Over 200 delegates attended the BIR Annual Congress last week. The buzzy and agenda-packed event not only offered two days and four streams of useful and thought-provoking presentations, it was a great opportunity for delegates to network with colleagues old and new and a chance to make new connections with the many companies exhibiting at the event.
The first day offered a choice of two streams on breast imaging and lung in the morning, followed by gynaecological imaging and MSK in the afternoon.
Highlights included a fascinating overview of the rapidly evolving Digital Breast tomosynthesis by Dr Michael Michell, King’s College Hospital, London. He discussed the pros and cons of using this technology for diagnosis and the potential for use in screening, subject to trials.
Dr Steve Allen explored the challenges of “Family History Screening” and discussed the risk models used and what to look for in elevated risk women as well as the problems associated with using different modalities for screening.
Professor Evis Sala, from the Weill Cornell Medical College and the Meorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York gave the key note lecture on her work on radiomics. “Unravelling tumour heterogeneity using next generation imaging: Radiomics, radiogenomics and habitat imaging in ovarian cancer”. The goal of radiomics is to convert images to higher dimensional data for improved decision making. Shape, edge and texture metrics are extracted and quantified in an objective and reproducible form and she gave a detailed overview of how she has applied this technology to providing insights into tumour heterogeneity in ovarian cancer.
The lung cancer stream focused on missed lung cancer on x-ray (Dr Chris Loughran), Lung cancer detection, learning from the NHS breast screening programme (Professor Alastair Gale) and optimising early cancer detection (Dr Anand Devaraj). A highlight of the day was an excellent talk by Dr Sujal Desai, who talked about patterns in CT – the power of the eyeball.
Day 2 offered range of talks on paediatric imaging and primers for the non-specialist. Dr Oliver Hulson gave an eye-opening overview of radiology and litigation in the UK following a study he has made of litigation claims between 1995 and 2015. Claims are on the rise with nearly 30% of claims for missed cancer diagnosis and also partly due to an awareness of what the radiologist does. He called for more information on the “Duty of Candour” regulations and also more consistency across trusts and internationally around the implementation of anti-coagulant drugs.
This was followed by three interesting talks on the future of radiology and how artificial intelligence may support the radiologist in diagnosis and detection. Dr Neelam Dugar gave an overview of the current status of AI in the UK and Dr Anton Becker described his work on mammogram interpretation using AI.
Dr Gareth Davies, delivered the Sir Godfrey Hounsfield Lecture “Early cancer diagnosis, can radiology make a difference?” speaking about his recent work leading on diagnostic service improvement to benefit patient cancer outcomes for the Wales Cancer Network. He demonstrated how the UK compares to health care systems in Europe, in particular Denmark and to other continents.
After the lecture Dr Davies was presented with his award and the BJR Barclay Medal was presented to Dr Lucy Warren for her paper onBJR, Radiation risk of breast screening in England with digital mammography,Br J Radiol2016;89:20150897.
Dr Pierfrancesco Franco was presented with the Early Career Investigator award, supported by Jusha Displays for in BJR, Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) in the combined modality treatment of cancer patients with anal cancer, Br J Radiol2016;89:20150832. Here him speak about this paper in a BIR podcast
This was followed by a useful session for general radiologists on PET/CT from radiologists at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust.
The morning sessions of day two included some helpful sessions on using radionuclide imaging for paediatric patients.
The second day ended with a lively panel discussion on workforce challenges introduced by Dr Elizabeth Loney, Clinical Director of Radiology at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Roger Laitt, described the Manchester experience where smaller hospitals are working together to make efficiencies. Professor Maryann Hardy presented her suggestions for rethinking grades and structures within radiography and Rebecca Bridger gave the health recruiter perspective and gave her suggestions about how to improve best practice in trust recruitment.
There was a good buzz throughout the day with delegates using the time in between talks to catch up with colleagues and view the many posters on display via the electronic poster boards. 80 posters were submitted, many from international participants, giving delegates the chance to observe best practice in many specialities across the world.
Many delegates commented on the shared learning from the day and one participant remarked “I really feel like I've come away with positive changes to be made in my department.”