Ten years ago, the Best of SSO debuted at Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia – Mexico, which led to the development of a formal partnership with Sociedad Mexicana de Oncologia A. C (SMeO). The Best of SSO program allows participating organizations to license materials from the SSO’s International Conference on Surgical Cancer Care (formerly Annual Cancer Symposium) and to partner with SSO to present conference abstracts locally. Best of SSO content is selected from the top scoring abstracts after intense review and discussion by the SSO Scientific Program Committee. The Best of SSO presentations are delivered, often by SSO leaders. To celebrate the ten-year anniversary, SSO Presidents, current and past, traveled to Mexico to present and share wisdom with their international peers.
Hector Martinez Said, MD, former SSO Executive Council member and Vice President of SMeO and Enrique Bargallo Rocha, MD, Head of the Department for Breast Cancer at the NCI-Mexico and Best of SSO-Cancun Planning Committee, explains the history and value of the Best of SSO.
What motivated the NCI-Mexico to start hosting “The Best of SSO” program?
Dr. Said: The mission and vision of the National Cancer Institute (NCI-Mexico) is based on research, assistance and continuing medical education (CME). In 2010, the year in which the project began, there were few options for courses and oncological conferences, which were mostly based on medical oncology and its systemic treatments, most of them financed by the pharmaceutical industry. There was no continuing medical education course with an eminently surgical theme in our country or in Latin America that covered the need for oncology surgeons. This is why we (group of surgeons) gave ourselves the task of bringing the best of the leading congress in cancer surgery, with a reduced, interactive and accessible format for most of the oncologic surgeons in the country and Latin America. This would lead to an academic interaction of the highest level between the SSO, Mexico and many of the countries of Latin America.
Dr. Rocha: The NCI Mexico is a leading oncology institution in Mexico and without a doubt one of the most important in Latin America. It has associated itself with the best collaboration projects and dissemination of cancer information in all its branches, as cancer surgery is the cornerstone in the multidisciplinary approach with the rest of the oncology branches. Holding high quality programs and meetings, in a simple format, in collaboration with international societies such as SSO, which has great leadership, innovation and a great global vision, was ideal for our colleagues.
Why is “The Best of SSO” valuable to the attendees?
Dr. Said: The quality of the works presented, the format used for the presentations, the interaction with international (SSO) and national professors (Mexico and Latin America), allows for the resolution of uncertainties and the adaptation of these solutions. Through simultaneous translation to the source language, this course is a reference and represents the added value that “The Best of SSO” provides to the attendees. What our attendees reiterate year after year is the ability to discuss with SSO leadership, directly and without time constraints, local and regional issues and count on their advice to integrate solutions; whether clinical, technological development, professional or public health. Many of the lessons learned have been “Practice changing.”
Dr. Rocha: By presenting the best abstracts from the SSO Annual Meeting, the attendees are exposed to SSO leaders, which helps solidify the mission and objectives, as well as the fundamental values of SSO. It also allows for case and debate discussions between surgical oncologists in Mexico and Latin America and opens up the dialogue regarding the reality and the necessary adaptability due to the available resources, culture and access to technology. All while keeping in mind the fundamental and global values for the best surgical oncology care. During their presentations, SSO leaders bring a certain profoundness and can disseminate their knowledge in a way that is easily understood, which allows attendees to learn this new information by the end of the event.
Describe the importance of the 10-year anniversary of “The Best of SSO”.
Dr. Said: Being the first country to launch the Best of SSO is undoubtedly a major responsibility. Each of these ten editions has been an arduous task accomplished by the entire related team. These years have given us the satisfaction of a job well done, but also imposes challenges to the future, challenges in innovation, work and dedication to continue making this meeting, better and better.
Dr. Rocha: It is the most important cancer surgery event in the whole country, with the highest academic level participation, in a constant and uninterrupted way with exponential growth. It has been an innovative and dynamic format and there is always something new for the attendee and for faculty.
How has “The Best of SSO” evolved over the last ten years?
Dr. Said: From 2010 to date, the format has been very homogeneous. There have been few changes in the format and the Local Committee has remained the same, which has made it a very consistent course. The main evolution of the course has been towards the integration of other non-surgical specialists in the treatment of cancer, such as radio-oncologists and medical oncologists. This multidisciplinary discussion has been very valuable for the congress.
Dr. Rocha: It has been our goal to offer a program of the highest quality, relying on SSO to continue to develop and produce an extraordinary meeting and for attendees to receive valuable information. This will help them in their daily clinical practice and allow for them to be a leader in multidisciplinary care in their hospital and give patients the best option to manage their care with quality, knowledge and effectiveness.
Why is it important that SSO Presidents come to “The Best of SSO” program and present?
Dr. Said: The presence of the SSO President at the “The Best of SSO” congress demonstrates and consolidates the message of support from the highest level of the Society of Surgical Oncology towards continuing medical education and SSO’s commitment to be a global society of oncological surgery.
Dr. Rocha: Each SSO President is undoubtedly the example of a leader, with great character and with a global and collaborative vision. Simultaneously, attendees envision SSO as a sensible and familiar society that breaks barriers in order to be more inclusive. For us, the presence of the past presidents has been the greatest motivation for continuity and has increased our responsibility to guarantee the highest level for the planning of the event. These leaders are a continuous inspiration of professionalism, passion and humanism. Thank you very much to all of them.
Describe the most important elements of your relationship with SSO.
Dr. Said: The most relevant element of the association between the SSO and the NCI Mexico is the support to the continuing medical education of Mexican surgical oncologists and other countries of Latin America who customarily attend this meeting; but perhaps the most valuable are the bonds of friendship that have been generated between the professors of the SSO and their peers in our region. Every year more and more friends gather to be able to discuss among peers, the oncological information that is rapidly changing day-to-day.
Dr. Rocha: For me the most important elements in the relationship with SSO have been summarized by the SSO recently with “Leading. Together.” We have grown and closely learned from the best, and with their leadership, knowledge and great values, have touched our hearts and motivated us to continue sharing knowledge and strengthening relationships with our surgical oncology colleagues in Mexico and Latin America. This has improved our daily practice and had a great effect on decisions being made jointly and collaboratively with the rest of the multidisciplinary team.