The 2018 annual British Psychosocial Oncology Society conference was held in Southampton on the 8th and 9th March housing a busy 2 day schedule. The theme of this year’s meeting was ‘Making a Difference in Psycho-Oncology from Evidence to Implementation’ with content focusing on both ends of that journey.
Highlights from the programme included co-designed projects between service providers and users, an online patient information system for teenagers considering clinical trials, and a keynote address from Dr Fran Woodward, executive director of policy and impact at Macmillan emphasising the need to understand a patient’s predicted cancer journey in order to provide appropriate interventions. The first day also featured an excellent parallel session with an insightful workshop about writing a lay summary alongside a symposium discussing service improvement for people with cancer.
Rachel Starkings from SHORE-C presented a poster entitled, “PEPSIN - Psychobiological Effects of Personalised Supportive Interventions: a Feasibility Study” outlining the design of a study run by the unit assessing the feasibility of measuring psychological and biological stress in women participating in a supportive intervention. The poster received a good reception due to its multidisciplinary approach thanks to a collaboration with Dr Melanie Flint at the University of Brighton. Conference delegates were particularly interested in sample collection and the consent process.
gave the final talk of the conference entitled, “Does the EndoPredict test improve decision making about adjuvant chemotherapy in early stage breast cancer?” presenting the results of a SHORE-C research study exploring the psychological aspects of treatment decision making in women with early stage breast cancer who have had the EndoPredict test to predict likelihood of recurrence. The presentation generated discussion about the challenges of explaining the concept of risk to patients particularly with a dichotomous score output.
We were joined by our colleague Dr Sue Catt and our director, Professor Dame Lesley Fallowfield who was awarded lifetime membership for her work with the society.
The field of psychosocial oncology is quite small and the meeting provided a great opportunity to network with other groups and get an update on current programmes of work. There was no better place to do this than at the conference dinner with a ukulele band for entertainment! At the end of the two days Rachel was awarded the prize for best tweeter at the conference with an accompanying box of chocolates.