Report on the annual congress of the Scientific Association of Swiss Radiation Oncology, SASRO 2022
My name is Colin Shelton and I am a young member of the Scientific Association of Swiss Radiation Oncology (SASRO), currently working as a radiation therapist (RTT) at the University Hospital Zürich (USZ) in Switzerland. The annual SASRO congress 2022 was the first meeting of SASRO that I had attended and it was an excellent experience. The theme of the congress was “promoting the next generation” and this subject was widely discussed through the various presentations and posters available at the congress.
Since early 2022, I have been working on a study at USZ that pertains to the use of surface-guided radiotherapy to position patients who must be irradiated to the extremities. When the opportunity came up to send in an abstract for the SASRO congress 2022, I gladly applied with the help of my team at USZ. A few weeks later, I heard that my abstract had been accepted for an oral presentation! Then I gathered the study information and put it into a presentation. It took a lot of work, but it was worth it to have the opportunity to discuss and present the research I had been working on.
At the congress, I had the opportunity to meet people from all professions (i.e. radiation oncologists, medical physicists, of course fellow RTTs and many more). We were able to discuss ideas and new workflows from clinics across the country. I learned a lot not only about methodology in radiation therapy, but also how other RTT professionals are establishing themselves as RTTs in Switzerland.
Presenting at a congress for the first time can be a little frightening, but it is also very exciting. Being able to present and share the research I have been working on was quite a memorable experience. Personally, I was most worried about the discussion at the end of the presentation. You never know what someone is going to ask, and I wanted to be prepared. When the discussion began, I realised quickly that I knew my study better than anyone else did and I was very well equipped to answer all questions. The discussion also helped me to realise which parts of my study were confusing and which parts were clear. It was nice to hear feedback from my peers and to talk about how they handled similar problems in their clinics. My tips for anyone attending a congress for the first time would be to breathe, network, and have fun. There will be so many interesting people to meet!
My attendance at SASRO 2022 really made me think about the future of radiation therapy (and the future of my job) in Switzerland. So many interesting ideas and research projects were discussed. Something that was repeatedly discussed among all professions was the importance of continuing education and the advance of artificial intelligence. Technology in our field is always improving to make our work more efficient and to create better, more comfortable treatments for patients. These advances in technology only highlight the fact that continuing education is necessary to stay at the top of our fields and to deliver the best treatments for our patients. Congresses such as SASRO 2022 make continuous learning and the sharing of information easier.
Thank you so much and I cannot wait until next year’s SASRO congress!
University Hospital Zürich