ESMO, a society open to all oncology professionals
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Dear Colleagues and Friends,

In the 40 years since ESMO was founded, tremendous progress has been made, both in terms of our understanding of cancer and in the development of increasingly complex treatments and therapies which are now available to patients.

Medical oncology as a discipline has also undergone something of a transformation. Having been formally recognised as an independent speciality at a European level in 2011, after several years of intense ESMO-led discussions with national societies and EU Member States, medical oncology has continued to evolve, for example through the adoption of a disease-specific focus, the introduction of targeted therapies first and immunotherapy more recently. Together these innovations are moving our profession into a new chapter on our patients’ behalf.

In future, oncologists will need to work ever more closely together with colleagues from research, pathology, molecular biology, bioinformatics and other related disciplines, integrating data and expertise from the work of professionals involved in diagnosis, basic, translational and clinical cancer research alike.

ESMO, a society open to all oncology professionals

To facilitate this important progression, the ESMO Executive Board has put forward the decision to open up the Society’s membership to all oncology professionals and stakeholders involved in cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, care and advocacy all over the world. In doing so, ESMO will nurture a community of professionals from many different fields, all working together to find solutions to complex questions and to drive the pace of change still further in the best interests of patients.

ESMO, a society open to all oncology professionals

As announced last week, an Extraordinary General Assembly has been called on 18 December 2015, during the ESMO Asia Congress in Singapore, to make this important change a reality reflected in the Society’s Bylaws and therefore set ESMO onto a new path for the future evolution of the organisation and the development of oncology.

This decision formalises a process which has already begun. Today ESMO consists of more than 11,000 oncology professionals drawn from over 130 countries worldwide, while our most recent Congress in Madrid attracted nearly 20,000 participants, not only from a broad spectrum of disciplines but also from all corners of the globe. Earlier this year we announced that our first annual congress in Europe in 2017 will be a partnership meeting with the EACR (European Association for Cancer Research) to help encourage knowledge-sharing between the laboratory and the clinic. Also, our first Asia Congress will take place in Singapore this December, witnessing the growing participation of members from the most diverse regions of the world.

Opening up our Society to all oncology professionals therefore represents the next natural ‘stride’ towards our collective goals, while also contributing to ESMO’s own evolution into a global oncology society.

Across oncology. Worldwide.

ESMO is already now ‘Across oncology. Worldwide.’ This phrase neatly summarises the perspective of your Society both now and in the future – an organisation which is home to all oncology professionals and stakeholders from across the world.

It feels entirely appropriate to be making this announcement in our 40th anniversary year, during which we have reflected on the development of oncology and of our Society, our key achievements and the many people whose commitment and dedication have made them possible: you, our members.

Those of you able to join us in Vienna later this week should look out for our new strapline along with a new society branding. The polyhedral prisms represent the integrated work of diverse oncology professionals from a variety of geographical and cultural backgrounds, the integration that can lead to excellence.

ESMO 2020 Vision: the most farsighted view in oncology

ESMO 2020 VisionThe main developments, challenges and opportunities which will shape oncology in the years ahead, as well as the actions ESMO will take to meet them, have been carefully examined by the ESMO Executive Board and set out in the ESMO 2020 Vision, an important strategic document that marks the steps of ESMO’s future direction. Collect your copy at the ESMO Booth (no. 302) or in the ESMO Members Lounge during the ECC 2015 Congress in Vienna.

The importance of bridging and integrating cancer research, diagnosis and treatment, along with the growing importance of specialised education to ensure oncologists are able to collaborate effectively with other specialists in a rapidly changing environment, requiring a more in-depth disease-specific knowledge, are two key strategic elements highlighted in the ESMO 2020 Vision document. The document also identifies the importance of developing a model of sustainable cancer care – both in terms of ensuring patients can access the best treatment and the need to focus on education and prevention programmes.

In essence, the ESMO 2020 Vision provides a roadmap for the way ahead. As well as explaining how the landscape along our journey is changing, it reiterates our destination – the ESMO Mission – and sets out the route we plan to take to get there.

I hope you will be able to join us at ECC 2015 in Vienna later this week when we will officially launch the ESMO 2020 Vision and embark on the next stage of our exciting journey together

Rolf A. Stahel
ESMO President
On behalf of the ESMO Executive Board

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