Highlights from the 2017 HDR LDR Prostate Workshop
Anna Likhacheva, MD, MPH
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Leading North American experts in prostate brachytherapy gathered in Chicago in early December to hold a first of its kind Prostate Brachytherapy workshop. In attendance were thirty pairs of practicing radiation oncologists and physicists who were chosen through a rigorous selection process and were awarded $2000 scholarships to cover the costs of participation.
ABS has a long-standing tradition of supporting education in brachytherapy through hands-on learning to ensure that the practice of brachytherapy continues to flourish in the United States. Since 2008, ABS, with partial sponsorship from Elekta, was able to support 20 scholarships a year for both physicists and physicians to travel to designated sites of brachytherapy excellence for an entire week. In 2017, ABS changed their scholarship format to a centralized two-day workshop, where a combination of didactic lectures, hands-on planning sessions and hands-on simulations allow practicing physicians and physicists of various expertise levels to both solidify their knowledge and advance their technique. Participants have a chance to plan several cases in various software formats for both HDR and LDR. During the two-day workshop, they spend 6 hours at 8 different hands-on stations where experts share their knowledge on how to do everything from LDR to HDR, using pre-planning or real-time planning, with US-based or CT-based or MRI-based planning, with loose or stranded seeds, etc. Alongside the instructors, industry sponsors are present to answer questions and to network.
I commend ABS leadership for organizing an event that promotes education, technical finesse and networking. It's difficult to imagine a more intimate and dynamic setting for learning or refining brachytherapy technique. Going from one hands-on workshop to the next, I heard world experts in prostate brachytherapy say that they were surprised to have learned something new in this type of relaxed interactive atmosphere that promotes dialogue and free exchange of ideas.
I am happy to say that I left invigorated by the workshop, ready to implement changes that will undoubtedly result in higher quality implants for my patients.