Despite improvements in breast cancer treatment, patients with metastatic disease are still likely to die. There are a variety of European guidelines but no overall consensus on the best way to treat breast cancer patients with metastatic disease. An agreement is needed for the best interest of each patient and to help the doctors who treat them. The open forum will debate the need for guidelines and look at the complex issues surrounding recommendations. It will involve doctors from Europe and the United States, psychologists and patient advocates.
The ESO task force met in Italy earlier in the year and identified six key points in preparation for the discussion at EBCC-5. The recommendations encompass the management of the disease, patient involvement in clinical trials and his or her psychological welfare. It has been suggested that management of a patient's psychological wellbeing should be given the same importance as treatment of the disease.
Professor L Fallowfield, a member of the ESO task force, comments, "It is important to have an open and honest discussion about metastatic breast cancer. This is not about creating more rules and regulations, but about finding the best way to help doctors deliver optimal cancer care to their patients."
The final recommendations will be announced after the debate at the EBCC press conference on Friday 24th March.