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History of the consensus meeting

BCC 2019

From March 20 to March 23, the Austrian capital Vienna hosted the 16th St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference. After three days of presentations that reviewed the recent developments in the primary treatment of early breast cancer, the meeting culminated in the traditional consensus session on the fourth day of the conference. In this session, a panel of 53 experts was asked to cast their vote on more than 135 (detailed) questions on the treatment of early breast cancer.

Established in 1978 in the Swiss town of St. Gallen, the St. Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference is now biannually organised in Vienna. This meeting is a global, multidisciplinary conference with over 2,000 representatives from multiple nations and every continent. The conference offers educational presentations that review recent developments in several areas of early breast cancer treatment. The highlight of the conference is the consensus panel meeting. This year, in a session chaired by Dr Giuseppe Curigliano (Instituto Europeo di Oncologica, Italy) and Prof. Eric Winer (Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA), 53 experts discussed and casted their vote on specific areas of treatment with a focus on controversies and uncertainties in the management of early-stage breast cancer. The goal of this consensus process is to articulate important themes in management, and to provide guidance to clinicians around the world on how to think about and care for women with early-stage breast cancer. The 53 panellists were asked to cast their vote on more than 135 detailed questions, using 3 possible answers: yes / no / abstain. However, due to the complexity of some questions, more options were given in certain instances. ‘Abstain’ was to be used in case of insufficient data, no personal expertise on the particular issue, or a conflict of interest of a given panellist. After each vote, the answers were summarised in percentages.

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