European Breast Cancer Conference 7, Barcelona, Spain. March 2010
Inaugurated in 1998, the biennial series of European Breast Cancer Conferences (EBCCs) are jointly organised by eortc (the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer), europa donna (the European Breast Cancer Coalition), and eusoma (European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists). Reflecting each respective multidisciplinary Scientific programme of excellence, the EBCC continues to draw a record attendance. Jane O’Brien joined around 6000 delegates, including stakeholders from all breast cancer fields such as patient representatives, clinicians, health professionals and scientists, who gathered in Barcelona in March 2010 for EBCC 7.
An excellent session was delivered by French surgeon Krishna Clough, surgical oncologist and plastic surgeon, on Oncoplastic Breast Surgery, outlining his classification system and a useful “quadrant by quadrant” atlas of surgical techniques.
Also of particular interest to breast surgeons was a debate examining the role of preoperative MRI in women with recently diagnosed breast cancer. The appropriate application of breast MRI in the pre-operative evaluation of women with a new diagnosis of breast cancer is currently one of the most debated and controversial issues in breast cancer management. While it initially seemed clear to many that MRI’s superior detection capability relative to conventional breast
imaging for both the affected breast, and the contralateral (opposite) breast, would result in improved patient outcomes, an increasing body of evidence based on clinical experience suggests that this may not be the case. A lively discussion debated the question as to whether MRI for breast cancer is currently “standard of care”. Whilst it was acknowledged by participants on both sides of the debate that breast MRI is undoubtably of use in certain preoperative situations, the motion that it should be used in all cases was soundly defeated.