For the seventh year in a row, the American University of Beirut Medical Center (@AUBMC_Official) held its Beirut Breast Cancer Conference (BBCC). BBCC-7 (@myBBCC) was a truly multidisciplinary event with over 350 attendees from all breast cancer-related specialties, including fellows and residents from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, and the United States. BBBC-7 also had special nursing oncology, oncology pharmacy, and patient advocacy sessions.
BBCC-7 included highlights from the 2018 Saint Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the ESMO Congress, the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting, and recent literature advances for management of patients with breast cancer. TAILORx and genomic profiling were nicely addressed by Dr. Julie Gralow (@jrgralow), as avoidance of chemotherapy in patients with early breast cancer is an issue that has become relevant worldwide, not forgetting the importance of having expert pathologist interpretation of breast tissue. Dr. Mahmoud El-Tamer presented clear and useful guidelines for breast and axilla conservative surgery. Dr. Matti Aapro addressed updates on monitoring patients on CDK4/6 inhibitors. Dr. Ahmad Awada addressed brain metastasis, which is becoming more common as patients with breast cancer are surviving longer. Guidelines for disease management, optimal and shorter duration anti-HER2 therapy, hormone therapy, efforts at optimal utilization of CDK inhibitors, and the emerging role of immunotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer were discussed by international experts from Lebanon, other Arab countries, Europe, and the United States. Three popular and well-attended tumor board sessions were held.
New research papers by young researchers from the American University of Beirut (@AUB_Lebanon) and St. Joseph University (@USJLiban) of Lebanon on BRCA mutations and improvement of outcomes of young patients below age 40 won BBCC-7’s Best Abstract Awards.
A special opening ceremony debate was moderated by Lebanese Satellite TV News senior anchor Samar Abou Khalil. The debate featured a panel of experts and heads of Lebanese Orders of Physicians, nurses and academic authorities on patients’ rights, who critically discussed resources and implementation of guidelines for screening and early detection, early diagnosis, proper surgery, radiation therapy, and judicial use of systemic therapy for all patients including those in remote and low-resource areas. Mandatory tumor boards for all patients and in all hospitals that manage patients with cancer in Lebanon was recommended. Training workshops and infrastructure for sentinel lymph node biopsy for all potential patients with early breast cancer should be generalized. Although continuing medical education (CME) is available, panelists recommended strict enforcement of CME requirements for licensing renewal in Lebanon and Arab countries.
Special half-day parallel sessions on oncology nursing and oncology pharmacy, as well as patient advocacy, organized in partnership with the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation (@lbcf_Lebanon) were highlights of BBCC-7. Attendees also enjoyed special lectures and discussions were led by Allison Dvaladze (@dvarusalka) and Dr. Gralow on the Women’s Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network and the Breast Cancer Initiative 2.5.
BBCC-7 is an example of a modern multidisciplinary specialty oncology regional meeting that provides excellent onsite dissemination of knowledge and research, and deserves support by national and international oncologists and societies, as well as sponsors.
Attendees gathered from the United States, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, among other countries, for the BBCC-7 Day 3 Tumor Board session. Front row, left to right: Dr. Mahmoud El-Tamer, Dr. Hamdy A. Azim, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Masri, Dr. Hikmat Abdel Razek, and Dr. Fawaz Deirawan.
Dr. El Saghir at the microphone during a BBCC-7 session.
Ms. Allison Dvaladze, Dr. Julie Gralow, and Dr. El Saghir touring the AUB campus. Photos by Abeer Darwiche.