President's Message

Welcome to the website of BASO ~ The Association for Cancer Surgery


Optimising the art and science of cancer surgery

Cancer care has recently passed a significant milestone in that over 50% of all patients diagnosed with cancer are now cured of it. Over the 43 years since BASO~ACS was first formed, surgery for cancer has changed massively and the contribution of surgeons to the massive achievement must not be underestimated. Thirty day survival rates have dropped substantially such that surgical deaths are now very rare. The technological advances initiated, developed and trialled by surgeons mean that the experience of cancer surgery is now much less morbid. Quality of life for cancer survivors is recognised as increasingly important as the majority of patients survive to live normal lifespans. The late effects of treatment must be tolerable for steadily growing group of survivors. Surgical ingenuity in preservation of form and function, including organ preservation or restoration, (breast, anorectum, limb, viscera etc.), cosmesis in breast and head and neck cancers and psychological support has been key to this drive to make the cure tolerable.

We cannot claim credit for all of the improvement seen and increasingly we work in multidisciplinary teams to achieve these outcomes. It is therefore vital that surgeons, who are usually the lead service for the diagnostic and treatment pathway, keep abreast of the latest developments in the world of medical imaging, diagnostics, genetics, medical and radiation oncology. We can also learn from other surgical disciplines than our own specialist area to facilitate progress. Excellent examples of this have been seen with the development of breast oncoplastic and reconstructive surgery with breast oncology surgeons and plastic surgeons learning from each other, sentinel node biopsy which spans multiple surgical sites, laparoscopic, robotic and minimally invasive techniques to name but a few.

BASO~ACS is an association for all disciplines of cancer surgery and was established 43 years ago to support progress in cancer care by supporting education, training and research. To this end we work to transcend the narrow confines of specialist associations and single professional groups to encourage truly multidisciplinary and multi-professional progress.We Chair the Royal College of Surgeons' Cancer Services Committee, which bring together the presidents of all of the specialist associations for cancer surgery 3 times per year to review the challenges facing all cancer surgeons and act as a single voice to champion cancer surgery.

We organise a National Congress each year in November. Our past 2 meetings, led by our previous President Professor Riccardo Audisio, have been a huge success. In 2014 we joined forces with our sister organisation, the European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO) to deliver one of the largest cancer surgery congresses with over 1000 delegates from across the globe. World opinion leaders from all surgical disciplines presented, debated and discussed the latest technological advances over 3 days in Liverpool. in 2015, we were invited to join forces with the Royal Society of Medicine, Section of Surgery in London and had a highly successful meeting with some 200 delegates.

This year, in recognition of our need to be fully engaged in multidisciplinary working with basic scientists, medical and radiation oncologists, imaging experts, geneticists, nurses and professions allied to medicine, we will join forces with the NCRI congress and will be running our congress along -side and partially embedded in theirs. This will give us the opportunity to make available the keynote international oncology speakers as well as dedicated surgical session, networking and debates. It will also allow increased engagement with research for our trainees by facilitating collaboration. We will also be involved in the planned NCRI workshops to facilitate cancer surgery research which will be taking place in the next 12 months.

We will continue to support surgical oncology trainees, whatever their discipline, both with our long established eponymous awards (the Raven Travelling Fellowships) but also by the creation of several new awards to support trainees and newly appointed consultants to attend academic and clinical meetings and courses abroad and to support 'bench fees' for research. Our Trainees Association, BASO Trainees, has now got over 200 members and runs a regular trainee day just ahead of the main congress, with a networking dinner and a healthy online social media presence. We will also support trainees with a series of courses up and down the UK.

BASO is also very proud to be one of the 2 founding bodies of the European Journal of Surgical Oncology (EJSO). This Journal is going from strength to strength under the leadership of Professor Audisio with its impact factor exceeding 3 for the first time this year and seeing a steady rise in the number and quality of submissions. Subscription to the Journal is a benefit of BASO membership.

We are fortunate that all our members benefit from our ongoing close association with ESSO. Our trainees have access to all of the Trainee events of EYSAC (European Young Surgeons and Alumni Club) and BASO members benefit from member rates at all ESSO congresses and courses across Europe as well as all the networking and fellowship opportunities this linkage provides.

Finally we plan to increase our engagement with the national community of cancer surgeons across the UK, both in academic, teaching and district hospitals by appointing regional representatives across the UK. We must never lose sight of the fact that the majority of cancers are dealt with by surgeons working in smaller hospitals and we intent that BASO will continue to support them in their work by providing first class continuing medical education, networking and professional support.

We hope you will continue to support us as we move forward.

Lynda Wyld
President  BASO~ACS
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