Post-congress reflections: Prof. Manfred Wirth looks back on Milan

23 April 2013

At the 28th Annual EAU Congress in Milan, the Scientific Congress Office has again presented a programme whose format, coverage and contents reflected the intense and careful preparations which are necessary for a high quality international meeting.

With around 13,000 participants, including the more than 10,000 delegates to the EAU/EAUN congresses, the session halls were filled to capacity during the live surgeries, the International Conference on Prostate Cancer Prevention and the Plenary and Thematic Sessions. Earnest discussions marked the seven Section Meetings, the abstract sessions, and the Urology Beyond Europe which offered the perspectives of colleagues from outside the region.

Certainly, we can say that we do not only have an international reach in terms of coverage, but also presented current views and trends in various regions. The international meeting on prostate cancer prevention, for instance, showed the dynamics of offering an international platform where manifold viewpoints are carefully examined.

In Plenary Session 4, Keith Parsons of the Guidelines Office, presented the EAU policy for live surgery, touching on ethical issues and safety guidelines whichis a first in the urological community. In the same session we heard the key messages on recurring topics and controversies such as the PCa screening debate. The  EAU, the patients group Europa Uomo and the ERSPC all presented perspectives which added more nuance to the debate than ever before.

Thus, the overarching theme is one that many will agree on: for us to offer optimal care we need to effectively collaborate within and outside urology. Moreover, to fully benefit from the discoveries of research we have to find the practical uses of these findings in everyday clinical practice. Chris Chapple led a session on lower urinary tract management, emphasising the importance of a concerted effort from both medical scientists and the industry to work together on clinical trials and research breakthroughs.

At the General Assembly Meeting, we have also confirmed that for the EAU to further advance we need to strengthen the formal ties with our medical and non-medical partners. The danger for organisations is to evolve into monolithic systems, with a tendency to ‘macro-manage’ processes whose very nature are often local or circumscribed.

We are aware that some of the developments with the most significant impact often occur in small moments or increments, taking place just below the radar. Our organisation aims to precisely detect these seemingly mundane but steady gains by keeping our ears close to the ground. We encourage you to give your comments by logging in to the EAU website and use the email form and send us your suggestions for improvement.

In this issue you will find, as customary after the annual congress, the summary reports of some of the highlights discussed in Milan. There are photos, opinion articles and the regular editorial departments. For those who have missed the congress, it will not be possible to report all the messages, but with this edition you will have a bird’s eye view of the manifold issues that impact on urology. The annual congress is not merely a gathering of like-minded individuals nor is it a place to heighten old scores and scientific disputes. Rather, our congress serves as a direct link to ideas, to the potentially crucial and to what may occur under the radar, and whose value remains to be weighted in the days ahead.

This article and many other articles about the 28th Annual EAU Congress in Milan is from the latest edition of European Urology Today, available now.