The Winter meeting of the RSM may in the past, have had a reputation, more for its skiing than for its scientific profile. This was my second meeting 24 years after the first and I was seriously impressed with the scientific content, quality of the presentations and the first class debate that took place after the presentations.
Certainly starting with a world class motivational presentation from Sir Clive Woodward set the meeting off really well and RSM Section President John Parry subsequently chaired a good debate on how the successful messages of ‘teamship’ from World Cup Rugby and the 2012 Olympics success, could be transferred into British Urology and the NHS in general, was very motivating.
Fifty presentations over 5 days from urologists, oncologists, renal physicians, anaesthetists and GPs was always going to have something for everyone.
Stand out highlights for me were the juxtaposition of Mark Frydenberg from Melbourne and Bruce Montgomery presenting state of the art lectures on Active Surveillance and the place of multiparametric MRI and 4 linked presentations on all aspects of the management of small renal tumours and the management of tumours in single kidneys including auto-transplantation from the Universities of Western Australia (Mike Wallace), Oxford (David Cranston and Mark Sullivan) and Melbourne (Mark Frydenberg).
Whilst not particularly urological, separating the quality science with first class presentations on the Great Losses of the Great War by John Reynard and Medical Issues of Climate change by Juliet Boyd (retired anaesthetist) was yet another sign of the first class programming from Dominic Hodgson and Rik Bryan. Whilst on the subject of Rik, his presentation on bladder cancer pathways created more debate than possibly any other topic. Here was a cancer that killed over 5000 patients per year and where clinical outcomes had not significantly improved over the last 30 years. There was a desperate need for a new bladder cancer initiative to raise funds for research whilst pulling together all the bodies interested in this neglected malignant condition.
Commissioning is not everyone’s ideal topic but clear presentations on this subject clarified the muddled terminology and may position us to get involved in the ongoing debate.
There were 3 world-class oncologists present and Nick James and Peter Harper covered drugs for prostate, bladder and renal cancers and once again Steve Harland entertained and educated us in his classic understated style whilst challenging the majority surgeons in the room by asking them when surgery was appropriate in testicular cancer.
Coincidentally the organisation was first class the venue outstanding and after 20 hours of lectures and presentations the skiing was of the highest order (well at least from some of the younger delegates)!
Mark J Speakman
Consultant Urologist, Taunton & Somerset FNHST and Vice President BAUS