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The largest cancer research meeting of the year was canceled as a reaction to the new outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), which also caused the cancellation or postponement of many other medical conferences.
The annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) was scheduled to take place April 24-29 in San Diego, California. More than 24,000 delegates from 80 countries and more than 500 exhibitors were expected to attend.
There are plans to reschedule it later this year.
This has been a “difficult decision,” said the AACR board of directors, but “we believe that the decision to postpone the meeting is absolutely correct to protect our participants from possible additional exposure to the coronavirus.”
The board continues to explain that “this evidence-based decision was made after a thorough review and discussion of all the factors affecting the annual meeting, including the United States government’s application of restrictions on international travelers to entering the United States, the imposition of travel restrictions issued by U.S. government agencies, cancer centers, academic institutions and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and the advice of experts on infectious diseases.It is clear that all these elements significantly affect the ability of delegates, speakers, presenters of featured articles and exhibitors to participate fully in the annual meeting. “
Other cancer conferences that are planned for March and have been canceled include the following:
European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC), Barcelona, Spain, which was to take place from March 18 to 20. This conference has been postponed and will now take place from September 30 to October 2 in the same place. Abstracts that have been accepted for the initial conference will remain in the program, and the organizers will reopen the submission of abstracts in May.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), Orlando, Florida, was scheduled for March 19 and 22. This conference has been postponed. No new dates have been provided, but the company notes that “NCCN staff is working as quickly as possible to notify all conference participants of the postponement and more information about the reimbursement process.”
The European Association of Urology (UAE), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, which always presents new research on prostate, kidney and bladder cancer, should be carried out from March 20 to 24. This conference has been postponed until July 2020.
Gynecologic Oncology Society (SGO), in Toronto, Canada, which was scheduled for March 28 and 31. SGO is “exploring alternatives to deliver science and education.”
Overall, the movement to cancel medical conferences in the coming months is a good idea, said F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE, associate professor of medicine and director of the Yale Applied Translational Research Program, in a comment from Medscape Medical News .
“There is a fairly simple case here,” he argued. “Medical professionals have a higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus because we get in touch with many and many patients. Bringing together a large group of medical professionals in one place further increases the risk of exposure. Factor in airplane flights to and since the conferences, and the possibility of the infection spreading is significant. “
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