What is “multidisciplinary” for the EAU, ESTRO and ESMO?

23 September 2011

The 3rd European Multidisciplinary Meeting on Urological Cancers is a unique event. It creates numerous opportunities to build bridges across disciplines and streamline scientific communication between affiliated specialties. This is of vital importance, because the success of a multidisciplinary team not only depends on the specialty-related expertise of each player, but also on the degree to which they understand their own and each other’s role.

How do urologists, radiologists and medical oncologists understand “multidisciplinary”, and more importantly, how can EMUC offer its delegates what they are looking for in this format?

Much of the discussion today revolves around the way various roles are assigned within multidisciplinary cooperation. For urologists, whose specialty traditionally goes far beyond surgery, and includes also medical treatment, this is a very relevant issue.

“Urologists are multi-taskers. They often bring a helicopter view to the table of the situation, and the trick here is to balance personal professional expertise with the rest of the team,” said Prof. Manfred Wirth, EAU Executive Member Communication and member of the EMUC Steering Committee. “The discussion on the urologist’s role within a multidisciplinary setting continues to be relevant on both the micro and macro levels.”

“In other words, we are still looking for the answers to this question on a strategic level at meetings like EMUC”, explained Wirth. “Simultaneously, every team also has to deal with this issue on their own.”

Radiation oncologists face a similar challenge.

“We certainly need to define the relative roles of radiotherapy and surgery for the common cancers of bladder and prostate,” said Prof. Peter Hoskin, ESTRO representative and member of the EMUC Scientific Committee.

Another facet of this discussion addresses cancer-related research. According to Wirth, multidisciplinary collaboration and assignment of roles do not only refer to clinical practice but also to designing prospective randomised trials in onco-urology. He stressed that for urology, EMUC may play a positive role here – encouraging transparent discussions and empowering more of its specialists to participate in this type of research.

Wirth added that these developments are not only relevant on the international level, but also regionally. “EMUC is not only an international event – it is also relatively small-scale, which allows the delegates to discuss relevant issues with experts from their own country but across disciplines.”

The scientific programme of the 3rd meeting is packed with presentations of multidisciplinary character. The speakers are aware of the context and adjust the material to create various perspectives on the discussed issues. At the same time, specialists from various disciplines may prioritise the topics according to their needs. Radiation oncologists, for instance, are looking forward to hearing the latest information on the modern radiotherapy techniques in urological malignancies, such as IMRT,IGRT, SBRT, according to Hoskin.

“The scientific committee made sure that these subjects well-represented throughout the meeting,” he said.

“Today, the multidisciplinary approach is no longer experimental, and indeed we are moving fast towards a more holistic approach to disease management,” said Prof. P.-A. Abrahamsson, EAU Secretary General. “We are now looking beyond the horizon – towards interdisciplinarity – and the possibility of a personalised treatment programme for all of our patients.”

The 3rd EMUC is jointly organized by the EAU, ESMO and ESTRO. The steering committee is comprised of Profs. P-A. Abrahamsson (EAU), M. Wirth (EAU), H-J. Schmoll (ESMO), J. Bourhis (ESTRO). The scientific committee is comprised of Prof. W. Artibani (EAU), M. Wirth (EAU), J. De Bono (ESMO), B. Escudier (ESMO), A. Bossi (ESTRO), P. Hoskin (ESTRO) and Susanne Osanto (EORTC).

For more information, visit the official website of the meeting >