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Balkan/Eastern Europe Masterclass in Clinical Oncology

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Elona Cekani Elona Cekani - Tirana, Albania

It was a beautiful spring day when me and my colleagues took our way to Dubrovnik
Four of us have been selected to have this opportunity and we all were very excited, curious, and confident we were going to live a beautiful and successful experience.
We arrived there and since in the beginning we understood that all was very well organized.
Thanks to Ms. Ventura, a brilliant organizer we already have had the opportunity to meet her some months ago in Tirana in an Eso event, we felt comfortable and no tired at all but full of energy to start this new experience as soon as possible.
The hospitality, comfort, in the resort that has been chosen for this event was great, a magnificent place, where not just human work but even mother nature has been very generous.
Very soon we got to know the panel, which to be honest have been so friendly with us that it took me a while to understand their position in this event because we started talking for everything, not just oncology, like we knew each other long time ago. We have been lucky of having the first dinner together, a delicious dinner, and at the end of the day I felt in the middle of friends, new and old ones and like I have been a long time with each of them, and ready to start the new scientific adventure.
Themes were interesting, and lecturers professional, all professors did a great job to highlight the main points, and what we were going to encounter in our daily practice.
I got new perspectives on lung cancer, colon and breast cancer, thanks to the panel but also to the questions of my colleagues from all over Europe.
Was very beneficial sharing their experience with us and sharing ours with them and other colleagues.
You never know what are the problems each of us encounter without facing them, talking about them and trying to find a solution according to the latest finding of the science, and this event succeed on that.
We have been in four from our country and three of us has been chosen to present a clinical case.
Mine was a breast cancer in elderly. We have had a real discussion on this case and I was so happy I had the chance to discuss it with all my young friends and specially with panel. I felt very soon that I got what I was looking for, a brilliant and practical solution to what we deal every day with our patients, and soon after I felt more confident on doing what I do.
The week went on very fast, and the last day we concluded in Dubrovnik old city. Staying above the Castel old walls and admiring the wonderful view I understood that there are ways and paths of getting all specialists together, talking with the same language, being part of the same world, living and enjoying the success of each other in the same way, and investing on the most noble purpose, that of our patients life.
Thank you Eso School, not only for the professional assistance you are providing us, but even for the contribute you are giving us to be better doctors and humans for our patients.
Corina Cocea Corina Cocea - Iasi, Romania

The 3rd Balkan and Eastern European Masterclass in Clinical Oncology in which I participated last year was a new and enriching experience for me as a person and also for my career as a young physician in medical oncology.
The courses held at this Masterclass were different from what I was used at home, but were very clear and full of new data that helped me in my day to day practice. At this Masterclass I met different colleagues from different countries with whom I still collaborate today.
Participating in the 3rd Balkan and Eastern European Masterclass in Clinical Oncology helped me in so many ways that it really softened my road for becoming a better professional.
Thank you, ESO, for the opportunity that you give to the young physician in becoming good in oncology.
Danko Kostadinov - Sofia, Bulgaria

First I would like to thank you for the opportunity that you gave me to participate in the lovely and unique ESO 3rd Balkan and Eastern European Masterclass in Clinical Oncology in Dubrovnik.
It is really a difficult assignment to do it, just because I dont think there are enough words to express the feelings that I have after participating in the Masterclass. I will try to express it may be with a simple word - U.N.I.Q.U.E. And I can explain my idea like that:
U - means Union because I think that on that course we make a little young union MDT to start fighting with cancers.
N - means Never because I am pretty sure that this experience and moments, spent in Dubrovnik will be memories for all of us for life.
I  - means International, because we were many peoples from different countries.
Q - means Questions, because we all came, thrust for knowledge and full of questions, which I supposed were answered after the Masterclass.
U - means Unite, because one of the big advantages for me at the Masterclass was that I found so many new friends there.
E - means Expectations, which I am sure that everyone will agree that the Masterclass was an unique experience which will be very useful and will  influence our careers.

So once again. Thank you ESO for the possibility to be a part of that really amazing and UNIQUE Masterclass, where I found not answers to my questions, not only knowledge, but also many many good friends. I think this Masterclass is really a thing you must do in your lifetime and I am offering all my friends, dealing with cancers to apply for the ESO programmes. Thank you once again.
Miroslav Latinovic Miroslav Latinovic - Novi Sad, Serbia

My participation in Masterclass was of great help in everyday work especially when designing protocols for radiotherapy of localization, which is ongoing in our institute.
I am working on protocols for head and neck tumours and brain tumours.
Furthermore, participation in the Masterclass helped me to see where we are in relation to the surrounding radiotherapy centers.
Ramona Matei - Cluj Napoca, Romania

