Quality and safety expert on-board for COSA meeting


The presidential lecture at the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (COSA) Annual Scientific Meeting in Sydney (13-15 November) has been changed up this year to provide delegates with fresh insights on quality and safety.

Instead of a clinical high-flier, Richard de Crespigny, an experienced pilot best known as captain of Qantas flight QF32 which experienced a potentially catastrophic mid-air emergency in 2010, will deliver the lecture (Wed, 1.30).

Mr de Crespigny is a sought-after corporate speaker on topics such as crisis management, leadership, problem solving and teamwork.

President of COSA Professor Phyllis Butow told the limbic she was excited about her ‘left of field’ pick which recognized a broad view of the system issues that can impact quality and safety.

“We don’t often get to hear from outside our silos so I’m particularly interested in what he has got to say and what can be generalised from that to the cancer setting,” Professor Butow said.

The COSA meeting will also include sessions on using data to identify variations in practice and areas for improvement.

“It’s very difficult to look beyond your local service to really get a picture of what’s happening. Variations occur sometimes for good reasons and sometimes because we are not fully aware of what we are doing. There is lots of work going on to develop better health data.”

The meeting will also address the controversial issue of cost effectiveness in cancer care.

“We’re always looking at exciting new technologies but they can become very costly and until we look at their cost effectiveness, we can’t get a clear idea of whether they are worth it.”

Immunotherapy sessions

‘Hype and hope’ is the subtext for the opening plenary on immunotherapy at the meeting (Mon, 9am). It includes Professor Ian Kerridge from Sydney Health Ethics speaking about shaping patients’ expectations of treatment.

“We have new therapies with relatively little long-term data so patients have to face uncertainly about how long a therapy might be effective for them and we need to know how to manage expectations,” Professor Butow said.

Other immunotherapy topics included models of care, supportive care and management of toxicities.

International speakers at the meeting include:

  • Lung cancer specialist Dr Matthew Hellmann, from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the US (Mon & Tues, 9am)
  • Dr Monika Krzyzanowska, from the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada. (Wed, 7am)
  • Cancer epidemiologist Dr Dana Rollison, from the Moffit Cancer Center in the US. (Mon, 7am)

The Tom Reeve Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Care will be awarded to Emeritus Professor William McCarthy AM for his outstanding contribution to the care of melanoma patients.

Head of psychiatry at Monash University Professor David Kissane and University of NSW postdoctoral fellow Dr Ursula Sansom-Daly will receive awards for their contribution to psycho-oncology in Australia.

Pre-conference workshops on the Saturday include enhanced supportive cancer care, a nutrition and cancer masterclass for nurses, clinical trials research and the COSA Adolescent and Young Adult Group CPD.

Follow the limbic’s coverage of the ASM on our website and on Twitter @thelimbiconc. #COSA17

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