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4th European Conference on Head and Neck Oncology
Athens, Greece. Date: 4-6 March 2010


The 4th European Conference on Head and Neck Oncology was held in Athens, Greece from 4-6 March 2010 with Chairman of the Founding Board of European Head and Neck Society (EHNS) Jean Louis Lefebvre France and Local Chairman Alexander D. Rapidis Greece. A record number of 650 participants from 53 countries around the world and coming from all 5 continents attended the conference.
The European Head and Neck Society (EHNS) founded in 2006, despite its relatively short existence, has already been established as a true multidisciplinary platform for head and neck oncology. It is the intend of the Society to act within the European Union, and not only, as a multidisciplinary body bringing together clinicians, scientists and other health professionals involved in the fight against head and neck cancer.
After its first three European conferences, the two first held in Lille, France, and the third in Zagreb, Croatia, the Society decided to hold its meetings every two years in an effort to accumulate and report the European scientific achievements in clinical and basic research.

The 4th EHNS was co-organized by the Hellenic Society of Medical Oncology, the Hellenic Society of Radiation Oncology, the Panhellenic Association of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and the Hellenic Association for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

A one day pre-congress seminar was organized by the Hellenic Cooperative Treatment Group of Head and Neck Cancer (Hellenic Head and Neck Group — HCTGHNC) on March 3 2010 focusing on the “Advances in the treatment of head and neck cancer in the era of multidisciplinary approaches”. The seminar was well attended and included four panel discussions on “Treatment of recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancer”, “Cancer of the oral cavity and the oropharynx”, “Tumors of salivary glands”, and “Cancer of the larynx”. Leading clinicians from Greece, USA, UK, Korea, Belgium, The Netherlands, Turkey, and France presented their experiences and discussed key issues of the subjects with the audience.  In a special session on “Advances of computerized aids in surgical oncology and training of the head & neck”  Reidar Grenman, Finland, Jochen Werner, Germany, Yann Mallet, France, Kerry Olsen, USA presented their valuable experiences.

The Presidential Lecture was delivered by Jean Bourhis, France on the very interesting subject "Is there still a role for surgery in head and neck cancer?" during the Opening Ceremony.  Professor Bourhis gave an overwhelming speech and presented in detail the reported studies on surgical treatment of early and advanced head and neck cancer versus chemoradiation and organ preservation protocols.  Professors Jean Louis Lefebvre and Alexander D. Rapidis bestowed to Professor Jean Bourhis a special recognition award for his participation in the 4th EHNS.

The main scientific program of the congress included four invited lectures by world leaders in their respective fields and these included: Stina Syrjänen, Finland on HPV and head and neck diseases with concluding remarks presented by Jan Klozar Czech Republic; Lisa Licitra, Italy on Head and neck cancer in young and old patients with concluding remarks presented by Patrick Bradley UK; Christopher Nutting, UK on Better targeting the disease with concluding remarks presented by Jan Vermorken, Belgium; Irma Verdonck The Netherlands on Quality of life and supportive care in head and neck cancer with concluding remarks presented by Miquel Quer, Spain.

There were also 52 proffered papers presented and the scientific program was complemented with 265 poster presentations divided into four poster sessions.  All proffered papers and poster presentations were published in a Supplement Volume of European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology Head & Neck Surgery, official Journal of the EHNS. The Editor of the Journal Professor Jan Oloffson, Norway and on behalf of Springer, publisher of the Journal, Dr. Tobias Kemme made an excellent work and produced a handsome volume.
The contradictory subject of “Management of oropharyngeal tumors. Surgical versus non-surgical results and functional outcomes” was discussed on a session of a grand debate. James S. Brown, UK presented his expertise on surgery and Volker Budach, Germany on chemoradiation.

Concluding Remarks of the conference were presented by Jean Louis Lefebvre, France and Alexander D. Rapidis, Greece. Five poster awards were presented to the best poster of each session.
The meeting ended with a presentation by Wojciech Golusinski, Poland, next Local Chairman of the 5th EHNS to be held in Poznań, Poland and extended a very warm welcome to participants of the 4th EHNS to meet again there in 2012.

During the conference the EHNS Board Meeting and the General Assembly of EHNS were held, chaired by Jean Louis Lefebvre Chairman of the Founding Board. The General Assembly unanimously elected Jean Louis Lefebvre as President of EHNS, C René Leemans as Secretary General, and Guy Andry as Treasurer. It was also decided that the 6th EHNS will be held in Liverpool, UK in 2014 under the Chairmanship of James S. Brown.

Part of the enormous success of the conference should be shared with the congress administrators, Goldair Congress S.A., who not only took care of the logistics, management and running of the event but also provided their long and valuable expertise in its organization. Mrs. Margarita Katsiavou, Maria Ntente, Maro Tzenaki, Evi Voudiklari and Mr. Panagiotis Georgakopoulos were in charge and assisted by several friendly and efficient staff from Goldair.
In the three and a half days of the Congress, apart from the concentrated scientific knowledge, old friendships were strengthened and new ones were made. The scientific importance of the meeting was also reflected from the high standards of the submitted papers. We all left beautiful Athens with the promise to meet each other again in two years in the beautiful and enchanting city of Poznań, Poland.

Prof. A.D. Rapidis

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