The International Consensus Conference for Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC) has established itself as a major international breast cancer conference. Its primary aim is the development of international consensus guidelines for the management of ABC patients. These guidelines are based on the most up-to-date evidence and can be used to guide treatment decision making in many different health care settings globally, with the necessary adaptations due to different access to care.
The last meeting, which took place in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2013, brought together over 1000 participants from 71 countries around the world, including health professionals, patient advocates and journalists.
ABC Consensus Conferences have the ambitious goal of improving outcomes for all patients with advanced breast cancer. We believe that health professionals working closely together with patient advocates and with the strong support of media can raise awareness about the needs and challenges faced by this traditionally underserved and forgotten group of patients. We aim to identify research priorities based on the most important areas of unmet need, analyse and discuss available data to provide the most accurate management recommendations, but also to influence policy makers and funding bodies and ultimately improve standards of care, survival and quality of life. Research and education, with accurate usage of available knowledge, throughout the world, are key to achieve these goals.
ABC guidelines are jointly developed by ESO (European School of Oncology) and ESMO (European Society of Medical Oncology) and guidelines or ABC conferences have been endorsed and supported by several other international oncology organizations such as ESGO (European Society of Gynaecological Oncology), EUSOMA (European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists), ESTRO (European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology), UICC (Union International Contre le Cancer), SIS (Senologic International Society) / ISS (International School of Senology), FLAM (Federacion Latino-Americana de Mastologia), OECI (Organization of European Cancer Institutes), Susan G. Komen and BCRF (Breast Cancer Research Foundation). Furthermore, the ABC3 faculty includes official representatives appointed by ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology).
We strongly believe that together we will dramatically change the poor outcome of this disease and improve both the quality and length of life of all patients living with ABC worldwide. Through our dedicated efforts over this last decade, we can certainly say to every ABC patient "You are no longer forgotten, but you are still our heroes!"*.
Fatima Cardoso, Eric P. Winer, Larry Norton and Alberto Costa
* Metastatic breast cancer patients: The forgotten heroes! The Breast 18: 271-272, 2009