KARACHI: The 3rd Annual Surgical Meeting Surgical Oncology – Evidence and Practice conference was held on Friday here at Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi.
The conference was organized in collaboration with the European Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the International Journal of Surgery.
It was organized in line with global efforts to achieve targets under goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aims at ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.
Experts said that Pakistan registers about 148,000 new cases of cancer which demands new research into the molecular structure and genetic make-up of tumors paving way for more targeted cancer treatment.
Target 3.4.1 of the SDGs calls for special efforts to reduce deaths caused by cancer till 2030, said the Chair and Associate Professor at AKU’s department of surgery of the conference, Dr Masood Umer.
He observed that bringing together experts from around the world promotes the sharing of advances in the field of oncology and boost chances of detecting the disease in early stages and deliver more effective treatment for cancer patients across the country.
Speakers were of unanimous about the opinion that molecular analysis of brain tissue is revealing the distinctive “signature” of tumors that are otherwise of a similar type and stage.
It was noted with satisfaction that a partnership between Pakistani and Canadian researchers is resulting in the transfer of knowledge and skills stemming from this novel research.
Faculty from Aga Khan University is said to be to currently working with researchers on the tumor boards of the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Canada, to explore how these molecular insights can enhance the treatment of complicated cases of brain cancer.
“Insights from molecular biology are helping oncologist select the most suitable course of cancer treatment and more accurately predict the response to targeted therapy,” mentioned Associate Professor Dr Shahzad Shamim.
This, he said will ensure optimal treatment for each tumor and a longer, better quality of life for each patient.
Experts from 14 countries around the world attending the two-day multidisciplinary conference explored the latest developments in cancer surgery, diagnostics, pathology and treatment also discussed in detail innovations in reconstructive surgery helping to restore the function of organs affected by the spread of cancer.
Speakers noted that techniques such as intra-operative monitoring enabled surgeons to stimulate parts of the spine to quickly and painlessly detect areas that can be reconstructed.
This means that damaged areas of the spine, which were previously deemed too dangerous to operate on, can now be mended and rebuilt, said Dr Umer.
Experts said that technological advances in orthopedic surgery meant that high-quality implants can be used to replace bones and joints damaged by the spread of cancer, thereby helping preserve essential body functions.
Robot-assisted surgery was another prominent theme of the conference and the experts were of the opinion that the use of robots in the operating theater can enhance the precision of surgeries.
The conference’s inaugural session was preceded by a day of 25 workshops and symposiums at the University’s Centre for Innovation in Medical Education.