Preview: BNOS 2018 Annual Conference

Details: 4-6 July, 2018, Winchester, UK

This event ensures that all those working in neuro-oncology in the UK meet to learn, discuss and impart findings within a friendly and informative atmosphere.

The multidisciplinary role of BNOS is represented by plenary presentations, discussions, debates, sponsored symposia, oral presentations and posters covering a wide variety of topics which may range from stem cells and in-vitro models to classification and biomarkers, neuro-imaging and neurosurgical techniques, immuno-oncology, quality of life and indicators of patient performance.

The Wednesday morning will focus on education and research in the field of cerebral metastases. This population of patients is increasing in volume in all of our MDTs and outcomes continue to improve. In the afternoon we will learn about the newly released NICE guidelines for primary and secondary brain tumours and debate the impact and controversies that may result. Following this we will together discuss the management of some more complex and rarer tumours in our MDT meeting, to help us understand different approaches to these challenges.

Thursday will focus on both clinical and scientific aspects of neuro-oncology, with parallel sessions running most of the day. Plenary lectures will educate us on shared decision making and provide a patient and carer perspective from a well known British Actress, Holly Matthews, who has been very active in social media on this subject. We will also learn about the latest surgical techniques and scientific research on paediatric gliomas. We will together celebrate the 70th Birthday of the NHS at the gala dinner!

On Friday we will hear from one of the most experienced oncologists in the field of Proton Beam Therapy from PSI, Switzerland, in the year that PBT arrives in the UK. Our guest from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre will explain how we can integrate regenerative stem cell science into cancer research and will have an update on NIHR and brain tumour research in the UK.

Throughout the meeting there will be a number of sessions focusing on presentations of novel work from around the UK and beyond. Prizes will be awarded for the best oral and poster presentations. Bursaries are available from BNOS to attend the meeting.

This year we are delighted to welcome the British Radiosurgery Society who will be hosting an afternoon prior to BNOS conference, that is free to attend and is also accepting abstracts for presentation.

Find out more at:

How to break bad news – in a better way …

A life coach and actress best known for her work on TV shows including Casualty and Doctors is to address BNOS on Thursday, to share her personal story of her late husband’s healthcare treatment – and advise neuro-specialists on how to improve their communication with patients and their families.

Holly Matthews is also a vlogger, speaker, qualified life coach and founder of positive mindset courses and workshops and will be joining speakers at the British Neuro-oncology Society (BNOS) Annual Meeting to deliver her presentation on ‘Communication with patients and relatives: how to do it well. A wife’s perspective’.

The meeting is organised by Mr Paul Grundy, BNOS secretary and Consultant Neurosurgeon, University Hospital Southampton, and supported by Aesculap Academia, the educational arm of B. Braun Medical Ltd.

Mr Grundy invited Holly Matthews to the event and Brain Tumour Charity, the platinum sponsors, are supporting her attendance. This will be the first time public speaker Holly has addressed a medical training and educational conference and will see the mum of two sharing her family’s healthcare experiences after her husband Ross Blair was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in 2014 and during his treatment before his death last year aged just 32.

Holly, who has also appeared in Byker Grove and Waterloo Road, said: “After Ross became ill, all my work had to come closer to home and I began focusing more on developing my role as a personal business and mindset coach to female entrepreneurs and creatives.

“As an actress you’ll go for hundreds of auditions a year and maybe get a handful, so you’ve got to be resilient and able to bounce back and I found these were very transferable skills when putting together my positivity and self-development online courses and workshops.

“Body language is important to me as an actress and I am probably more heightened to it as a result and so bad body language bothers me. I work with CEOs to teach them presentation skills that help them to create a better impression and more favourable outcomes.

“When we were told Ross had Grade 4 level of brain cancer, the consultant was slouched in his chair. I was prepared for the worst news, but not the way he delivered it. All I could focus on was how he was sat and the way he spoke.

“I am a staunch defender of the NHS, and I must stress that not all consultants were like this. Dr David Spooner in Birmingham, for example – Ross was autistic so often consultants would talk to me rather than him, but he always spoke directly to Ross, and I was always struck by his genuine and authentic manner.

“Clearly I’m no wallflower and can hold my own in situations but it made me think about those people who can’t – an elderly lady being told terrible news about her husband or being told in medical jargon what is going on with his condition and treatment.

“I’m the sort of person who will go straight online and look everything up but someone lacking confidence might just crumble when faced with language that’s not clear and straight-forward and not feel able to ask questions.

“That will be my message at the conference. While acknowledging that consultants are hugely busy and would never intend to deliver news badly or maliciously, I do feel some simply need to be able to ‘people’ better.

“That first consultant might tell hundreds of people bad news in a week, but this was the first time my family and I had heard and been impacted and affected by it – it should not have been delivered in a matter-of-fact way.

“I just want to share how some slight tweaks and simple alterations because how you sit, stand and your tone communicating news can make all the difference to the patient – and the worried relatives – on the receiving end.”

Mr Grundy said: “While it is of course vital we hear from national thought leaders, researchers, clinicians and other healthcare professionals, I am very pleased to be welcoming a renowned speaker like Holly who will be able to offer a personal perspective and a reminder about the importance of putting, and keeping, people at the centre of healthcare.”

Aesculap Academia Business Development Manager Aynsley Pix said: “We are proud to support this major event, which ensures that all those working in neuro-oncology in the UK meet to learn, discuss, and share new findings.”