It is always a great pleasure to work on, participate, and write about ASCO-related educational and administrative activities, especially the ASCO Annual Meeting and its offspring: Best of ASCO meetings around the world!
The Lebanese Society of Medical Oncology (LSMO), under license from ASCO, held its 14th Best of ASCO Lebanon in 2019, with over 400 attendees and speakers from Lebanon and the region as well as Europe and the United States.
It was amazing to see how many oncologists who have attended the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago make every effort and take time off their clinics to participate in Best of ASCO. They say that Best of ASCO consolidates what they learned at the ASCO Annual Meeting from sessions they were able to attend, but also they learn more about the best abstracts from sessions they were unable to attend. The ASCO Annual Meeting has become so huge that nobody can attend everything they want to!
So many oncologists, medical, radiation, and surgical, are also unable to travel to the United States for the meeting, and wait for Best of ASCO to hear all the most important presentations. That also applies for oncologists who covered their colleagues who travelled to Chicago in early June. It was also noticeable that local and regional fellows- and residents-in-training strive to attend Best of ASCO. We emphasize the importance of not only knowing the results of clinical trials, but also exploring their rationale and methodology and the way we arrive at conclusions, making practice-changing recommendation where applicable, and stimulating the young generation to be the leaders for future research.
The Best of ASCO meeting has become a top priority meeting on the agenda of LSMO. The LSMO Board of Directors organizes two major meetings, the LSMO Annual Meeting in March and Best of ASCO in June/July, right after the ASCO Annual Meeting. It was a great pleasure to co-chair the meeting with LSMO president Nizar Bitar, MD (@nizarbitar3), who worked effortlessly to organize, promote, and get sponsorships to cover the costs of the meeting. Lebanese oncologists and LSMO members who had attended the ASCO Annual Meeting were great speakers. Ghassan K. Abou-Alfa, MD (@GABOUALFA), and Eileen M. O'Reilly, MD (@EileenMOReilly), of Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York, Ahmad Awada, MD, of the Jules Bordet Institute, Brussels, Belgium, and Sana Al-Sukhun, MD, MSc, of the the University of Jordan, Amman, were among our international faculty.
Ample time for discussion was requested by the audience and accommodated as much as possible. We learned that we should give more time for discussions on the relevance of new findings to clinical practice. However, the high number of abstracts designated as Best of ASCO for a 2-day meeting does not allow more than a few minutes for discussion. Best of ASCO planning committees usually eliminate some abstracts that they think are not relevant. A better solution would be that ASCO selecting body reduces the total number of Best of ASCO abstracts. Having parallel sessions is another possibility; however, the majority of worldwide attendees are general practicing oncologists and like to attend all sessions.
Having been myself a proud member of the ASCO International Affairs Committee in 2002-2005, being among the first people to participate when Best of ASCO started in the United States, and having helped to take the meeting overseas (in Japan, Mexico, and Lebanon), I am delighted and honored to see that the tradition of Best of ASCO continues to grow in Lebanon, the Middle East, and and over 25 countries worldwide. We are all proud to see Best of ASCO getting better and better and providing oncologic educational opportunities worldwide!
LSMO president Dr. Nizar Bitar, LSMO president-elect Dr. Roger Khater, and LSMO past presidents Dr. Joseph Makdessi and Dr. El Saghir with participants on the second day of the 2019 Best of ASCO Lebanon.