Highlights from the 2022 MASCC Annual Meeting, with Maryam Lustberg, MD, MPH

September 1, 2022
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In this podcast, Dr. Maryam Lustberg discusses highlights from the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer’s 2022 Annual Meeting, held June 23-25 in Toronto.



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In this podcast, Dr. Maryam Lustberg discusses highlights from the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer’s 2022 Annual Meeting, held June 23-25 in Toronto.

Dr. Lustberg is the Director of the Center for Breast Cancer at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center; Chief of Breast Medical Oncology at Yale Cancer Center; Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine; and the 2022 President of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer. She is also a member of the Cancer.Net Editorial Board.

View Dr. Lustberg’s disclosures at Cancer.Net.

Dr. Lustberg: Hello, everyone. I'm Dr. Maryam Lustberg. I am chief of breast oncology at Yale Cancer Center, co-chair of Symptom Intervention Committee for Alliance Clinical Trials, and the new president of the international society of Multinational Association of Cancer Supportive Care, or MASCC. And I'm here to talk to you about updates from the meeting that happened in Toronto in June of 2022. I have no relationships to disclose relevant to the topics that I will be talking about today.

And there were 3 broad themes in the meeting that I would like to highlight for you. One theme was a global focus on disparities in the delivery of cancer supportive care. So we do know that even in North America, patients with different socioeconomic backgrounds, different races, different cultural backgrounds, may not have as full access to cancer supportive care services, and that can include access to symptom management, survivorship care, palliative care. The umbrella of cancer supportive care is quite broad, and it's really focused on supporting patients and their families throughout the care continuum in a very multidisciplinary, holistic way. And so what we're finding, unfortunately, similar to cancer treatment, access to the best supportive care in cancer can also face certain disparities in the U.S. and North America. And this is something that we talked quite a bit about in the meeting in terms of recognizing this as well as finding solutions for it. And similarly, globally, we know that access to symptom management strategies, access to palliative care, access to oncology rehab, all of these can be quite restricted in different regions of the world. So the meeting in Toronto was really a call to action to recognize this as a pressing issue for our global community. And we will be forming several task forces to really look towards solutions. And so we look forward in terms of looking at low-hanging fruit interventions that we can both provide in North America as well as globally so that really patients and families could have access to such an important part of cancer care.

The second theme of the meeting focused on digital technologies as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of cancer supportive care. We know that the pandemic certainly shook the world, and it also impacted patients' access to supportive care services. These were often the services that were put on hold, understandably, during the resource-lean times and restricted access to services during the pandemic. So this was something that we absolutely recognize that this happened. It impacted many patients and families, but we also, as a community, really came together to come up with innovative solutions. And one of these innovative solutions, what people have called maybe the silver lining in what happened during COVID, is that there was an increase in telehealth services, including telehealth care delivery of some of these supportive care services. So a lot of the meeting focused on how this was implemented, what access may have looked like. There's certainly disparities even here in terms of access to telehealth services. And also patient preferences and caregiver preferences also plays a great role here, where some patients really find telehealth to be a really comfortable solution for them. They don't have to leave their home, find parking, but others may find it less personal. So really, if we're thinking about personalizing cancer supportive care, I think there was a lot of discussion about making sure that we kind of understand which clinical situations may benefit from telehealth care delivery, which situations may do better with face-to-face, and ultimately to really involve patients and families in that decision and to make sure that we're engaging and not dictating policies without their full engagement. So this is something that we absolutely care deeply about.

The third theme focused on burnout. There was a lot of focus on clinician burnout, which we know was also something that was a tremendous issue during the pandemic due to workforce shortage across all health care disciplines. People have talked quite a bit about the great resignation, where many health care workers as well as people in other sectors actually resigned or could not work in the conditions that the pandemic necessitated. So there was a lot of focus on recognizing burnout in clinicians because that directly impacts how well we can take care of patients. So recognizing it and thinking about proactive solutions, including there was a wonderful speaker, Dr. Benjamin Corn, who has done quite a bit of research on hopefulness and really feeling hope, whether you're a caregiver, whether you're a clinician or a patient, was found to be a key measure or predictor of burnout. And this is not meant to minimize system issues or anything like that. But I think there was a lot of focus on self-management and self-efficacy, kind of recognizing burnout and trying to foster things that we can do ourselves to keep ourselves healthy mentally, emotionally, and spiritually so that we can continue to function in the health care setting and take the best care of our patients, which is ultimately our goal as an entire scientific oncologic community is to be more present, to be more engaged, to deliver the best evidence care whether it be in the realm of cancer treatments or cancer supportive care, I do feel it's all part of that full package. Thank you so much for listening to this podcast.

ASCO: Thank you, Dr. Lustberg. You can find more research from recent scientific meetings at www.cancer.net.

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