In lovely San Francisco, where the weather is sunny and substantially warmer than Toronto, it was an amazing start to an exciting conference. In addition to sightseeing on Alcatraz and enjoying a nice ride on the cable car, the lectures have been a huge portion of my thoughts throughout the day. In particular, cancer management has been a central topic here at the American College of Surgeons (ACS) 2014 clinical congress.
From the first moment after I woke up, I watched an advertisement on the newly FDA-approved colon cancer kit, Cologuard, on the morning news. My first talk then focused on image-guided surgery and all the different talks took a perspective on surgical resection of cancerous tumors using new fluorescence visualization technology. From breast reconstruction to endometrial cancer, the use of IC-Green (indocyanine green) improves the accuracy and ability of physicians to predict the tissues that need to be resected by improving detection rates and limiting necrosis of tissues after the procedure.
The afternoon lecture took a spin on gastric cancer management and the arguments for different forms of care. Minimally invasive surgery?that is, laparoscopic and robotic surgery as opposed to open surgery?can yield lower rates of long-term complications but also allowed more patients to immediately undergo adjuvant therapy. Interestingly, the case example also showed the efficient use of fluorescent dye as a key tool for indicating the lymph nodes and knowing where to dissect. Other talks also covered whether to perform a lymphadenectomy and whether to incorporate chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both, pre- or postsurgery.
Cancer remains an important topic because of how impactful the disease is on the patient population in the US. As more visualization products in development come to light, we should be able to look forward to better detection rates, better staging of cancers, and better decisions and accuracy of surgery as physicians move away from clinical judgment?all of which is comforting to a potential patient like me.

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