dr. Karyn Goodman
Dr. Rodrigo Jover
Dr. Ulysses Ribeiro
“So many GI cancers are global diseases, and many have a higher incidence and mortality in countries outside of North America,” Steering Committee Chair Laura A. Dawson, MD, FRCPC, of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, said.
For example, stomach cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death worldwide. More than 70% of cases occur in developing countries, and 50% of cases occur in East Asia.1
“With this Symposium, we wanted to highlight variations in practice and outcomes around the world,” Dr. Dawson said.
The GI Cancers Symposium is unique because of its high international attendance, Program Committee Chair Karyn Goodman, MD, MS, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said. Out of last year’s approximately 3,270 professional attendees, more than half were from outside the United States.
This global representation is important because many of the advances in the treatment of GI cancers in recent years have been through large clinical trials conducted outside of the United States. “We want to be sure that we are including speakers and participants from all over the world because they bring such a widespread knowledge about the management of these cancers,” Dr. Goodman said.
When developing this year’s program, committee members were asked to consider the global theme in every subspecialty stream. For example, “General Session 2: Global Outlook on Gastric Cancer,” on January 18, will include discussion on gastric cancer surveillance and management from speakers representing European, South American, and Asian perspectives.
“The incidence and mortality of gastric cancer varies enormously among different areas of the planet, and they are particularly high in low-income countries or low socioeconomic-income groups in high-income regions,” Session Chair Ulysses Ribeiro, MD, PhD, of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, said. “The differences that may exist in various countries and regions may help us to better understand and manage this devastating disease.”
According to Dr. Goodman, the goal of this year’s theme is also to make the information presented practical. Therefore, in addition to hearing data from recent studies, attendees will hear challenging case presentations from international experts.
“General Session 3: Is There a Role for Locoregional Therapies in Stage IV Esophageal and Gastric Cancers?,” also on January 18, will begin with a case presentation and discussion.
“Esophageal cancer is a rare neoplasm in some areas, such as Latin America; however, the incidence of esophageal cancer, especially of the gastroesophageal junction, is beginning to increase,” Session Chair Paola Catherine Montenegro, MD, of Instituto Nacional De Enfermedades Neoplasicas, Peru, said.
Knowing how esophageal cancer is managed in countries with a high incident rate “will allow us [all] to have a better approach,” Dr. Montenegro said.
After the case presentation, the session will feature three presentations on locoregional therapies from the perspectives of a U.S. surgical oncologist, a Canadian medical oncologist, and a British radiation oncologist.
Another session that Dr. Goodman highlighted was “General Session 7: Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer,” on January 20.
“This year we are focusing on the rising incidence of colon cancer in young patients,” Dr. Goodman said.
According to Session Chair Rodrigo Jover, MD, PhD, of Alicante University General Hospital, Spain, the incidence of colorectal cancer has been decreasing since the mid-1980s, especially in the United States, because of the application of preventive measures and screening. However, among people younger than age 50, the trend is the opposite.
Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry data “demonstrates this trend in the United States,” Dr. Jover said. Additional independent data illustrates the same trends in Europe.
“There are very few data about the incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer in other parts of the world,” Dr. Jover continued. “However, data from Egypt, Turkey, and Iran are showing a similar trend of increasing incidence in people younger than age 50.”
The session will include an introductory talk about the magnitude of the problem and the epidemiology of early-onset colorectal cancer by Joseph J.Y. Sung, PhD, MBBS, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Next, attendees will hear a presentation on health disparities, screening, and prevention of early-onset colorectal cancer from Fay Kastrinos, MD, MPH, of Columbia University Medical Center. Finally, Irit Ben-Aharon, MD, PhD, of Davidoff Cancer Center, Israel, will discuss the clinical management of early-onset colorectal cancer and how to manage survivorship issues in these patients.
“The aim of this session is to inform the audience about the magnitude of the problem and its possible causes, with a focus on different realities all over the world,” Dr. Jover said. “The speakers’ varied backgrounds will give the audience a comprehensive perspective of the problem, with special relevance about global perspectives.”
Many of the topics that will be presented in these three sessions and others throughout the weekend will also touch on issues that are relevant to GI cancers regardless of location.
“At the end of the day, we are all dealing with many of the same issues and fundamental concepts that we struggle with when managing disease in these patients,” Dr. Goodman said.
By exposing attendees to a variety of international experts, Dr. Dawson said we may be able to glean how these everyday challenges are handled in each country, ultimately learning what may be best treatment for all patients.
*Program information updated as of Oct. 11, 2017. For session time and location information, please refer to the iPlanner app or website.