It was the third such event and had the same objective and format as the previous meetings. The objective was to identify a discrete number of topical areas in breast cancer that were either controversial in terms of being in dispute or that merited debate in order to clarify issues relating to obstacles to progress. To this end, an international faculty of renowned experts was brought together to present perspectives and debate them with an invited audience that reflected a spectrum of disciplines and experience. The basic brief of the faculty members was to identify the key debating points in their allotted topic while being prepared to 'fly some kites' and be provocative. There was no need to present methodology unless it was an underlying cause of uncertainty and conflict or to incorporate unpublished results although they could be included, and novel interpretation of existing data was most certainly encouraged. In certain instances, individual speakers were asked to put one side of a debate in order to allow another to present an opposing view.
CoBrCa – Controversies in Breast Cancer – Controversies in Breast Cancer (CoBrCa)
According to the above, imaging studies apart of mammography and breast MRI in special occasions are not recommended as a routine practice in people with no symptoms of metastases[ 72 - 74 ]. Axillary dissection was considered as the gold standard practice for many years in patients with a positive sentinel lymph node. Nowadays, in accordance with the counterintuitive results of many studies, there is a key controversy on whether this approach is always necessary after a positive sentinel lymph node[ 75 ]. Interestingly, they showed that there is no statistical difference in overall survival and in disease free survival between patients who underwent axillary dissection and those that did not, but who received systemic therapy and radiation therapy RT.
The debates were a great way to showcase this, and provide an open forum for discussion, all in good spirit. I was honoured to be selected to speak about my work in the short session, rather than a poster, and thought this was a fantastic opportunity to update the community on my research. The conference also provided great networking exposure with the breast cancer industry and community.