?A congress of records,? is how Professor David J. Kerr, President of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) described the 35th ESMO Congress, at the opening of biggest medical oncology event in Europe. ?We have had record numbers of submitted and accepted abstracts and are expecting a record number of attendees.? The ESMO meeting brings together cancer specialists, patients, industry representatives and members of the media. The 35th ESMO Congress takes place at Fiera Milano City, in Milan, Italy, from 8 to 12 October 2010.

?The 35th ESMO Congress will be a truly exceptional meeting with over 14,000 attendees from 115 different countries and nearly 130 different sessions with the latest updates in oncology and state-of-the-art science and technology. The original research presented at the ESMO Congress will demonstrate how innovative drug and diagnostic technologies and applications are expanding and redefining oncology practice. We are confident that the new studies presented at our Congress will be of great importance to the international oncology community,? said Professor Kerr.

?ESMO is the leading European professional organization for oncologists,? noted Professor Kerr as he presented the Society?s latest projects. ?We strive to serve our members and this year we are particularly excited about the launch of OncologyPRO, a unique scientific portal for ESMO members, providing instant access to the highest quality scientific knowledge, in partnership with Thomson Reuters.?

On the growing burden of cancer in Europe and the world, Prof Kerr said: ?Cancer will replace cardiovascular diseases as the number one killer in the world this year. According to IARC figures, the global burden of cancer doubled during the last 30 years. In 2008, it is estimated that there were 12.7 million new cases of cancer diagnosed worldwide, 7.6 million deaths from cancer and 25 million people still alive five years after cancer diagnosis. The continued growth and ageing of the world?s population has immediate consequences on the impact of the cancer burden. Nevertheless, the good news is that more and more patients are surviving cancer thanks to earlier diagnosis and personalized treatment,? concluded Professor Kerr.

?We are very excited about our scientific program this year,? said Prof Rolf Stahel, ESMO 2010 Scientific Chair. ?Researchers are bringing their best work for presentation at the ESMO Congress. There was a 67% increase in abstract submission this year. 57% of submitted abstracts were accepted. As to Late Breaking Abstracts, submission was up by 200%! This means we have been able to select top quality material bringing oncologists the very latest scientific developments in cancer research.? Prof Stahel explained that: ?some of the studies of particular interest are related to the treatment of lung, breast and prostate cancer. New findings from major phase III trials are sure to change clinical practice. These important studies will be presented at the Presidential Symposium on Monday 11 October.? Prof Stahel also highlighted sessions on personalized medicine, genetic research and political issues such as the disparities remaining in cancer diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation across Europe.

?Scientific advancements are not important per se, but because they lead to improvements in clinical practice and eventually help to save lives,? said Fortunato Ciardiello. ?The ESMO Congress gives a large place to patient issues. This year the 8th Patient Seminar focuses on the long-term psychosocial rehabilitation of cancer patients and survivors. Thanks to targeted therapies more and more people recover from cancer and can even live with cancer. These patients have many needs which have not been attended to as they should have: the right to return to work; psychological problems such as depression; need for nutritional coaching, etc. Most important of all, we count on the media to help us relay the message that cancer does not equal death. It is indeed a life threatening disease, but there are a growing number of success cancer stories. One example is Jos? Carreras who will be performing at the ESMO Foundation Benefit Concert on Sunday 10 October in La Scala. The message we want to send out is that the medical oncology community is striving to offer patients the best possible treatment and quality of life.?

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