Progress in sarcoma research and service delivery has never been faster, and the British Sarcoma Group conference showcased advances in genomics and personalised medicine, reconstruction and rehabilitation, palliative care, and updates on research and surgical advances.
Sarcoma experts and community members from across the UK and beyond came together last month for the annual BSG Conference, this year held at the International Conference Centre in Newport, South Wales to share learning, inspire, and update, whilst celebrating the achievements of working together for better care for sarcoma patients and families.
The conference programme had South Wales, UK-wide, and international contributions from the wider multi-professional sarcoma community, including various contributions from Sarcoma UK. Our Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Bradley Price, kicked things off with an insightful talk on the barriers sarcoma patients face in accessing genomic testing, from infrastructure issues to lack of education, and how we can help start conversations on how the research and clinical communities could tackle these barriers.
A key theme of the conference was on improving the experience of living with and beyond a sarcoma diagnosis. As part of a powerful session on palliative care, Ellis Lill, one of our Support Line Advisors, later presented on the experiences of people with sarcoma. The session was chaired by Sarcoma UK Trustee, Jo Vass, and featured fellow Trustee Louisa Nicoll’s powerful testimony on her husband John’s experience. Several new initiatives were also showcased to attendees, such as an exciting trial of ambulatory chemotherapy at UCLH, which allows patients to receive chemotherapy in an outpatient setting, giving patients more freedom as well as saving money.
Tricia Moate Award Winner 2022, Nicola Day, then gave a well-received presentation on the importance of physical activity and rehabilitation in patients with incurable cancer, and how patients could be supported in this way, before our Support Line Specialist Nurse, Sam Hackett, summarised and opened the award to new applicants.
There was also an interesting offering of posters for viewing at the conference, with something to appeal to all disciplines. These included four contributions from Sarcoma UK, from showcasing the vital work of sarcoma support groups to how patients can be empowered to monitor their own lumps and bumps.
Our 2022 Tricia Moate Award winners also displayed posters at the conference, with Cambridge’s Nicola Day presenting on developing a sarcoma physiotherapy and rehabilitation post and pathway, and Swansea’s Lucy Whiddett presenting on the role of the sarcoma support worker.
Sarcoma UK also invited several other sarcoma specialist nurses and allied health professionals from across the country to attend the conference, to learn about the latest developments in sarcoma, share their own learnings, and network.
‘I found the ‘Facing end of life’ talk by Baroness Ilora Finlay really engaging,’ says Laura, a Clinical Nurse Specialist from The Wirral.
‘It really showed the importance of early palliative care for our patients and their families. Louisa Nicoll speaking about her husband’s experience was also very inspirational and will help us as professionals to be aware of and remember to ask patients what is most important to them’.
‘A huge thanks to Sarcoma UK for the opportunity to attend my first BSG Conference and connect with some amazing healthcare professionals,’ says Kelly, a Clinical Nurse Specialist from Colchester.
‘It was such a privilege and a pleasure.’
Are you a nurse or allied health professional working in sarcoma?
We know that it has been a difficult couple of years for everyone, and so it’s even more important to celebrate and support the work of the allied health professionals and nurses working with sarcoma patients.
Sarcoma UK is offering allied health professionals (AHP) and nurses involved in the care of sarcoma patients, sponsorship to go to the British Sarcoma Group (BSG) annual conference in 2024.
Closing date 18 May 2023.