Symposium on Minimally Invasive Approach to Rectal Cancer – Teaching and Learning
On 15th and 16th May, the Champalimaud Foundation opened its doors to discuss alternative ways to address and treat colorectal cancer.
With a very strong focus on education and training - recognised by the scientific support of the Portuguese Society of Surgery, the Portuguese Society of Coloproctology, and the European Academy of Robotic Colorectal Surgery - the "Minimally Invasive Approach to Rectal Cancer" symposium was a unique opportunity to bring together the leading experts in the treatment of colorectal cancer around the discussion of minimally invasive therapy.
From diagnosis, patient preparation, multidisciplinary therapy involving imaging, radiation therapy and minimally invasive surgery, to the option of non-operative management (Watch & Wait), all aspects were shared and discussed among the attendees.
A technological edge was brought to the event through the live broadcast of 3 highly-complex surgical procedures. A "window" to the Champalimaud Clinical Centre's surgical theatres was opened to allow the three selected cases to be followed, in order to demonstrate the alternatives that exist in the field of minimally invasive surgery. Live, and with the chance to interact with surgical teams in action, moderators and participants of this meeting watched a Robotic TME, a Laparoscopic TME and a TA-TME performed by two surgical teams simultaneously - the first team responsible for the laparoscopic approach performing part of the surgery that is easier via the abdomen, and a second team that accessed transanally, with completion of the surgery achieved as both teams met.
The strong focus on education/training spread across the Symposium and, in that context, it was also appropriate to recognise four surgeons who recently completed their training in colorectal robotic surgery. Prof. Nuno Figueiredo, from the Champalimaud Foundation, Prof. Tahsenn Qureshi, from Poole Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, Prof. Samson Tou, from Derby Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust, Prof. Michael Bergmann, from Medizinische Universitat Wien were all presented with EARCS Certification by Prof. Bill Heald, Prof. Amjad Parvaiz and Prof. Eduardo Barroso.
Together with lectures, discussions, live surgery and some breaks for a more informal get-together, were two intense days of work, rich in moments of learning and sharing and that left us looking forward to the next meeting.