Report by: Dr Ruchima Dham, Senior Clinical Fellow, Madras ENT Research Foundation (MERF).
The first Indo-UK Head and Neck Cancer Update was held in Chennai, India in conjunction with World Head and Neck Cancer Day. The theme of the meeting was ‘Current concepts in the management of Head and Neck cancer: a scientific approach’ and it was jointly hosted by the Scottish Head and Neck Association and Madras ENT Research Foundation (MERF) Academia, under the aegis of the Indian Academy of ORL-HNS (IAOHNS). Chennai, a coastal metropolis known for tsunamis, also excels in advanced healthcare. Hence, it was the apt venue for this meeting, being the pioneering city for medical tourism catering to patients from across South East Asia and the Middle East. This innovative meeting was conceptualised by Mr Jaiganesh Manicavasagam, Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, along with Mr Raghu Nandhan and Dr Sarrath Rathnaraajan, Consultant ENT Surgeons, MERF, who put together this exciting scientific programme. For me, this was a most obvious opportunity to witness experienced professionals including ENT surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, radiation and medical oncologists, all interacting in one podium.
The meeting was attended by 150 delegates from across India and neighbouring countries. The day began with eminent ENT surgeon, Professor Mohan Kameswaran, MERF, hosting and introducing the event. There were six keynote lectures delivered through the day by the faculty on a variety of important topics: recent changes in head and neck cancer staging, HPV oropharyngeal cancer update in the UK and its implications for India, sentinel node biopsy in oral cancers, practical approach to thyroid cancers, post laryngectomy dysphagia rehabilitation, optimal flaps for head and neck cancers, and management principles for lateral skull base cancers, all of which enlightened the crowd.
Faculty and organisers of the Indo-UK Head & Neck cancer update 2019, Chennai, India.
Web talks were the highlight of this meeting and were delivered in real-time with cutting-edge technology by an eminent panel from the UK, including Ms Emma King (Southampton); Mr Iain Nixon (Edinburgh); Dr Shreerang Bhide (London); and Mr Kishore Shekar (Dundee). They aptly addressed the latest oncology research with insights on how to incorporate such translational research into mainstream clinical practice for delivering high quality cancer care.
The organising committee had streamlined the arrangements well starting from the friendly registration desk, onto a mouth-watering lunch buffet, then to end with a thought-provoking feedback questionnaire which delegates had to answer before they could collect online CPD points from the Medical Council. This meeting was possibly the first of its kind in India to bring together a consensus from across two different clinical scenarios for head and neck cancer practice. Overall, the updates were informative and enjoyable. It was a worthy effort from the organisers and a Sunday well spent for me.