In a series of interviews, guest reporter Owen Haskins from Dendrite Clinical Systems, will be previewing this year’s ACPGBI annual meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, July 4-6. He talked to Professor Robert Steele, President of the ACPGBI, who highlighted some of the key sessions, presentations and speakers, as well as emphasising why those with an interest in coloproctology should attend the meeting.
“Coloproctology is very much a multidisciplinary specialty and we are keen to include our colleagues outside of surgery. Although surgeons are by far the most common specialists that are engaged in coloproctology, we are very eager to engage with oncologists, pathologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists and our nursing colleagues and other allied health professionals,” began Professor Steele. “The aims of this year’s meeting are to communicate cutting edge practice in coloproctology, and to allow attendees to hear about the latest developments on the research front.”
He added that anyone with an interest with any aspect of coloproctology should attend this meeting. Although by its very nature, the meeting has a surgical slant, it is by no means all about surgery. Attendees will not only learn the best current multidisciplinary practice for treating patients, but also what is in the pipeline for the future of the specialty, and importantly, what current research is being undertaken in coloproctology.
This year’s programme has been developed to encompass the many aspects of the specialty including presentations and lectures from eminent oncologists, pathologists and gastroenterologists. This will include a key presentation by Sir David Lane, who is one of the foremost molecular scientists in the world. He will present the Plenary BDRF Lecture: “The molecular biology of colorectal cancer and its therapeutic implications,” during which he will explain how molecular science may change the face of coloproctology in the future.
In addition, Dr Jim Church from Cleveland, who is a world-renowned colorectal surgeon and who has a particular interest in colonoscopy, will give the Plenary Colorectal Disease Lecture entitled, ‘Colonoscopy in the 21st Century,’ giving attendees practical tips on colonoscopy.
There will also be a strong Scandinavian presence at the meeting including Torbjörn Holm, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, who will be discussing radical surgery for rectal cancer. In addition, Søren Laurberg, from Aarhus Universitetshospital in Denmark, will be playing a prominent role at the meeting, not least in delivering the BJS lecture: ‘The harm we cause by treating rectal cancer and how to minimise it.’
“We are very keen for attendees to attend the plenary sessions and lectures, in particular I would urge delegates to go to the plenary research sessions on Monday afternoon,” he urged. “So that we can make the research session as immediate as possible, the programme has not yet been finalised and we want the session to be really state of the art. It promises to be an extremely interesting and exciting session.”
Furthermore, the ACPGBI is also extremely keen to engage trainees in coloproctology and, in addition to the trainees’ “Dukes” symposium, there will be special trainee events on the first day of the meeting, hosting two parallel hands-on training sessions on ultrasound and trans-anal surgery.
“In addition to these courses, during the Delphi Exercise session also on the Monday morning, we will be trying to develop a consensus on when we should be defunctioning or avoiding an anastomosis, and this will be a very novel approach to a very important aspect of coloproctology,” he explained. “Furthermore, there is a new session focusing on the prevention of colorectal cancer. We have rarely addressed the issues around preventing the disease in this forum, and we will discuss aspects of lifestyle, drugs and screening, among others. This promises to be an extremely interesting session.”
The issue of Emergency Surgery is a major topic for all those with an interest in coloproctology and this session, led by Professor Iain Anderson, will debate the role of the colorectal surgeon and the emergence of specialist emergency surgery, as well as looking at specific research around emergency surgery.
There will also be sessions and keynote presentations on the advances in diagnosis and imaging technology, fistula-in-ano, the adenoma, the genetics of colorectal disease, rectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as the regular sessions on the Controversies in Coloproctology, Consultant’s corner and the Nurses’ Symposium
“I find that one of the great joys of these meetings is that it’s an opportunity for delegates to catch up with old friends, as well as meet new colleagues,” said Professor Steele. “The meeting is an excellent way to discuss, debate and share knowledge with coloproctologists not only from the UK, but from around the world.”
Away from the meeting, delegates can also enjoy several social events including a Welcome Reception in the Exhibition Hall on the Monday evening during which there will be prize giving and the presentation of honorary memberships. On the Tuesday evening, the conference dinner will be held at the National Museum of Scotland and, according to Professor Steele, the dinner ‘will have a definite Scottish theme’.
“We will be requiring all our Scottish members to wear their kilts – and our English members can always hire them if they wish!”
“Edinburgh is my home town and although I work in Dundee, I still regularly visit the city because it remains for me, the most beautiful and interesting city in the world. There is so much to see and do from visiting Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, and walking the Royal Mile, to seeing some of the greatest paintings in the world at the National Gallery,” he added. “It is a very accessible city and everything is within walking distance. The city has a huge amount to offer and I would urge attendees to come a few days early or stay a few days after the meeting to see all the wonderful sights this city has to offer.”
“In my opinion, this is definitely the best coloproctology meeting in the UK and, I would argue, it is one of the best internationally as well. This is a very important meeting for a specialty that has developed from a special interest to a specialty,” he concluded. “This meeting really is the voice for coloproctology in the United Kingdom, and I look forward to welcoming colleagues both old and new to Edinburgh.”