The annual European Musculo-Skeletal Oncology Society Conference (ESMOS) was held in London 17 – 19 October 2022. Despite the efforts and recent insights into the molecular landscape of these tumours, curing patients with bone and soft tissue sarcomas remains extremely challenging. The EMSOS conference focused on new multidisciplinary treatment approaches, ranging from surgery to oncology to patient experience.
With leading sarcoma experts from around the world uniting under one roof to share best practices and innovations in the treatment and care of sarcoma patients, Sarcoma UK seized the opportunity and devised the new EMSOS Award for nurses and allied health professionals.
We know that many staff have not be able to attend meetings to network and learn. There are currently only 16 Sarcoma Specialist Centres across the UK. The EMSOS Conference 2022 would be an opportunity to engage with leading and world renown sarcoma experts, to share knowledge of caring for people with sarcoma, and to also understand the science that underpins that care.
The learnings our EMSOS Award Winners garnered from this conference will now be shared with the wider sarcoma community and should inspire changes to practice and an ongoing motivation to be involved in the very specialist world of sarcoma care.
We invited the EMSOS Award winners to share some of their highlights and learnings of the conference.
Rachel Hall is a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Cancer of Unknown Primary and Sarcoma Patients at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland. ‘I attended some really interesting talks at EMSOS, such as barriers to mental health care for patients with sarcoma’ says Rachel.
‘There were lots of fascinating presentations from Orthopaedic Surgeons, Radiologists, Pathologists and Medical Oncologists about treatments, diagnosing, surveillance, radiotherapy and medical legal issues.’
‘Before EMSOS, I felt quite isolated as a lone Clinical Nurse Specialist in Aberdeen… but not anymore! I met so many new colleagues from across the UK at the conference. One of the main gains for me has been identifying the need for a UK-wide sarcoma Clinical Nurse Specialist / Allied Health Professional network.’
Sarah Franczak is a Trainee Sarcoma Clinical Nurse Specialist at Nottingham University Hospital. ‘Meeting other Clinical Nurse Specialist and Allied Health Professional colleagues from across the country and making new contacts to bring back to my team has been invaluable’ says Sarah.
‘I have already contacted someone I met at the conference for help with a patient! We were able to share experiences of our working practices and I felt reassured that we all face the same challenges in our day-to-day working life’.
Sarah also mentions the development of a network for healthcare professionals working with sarcoma patients.
‘This would mean we could easily share ideas, information, guidelines, and new ways of working, as well as ask for advice. A lot of us are lone workers or work in very small teams, so we may not have the day-to-day support from colleagues.’
‘Nina Squires’ expert patient talk and Dr Storey’s talk on fear of recurrence at the conference were both really thought provoking and have helped me to consider follow-up appointments in another way.’
Elaine Richardson is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, Shropshire. ‘My experience at EMSOS 2022 was invaluable and I have made friendships and contacts that will be extremely useful as I continue to develop in my role’ says Elaine.
‘One of the best things about winning the EMSOS Award was the pre-conference contacts! Rachel and I, geographically 400 miles apart, were in contact prior to arrival, which grew into a bigger WhatsApp network of social organisation and familiarity.’
‘The conference was often highly emotive and informative, with Day 1 focusing on the allied and nursing professional roles. Some of my key takeaways included increased awareness of patient needs, particularly in the way in which they are communicated with and available resources to help support these.’
‘Spending these three days with not only the lovely Sarcoma UK team, but also the other nurses and allied health professionals has highlighted a common driven goal, whilst acknowledging that the pressures are similar and support for each other is key. Going forward, I have been excited to explore a way that we can keep in touch, share resources and information in a virtual world.’
‘This conference has germinated my seed of passion surrounding my next project of providing individualised patient care and stratified follow-up which I commenced last month. I now also have the contacts to support me in this endeavor.’
‘Inspirational, enlightening, confirming and supportive’ says Elaine.
Cerys Propert-Lewis is a Sarcoma Advanced Nurse Practitioner at West Middlesex Hospital and Chelsea and Westminster. ‘I found the talk from Natalie Doyle thought provoking, with clear elements to think about at whichever part of the patient’s journey you are involved in’ says Cerys.
‘The work that Allied Health Professionals are doing here and overseas in Europe and India was very positive to hear about. I have more experience in soft tissue sarcoma, so learning about bone and the developments in surgery was useful for my own learning.’
‘Roger Wilson’s talk reminded me how far things have come, and how important it is to be listening to the users of a service. This empowerment shows what can be achieved.
‘The biggest benefit was meeting the other healthcare professionals – to have the chance to ask questions and learn from their practice, as well as connect with them to improve services.’
Sarcoma UK would like to thank the winners of the EMSOS Award for their help with this article. We can’t wait to see what they do next.
For more support for Healthcare Professionals, visit sarcoma.org.uk/HCP