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Breaking barriers: Our shared mission for clinical oncology

Article by: Dr Tom Roques

One of the many pleasures of being an RCR Officer is the opportunity to build key relationships with organisations around the world who share our mission to provide excellent clinical oncology services and to educate future generations of experts. 

In March 2024, we had the privilege of being invited to join Tata Medical Centre (TMC) in Kolkata to run the first joint Clinical Oncology Conference with the TMC faculty.

The TMC team did a brilliant job of organising and running the whole event over three days. We have had a good working relationship with the TMC for many years and have been able to share our knowledge and experience of training for clinical oncologists in the UK and plans to implement and adapt RCR resources to local needs. The conference also provided us with the opportunity to further grow our relationship with oncologists across India and showcase the wider RCR resources that are available to our global members.

Consensus statements workshop

Dr Rachel Cooper, our Global Ambassador, facilitated an exciting programme of talks and recruited a faculty of highly regarded experts that included clinical oncologists, physicists, radiographers and even a surgeon. The event opened with a day of workshops showcasing the training and support tools provided by the RCR in the UK and how these can be utilised anywhere in the world to help improve patient care. A real highlight was the workshop on developing clinical consensus statements based on the success of our series including the recently published gynaecological cancer statements.

The workshop simulated the consensus development process so delegates could understand the intricacies involved. It was based around the plan to provide a formal quality assurance programme for radiotherapy services in India and gave attendees an understanding of how they will be able to develop local consensus statements to support each other in reducing unnecessary variation.

Learning from each other

The following two days focused on four tumour sites - head and neck, lung, gynaecology and paediatric cancers - along with a specific FRCR practice session. The innovative programme included a contouring workshop, provocative one-to-one interviews and panel discussions. Each session provided an insight into the different challenges faced by both the UK and India and showed how two countries can learn from each other in so many ways. Professor Kevin Harrington, Head of the Division of Radiotherapy and Imaging at the Institute of Cancer Research, delivered a compelling keynote address on how immunotherapy has evolved over the last 20 years from a concept to routine clinical practice.

Our thanks must go to Dr Sanjoy Chatterjee, Dr Moses Arunsingh and their team at TMC for their immense hard work and organisation that ensured the event was a huge success. We are hugely looking forward to collaborating more from a distance and to returning to Kolkata in the future.