After five days filled with practice-changing data, intense discussions and educational sessions addressing the needs and issues currently arising for oncology professionals and impacting patients with cancer worldwide, the ESMO Congress 2023 today sent home its more than 33,000 participants from 144 countries with plenty of food for thought and ample material to enrich their medical practice.
As the annual culminating point of the Society’s efforts to disseminate science-based evidence that oncologists can translate into better patient care, the highly anticipated 2023 edition of the Congress delivered in several important ways on the ESMO promise to stand by the side of oncologists and make a difference in the lives of people with cancer.
The latest scientific discoveries, which came in abundance this year and spanned the areas of cancer biology, prevention, early detection and treatment, including in disease categories with significant unmet need, were not only showcased but also contextualised within the wider body of evidence in sessions dedicated to helping clinicians optimise patient management in their home institutions. Meanwhile, researchers from around the world found in Madrid a stimulating atmosphere in which to exchange new ideas and engage in the kind of cross-fertilisation of disciplines and projects that will breed more innovation in the years ahead.
Various forums provided young oncologists and women in oncology opportunities for professional growth to overcome the different challenges associated with a career this field. A special session was also dedicated to enhancing the training in this speciality and attracting talented medical students to embody the future of medical oncology, which will depend on a sufficient and qualified workforce to uphold current achievements in cancer diagnosis, treatment and care.
To ensure oncology indeed follows a path of improvement for all patients globally, discussions orchestrated by the ESMO Resilience Task Force or the ESMO Climate Change Task Force turned to novel approaches to making the profession more sustainable—both in its intrinsic ability to continue serving patients while caring for the well-being of the doctors, and in its contribution to protecting the environment, and thus the health systems, in which it operates.
From the point of view of availability, out-of-pocket costs and accessibility of antineoplastic medicines, the presentation of the second ESMO study highlighted the obstacles and opportunities related to the fast-paced development of innovative therapies, focusing on how to mitigate resulting health disparities, as well as investigating the actions needed to put the most basic treatments within reach of patients in low- and middle-income countries.
As the attendees who brought the Congress 2023 to life go their ways, ESMO will continue to work on this and other issues of relevance to the global action against cancer. It is uniquely positioned to do so, drawing as it can on lasting bonds of solidarity that tie the Society to its worldwide membership.