Emmanuel TiretIn the first in a series of interviews with key speakers from this year’s conference in Berlin, we spoke with ESCP President, Professor Emmanuel Tiret, about the aims and highlights of this year’s conference programme.

Professor Tiret is looking forward to this year’s meeting: “The ESCP Annual Meeting is the very best conference in our field in the world. The speakers are of the very highest quality and it brings together surgeons from all across Europe. We share our expertise, compare our ways of working and of treating patients and learn from each other. The collaboration between members from so many different nations is what makes the meeting so special.”

This international collaboration will be seen in all sessions of the conference but especially in the Educational session, Coloproctology Around the Globe, which this year will showcase insights from Japan and Nepal.

As always, research will be a core element to the conference with two Trials Forums. Indeed, the conference programme will be highly educational, with all sub-specialties of coloproctology well represented. This year’s keynote sessions include Vaginal Partus and the Risk For Pelvic Floor Disorders; Malignant Appendix- How to handle?; New methods of surgical treatment of high and transsphincteric fistulas; Faecal transplantation in Ulcerative colitis and Clostridium Difficile colitis; LARS - From Bedside To Bench And Back; and Managing Early Colorectal Cancer.

The next frontier for surgeons in treating colorectal cancer

Professor Tiret picks out Prof Helmut Messman’s keynote lecture on Management of Early Colorectal Cancer and the symposium on What to Do with T2 Rectal Cancer as highlights in this year’s programme. In both of these areas there have been a number of recent studies demonstrating the benefits of less invasive surgical methods leading to a wider debate among colorectal surgeons on the best approaches for treatment.

He says: “We are in a period where we are totally re-evaluating the best approaches for treating both early colorectal cancer and T2 rectal cancer. We are moving away from major surgeries with more risk for complications to approaches that are much less invasive. If the results are proven to be the same then, in a few years, these less invasive strategies will become the norm. But at the moment it is still early days and we are evaluating the longer term oncological results of these newer strategies. So there is an interesting debate to be had – do we continue to do what we know works for the moment? Or, do we treat colorectal cancer with a more limited approach like local excision and hope that we see less complications and good long term outcomes? This is the next frontier for surgeons in treating colorectal cancer.”

Focus on young ESCP members

Professor Tiret underlines that this year there will be a stronger focus on promoting younger surgeons within the society. There will be time for networking specifically to welcome ESCP members under 40 and to help develop those networks for the wider benefit of the society: “The Trainee Roundtable, led this year by David Zimmerman, provides a good opportunity to meet other young surgeons.”

Younger surgeons especially may also be very interested in the Coloproctology 3.0 session with Richard Brady and Julio Mayo. This session will look at coloproctology in the online age and how this is driving new innovations in the specialty.

Joint Symposiums

There are also two joint symposiums with ESCP’s partner organisations, ECCO and EAES, included in the conference programme. The joint ECCO Symposium this year will focus on Ulcerative Colitis, while the topic of the EAES joint Symposium will be Screening Strategies and will cover Dysplasia in IBD, Lynch Syndrome and an update on the latest strategies for screening for colorectal cancer more generally.

“The combination of expert speakers from both ECCO and ESCP means that delegates with a special interest in IBD can expect to hear a very high level of discussion at that symposium. Likewise, the EAES Symposium will bring together experts from both societies in endoscopic surgery and I expect this will also be very popular,” Professor Tiret predicts.

Further benefits

Additionally, Professor Tiret points out that this is the first year that delegates at the conference will be able to qualify for UEMS-EACCME accreditation for Continued Professional Development Points. “This will be an advantage to many as it will be far more convenient to most of the European surgeons compared to the British system of accreditation which was used in previous years,” he explains.

The Conference App will be available again this year. “It is very convenient for delegates to help them to choose the best sessions for them and enables them to have the best possible conference experience,” Professor Tiret adds.

And finally, Professor Tiret highlights the draw of the venue for this year’s event: “Berlin is a fantastic city. It’s a very lively exciting place to visit. So, as well as the great programme, there will be lots for delegates to go and see and enjoy outside of the conference too.”

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