PhD fellow Mie Nordly, MSc, Palliative Research Unit 7621 in Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark. Mie was one of many student volunteers who worked tirelessly at the EAPC World Congress last week; here she gives a young researcher’s perspective.
It was my third world congress organised by the EAPC – this year on my home court in Copenhagen. As a PhD fellow supervised by the Chair of the Organising Committee, Professor Per Sjøgren, being a volunteer at the congress seemed an obvious thing to do. Nearly 2,800 people participated from all over the world, which was a new record.
Being a volunteer also meant that I had a place in the same lecture hall during the entire congress, except when there was a plenary session going on. This gave me the opportunity to listen to speakers’ subjects that were a little out of what I consider to be ‘my area’, but nevertheless it was exciting to know what is going on in the wider palliative field. The ’Meet the expert’ session with Sunil Raj and Julia Riley especially gave hope for implementing electronic systems for assessing future palliative patients and research.
I found some time to go to plenary sessions, one of them on Saturday afternoon. Here I heard Marie Fallon’s lecture: ‘The Role of Systemic Inflammation in the Pathophysiology of Symptoms of Advanced Cancer: State of the Science and Clinical Implications’. I had heard her talk about this subject before at the European Palliative Care Research Centre (PRC) and EAPC Research Network meeting in Milan in 2013 and found it very interesting. Working on a project with the effects of opioids on the immune and endocrine system, I have learned a lot from this lecture that I will be able to use in our future research.
Another interesting plenary session was by Mogens Grønvold about ‘The Danish Palliative Care Trial (DanPaCT), a Randomised Trial of Early Palliative Care in Cancer: Results of the Primary Analysis’, which did not show any significant effect of early specialised palliative care such as the Temel and other American studies have demonstrated. It is possible to draw parallels from DanPaCT to my own PhD project which is based on the DOMUS trial: ‘A randomized clinical trial of accelerated transition from oncological treatment to specialized palliative care at home‘ and it will be exciting to see if our study show the same outcomes.
Overall, I find EAPC conferences important to attend especially as a young researcher. It gives the opportunity to put faces to the names of authors whose articles you read; moreover you get the opportunity to exchange experience with other researchers, and the conference opens doors to collaboration with scientists from all over the world in the future.
The ‘Meet the expert’ sessions are highly recommended for new/young researchers as these sessions give more time for questions and discussions in a smaller forum.
- 5th International Seminar of the PRC and EAPC RN, Leeds, UK, 15-16 October 2015. Abstract submission now open.
- 9th EAPC World Research Congress, Dublin, Ireland, 9-11 June 2016.
- 15th EAPC World Congress: Progressing in Palliative Care, Madrid, Spain, 11-14 May 2017. (Website now under construction).