Presentation: Highlights from CAPhO at MASCC 2013 in Berlin, Germany

MASCC 2013 - Report from Nikki Ryan 

The following is Nikki's report from our 2013 fall eNewsletter. Following that, please see the presentation she gave to staff at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, AB. 

This past June I was given the opportunity to travel to the annual MASCC/ISOO symposium that was held in Berlin, Germany. This conference delivered top-notch education and covered a vast collection of topics on supportive care. The MASCC motto, "Supportive Care makes Excellent Cancer Care" possible was definitely represented over the many sessions. The level of education along with the fact that the event was held in a remarkable city rich in history and culture provided an unforgettable experience that I am very thankful for.

Being a clinical pharmacist in the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinic, I often see patients struggling with toxicities from their high-dose chemotherapy. I've had to consult MASCC guidelines numerous times in this position for guidance on how to manage the adverse effects of treatment. I felt that this conference would be a great opportunity to see the latest research in the area of supportive care and would also make me aware of new interventions for patients who are refractory to measures already outlined in the guidelines. 

The conference was a multidisciplinary event with presentations tailored for all health care professionals who work in an oncology setting. My favorite presentation was "Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy" which explained that as mechanisms of this type of neuropathy are being revealed, research is shifting gears to focus more on topical treatment. I have shared the information in this talk with oncologists in our clinic and we have had success with using some of the strategies discussed in this presentation. 

I also enjoyed a presentation that provided an overview of skin toxicities from chemotherapy and targeted agents. In this session the speakers reviewed the presentation of various rashes, the importance of prophylaxis, and treatment options for rashes of different grades. Gaining knowledge on the mechanisms behind these skin toxicities gave me a better understanding of how the interventions work in managing each type of rash. 

Another highlight of the conference was a session on drug interactions. One speaker presented a study on recurrence rates of breast cancer in patients who had concomitant use of antidepressants and tamoxifen.  Another presenter focused on interactions with TKI's and stressed the important of avoiding strong inhibitors with imatinib as this medication requires a very specific minimum concentration to have maximum efficacy. The panel also discussed the challenges with inconsistent information in compendia regarding the severity of drug interactions and methods that pharmacists can use to identify which interactions have clinical significance. 

These are just some of the many education sessions that I was able to attend. The conference provided a lot of valuable information that I was able to bring back and share with the nurses, pharmacists, and physicians I work with. I was also able to interact with other oncology health care professionals on an international scale and get a glimpse of the research that is up and coming in the area of supportive care.  I am very thankful to theCaPhO awards committee for granting me this opportunity and I would urge any member who is interested in the area of supportive care to apply for this travel grant in the future as it is definitely a worthwhile conference to attend.

Nikki Ryan

Communications Committe member, CAPhO
Tom Baker Cancer Centre
Calgary, AB

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