I am delighted to announce that I have been appointed President of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Clinical Oncology, to be held in 2011. I would like to express my profound appreciation to all members of the society for granting me the honor of such an appointment.

The theme of the 49th Annual Meeting is “Toward the goal: Finding the best way and Taking the first step”. The desire to overcome cancer is one that is shared by the entire world and efforts are also being advanced in Japan to combat cancer on the national level, based on the Cancer Control Act. In order to achieve this common desire it is essential that all stakeholders—including physicians, patients and their families, the populace as a whole, the judiciary, government and related societies and organizations—share a common vision and work in unity towards that vision. It is my hope that the Annual Meeting will provide a forum where we can all gather together, regardless of nationality and transcending our own individual positions, to engage in constructive, scientific-based discussions that will clarify the direction in which we should proceed and the various roles we are expected to play.

With that aim in mind, over the past year I have been engaged in making contact with representative societies in Japan and overseas, including in the United States [American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)], Europe [European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO)], and Asia [Asia Pacific Cancer Conference (APCC), Asian Clinical Oncology Society (ACOS), Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology (CSCO), Asian cancer Forum, and the Korean Association of Clinical Oncology (KACO)]. At present many new plans are in the process of being finalized, with the comprehensive and active cooperation of these societies.

For example, under the name “JSCO University,” we are planning 14 symposia that will encompass various kinds of cancer tumors and medical care. In these symposia we will start by explaining treatment guidelines in Japan in relevant areas of medicine, which will be followed by a review of the most significant topics relating to treatment in the past one year in the United States (ASCO), Europe (ESMO), Asia (APCC, ACOS, CSCO, KACO, etc.) and Japan. We will then go on to discuss the future direction for research and development in oncology and the role that Japan should play in such efforts. We have called on cancer-related organizations in Japan to provide moderators and presenters and the ASCO, ESMO, and APCC has already recommended the track leader of the 2010-2011 Scientific Program Committee as a speaker. With the best of ASCO, ESMO, Asia and Japan being encapsulated in each symposium session, I am confident that this will be a rich and rewarding symposium, where participants can learn about the latest in global treatment and the position of Japan in a short space of time.

Furthermore, in response to the challenges for oncology in Japan, which were made clear through discussions among members specializing in patient advocacy starting at the 47th Annual Meeting chaired by Toru Sugiyama, MD and continuing through to the 48th Annual Meeting chaired by Tsuneharu Miki, MD, we are proposing to hold five symposia that will further crystallize what measures should be taken by the JSCO. [(1) Oncology in the community; (2) Developing oncology coordinators; (3) Self-reliant cancer patients and economic support; (4) Mega-clinical trial in Pan-Asia: Toward the golden standard therapy in Asia; and (5) Is the specialist physician system in Japan fit for purpose?] In today’s world where society is required to demonstrate its social contribution and accountability, it is incredibly important that we act in an open manner and continue to send out information to society.

An indispensable element of the Annual Meeting is a full educational program. With our education seminar for physicians (education committee) and a seminar for co-medical workers supporting or participating in clinical trials for cancer (certified data manager system committee) implemented to date, we have gradually expanded the scope of educational activities. As a new initiative at this meeting we will be holding an internet seminar that will convey to school teachers the knowledge about cancer that we want elementary and junior high school students to learn, given the necessity of providing accurate information to people at an early stage in the lives before they actually get cancer (in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology). Another new activity is the “Let’s Decide Together: Patient Education Program,” which will be a web seminar established in conjunction with a program to provide accurate information about cancer to patients and their families.

I have great ambitions that the 49th Annual Meeting will feature a wealth of programs over the course of three days that will respond to the diverse needs of our members and will provide many topics of great interest to everyone. I ask for the continued guidance and cooperation of you, our honored members, as we move forward with preparations. I also look forward to multiple responses to the request for papers for the Annual Meeting.

Masahiko Nishiyama, MD
The 49th Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Clinical Oncology
November 26, 2010