Brandcast Health was selected by CELGENE Europe to develop and implement an educational programme to address identified ‘age discrimination’ in the management of blood cancers in elderly patients across Europe. A large European CME-accredited standalone meeting, supported by prestigious faculty and speakers, was arranged. ecancermedicalscience (ecancer) was identified as the most suitable independent partner for the programme, providing educational integrity and outreach opportunities.
The inaugural event – Blood cancer in the elderly: European Expert Forum - held in Rome between 18-20 March 2011 was Europe’s largest ever meeting on blood cancers in the elderly, attracting over 1,000 haematologists. Significant outreach activities further extended messages.
During 2010, Brandcast Health performed 60 in-depth interviews with haematologists across Europe to assess attitudes to the treatment of blood cancer in the elderly. This research was supplemented by a comprehensive literature review on the management of blood cancer in the elderly. Overall, the research identified age discrimination, with elderly cancer patients treated less aggressively/actively treated less often than younger patients with blood cancers, as well as being frequently excluded from clinical trials.
With over 50% of newly diagnosed cancers occurring in the over 65s and the percentage of this population steadily increasing, an educational need was identified to ensure that all haematologists treating elderly blood cancer patients were aware of the evidence supporting active treatment in this age group.
- Review the toxicity profiles of current therapeutic regimens in elderly patients with blood cancers
- Facilitate the sharing of recent advances in the treatment of elderly patients with blood cancers
- Facilitate the reappraisal of therapeutic strategies against blood cancers in elderly patients
- Disseminate latest, age-adapted algorithms to maximise treatment efficacy in elderly patients with blood cancers
- Maximise opportunities for elderly patients with blood cancers to access optimal treatments
The key issue identified through the interview and desk research was that haematologists base treatment decisions on chronological rather than biological age, thereby depriving elderly blood cancer patients of equal access to effective treatments. The focus of the programme was, therefore, to educate haematologists on available data and assessment tools that support the active treatment of elderly patients with blood cancers.
An eminent faculty of 43 leading European experts, including geriatric oncology, geriatrics, onco-policy and patient advocacy, collaborated to develop a comprehensive 2-day meeting programme. To ensure maximum attendance and an independent medical education platform, the meeting was accredited by the Accreditation Council of Oncology in Europe, providing participants with mutual recognition of CME credits in 27 EU member states.
Between 18-20 March 2011, 1,027 European delegates heard key European speakers addressing the evidence-base supporting active management of blood cancers in the elderly, as well as current clinical challenges in each blood cancer. They also learnt about the optimal use of assessment tools to determine biological age, and the important role of patient advocacy. The varied meeting format included keynote lectures from the faculty, interactive quiz sessions with keypad voting, interactive Q&A sessions and educational videos to retain audience engagement.
The meeting was filmed, together with expert interviews and discussions, for Italian CME elearning and webcasts on the ecancer platform, available shortly after the meeting to maximise outreach.
The Blood Cancer in the Elderly: European Expert Forum attracted 1,027 delegates and was over-subscribed.
428 attendees completed the general evaluation form and 242 completed the ACOE evaluation form:
- 76% of attendees rated the relevance of the content as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’
- 79% of attendees rated the quality of education as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’
- 80% of attendees rated the content as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ for CME
- 98% of attendees thought future activities on this subject matter are important
Outreach from the Blood Cancer in the Elderly meeting:
- 412 Italian doctors accessed the online CME (FAD) course post event
- 80,339 total views of 28 expert video interviews
- 21,427 total views of the session webcasts
- Peer-reviewed publication – Editorial in Journal of European Geriatric Medicine
- Oncology Times – lead Editorial
- The Austrian media via Kronen Zeitung , Austria’s largest paper
“The impact of the Blood Cancer in The Elderly Meeting and the significance of the outreach programme have far exceeded our expectations. Our country managers have reported back that as a result of the European meeting, local experts now wish to develop a similar programme in their own countries and collaborate on guideline development for the use of geriatric assessment tools to assess patients on their biology rather than age. We are looking forward to the next meeting in 2013.” Marco Caligiuri, General Manager, CELGENE Turkey.