Being selected to attend this Masterclass was one of the best things that happened to my career in the last years. It was a “dose-dense” course  that lasted for 3 days, but it had everything we needed. The speakers were all high-class and they were available for questions at all time, the information we got were clear and up-to-date. What this course did for me was a great thing. It helped me to discover which oncology area was of particular interest for me. Discovering my favourite area was crucial for me, because now I am a last year resident in clinical oncology and I pretty much know  what I want to do after becoming a specialist. I found the case presentations followed by discussions really useful. So this class was beyond my expectations. And I have to say, the venue was awesome. I think every resident or young oncology specialist should be able to be part of this Masterclass, at least once in their career. My only regret is I wasn’t asked to write this testimonial sooner- it’s been a year since I attended the Masterclass, so I might have forgotten some things.
Emil Ioan Mois Emil Ioan Mois - Cluj Napoca, Romania

The 3rd Balkan and Eastern European Masterclass in Clinical Oncology was my first International Congress and I can say that I was delighted about everything. I was very impressed with the chosen location (and it was also a great weather) and the fact that  most of the participants were young. Besides the seminars we were involved in other group activities, like organised dinners and trip to the old city of Dubrovnik, so we were able to interact outside of the classes.
Concerning the courses, I was pleased that were interactive and everyone could participate and ask questions. The presented cases have been all well documented and didactic.
The themes, in my opinion as a surgery resident, can be improved by also adding some aspects about indication and type of the surgery involvement in different cases.
Overall, I remained with beautiful memories and I learned new things related to medical oncology.
Alketa Ymeri Alketa Ymeri - Tirana, Albania

Personally I think it was the most beautiful experience I have ever had. For the first time I was so close with leaders of European oncology as Prof Eniu, Prof Cufer and others. All oncologists who want to make treatment decisions should attend this course.
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Ieva Vaivode - Riga, Latvia

First of all I would like to say many thanks to the organisers of the Balkan meeting, which had a valuable role in my future career, I have completed my postgraduate training and I am as an oncologist in palliative care unit for about half a year, besides I am taking the PhD studies in oncology field.
Ivane Kiladze Ivane Kiladze - Tbilisi, Georgia

It was great pleasure for me to have an opportunity to take part in 2nd Balkan and Eastern European Masterclass in Dubrovnik on 2012. I was fortunate enough to be chosen among excellent doctors.
This Masterclass helped me to understand many important things in clinical oncology. Every lecture was followed by interesting debate and was always evidence-based and helped me to review the material in greater depth. I like to thank faculty for everything.
Another benefit was sharing different points of view with the other participants and the basic researchers. Moreover I get the opportunity to meet oncologists from different health systems and know how they work.
The knowledge gained at the Masterclass definitely helped me strengthen the knowledge and the importance of tumor-board in clinical oncology.
After this I was interested in trials and then I took part in many trial projects. This event was  very useful to network with like-minded clinicians, learn from their experience and bring invaluable lessons back to Georgia.
Participants were very helpful and friendly. I got  friends  and  with many of them I still  have friendship and collaboration after 2 years.
Finally the Masterclass was very useful for my development and for my career.
I must thank ESO for giving me the opportunity and also look forward to get more opportunity to take part in Masterclasses in the future.  
Vladimir Nikolic Vladimir Nikolic - Beograd, Serbia

Being part of the ESO Balkan Masterclass was a wonderful experience for me.
I really had a great time in meeting held near Dubrovnik 2 years ago.
The meeting organization was perfect. All the ESO staff was very helpful to all the participants. .
Clinical and practice oriented lectures, discussions with eminent professors, lots of case studies are the reason why I`m looking forward to be a part of this course again in future.
Also there were a lot of young oncologists from other countries, so we get to know each other better, exchange our experiences and made a good base for future cooperation and teamwork.
Because all your meetings and activities, especially e-learning, which is free from influence of pharmaceutical industry, ESO is the best organization supporting young oncologists.
Tanase Timis Tanase Timis - Cluj Napoca, Romania

In 2012, I was in my first year of residency as a medical oncologist, so the 2nd Balkan and Eastern European Masterclass in Clinical Oncology was actually my first international medical congress as a fresh university graduate.
I remember that being so new in this discipline I was so hungry for information that I was writing down almost every word from the presentations of the faculty speakers.
This Masterclass brought me into a wide range of experts in medical, radiation and surgical oncology from many Balkan and Eastern European countries with different backgrounds, experience and expertise, providing me with a great opportunity for networking and information exchange.
The plenary lectures regarding the state-of-the-art clinical evaluation and treatments with reference to clinical guidelines were themselves examples of state-of-the-art oral presentations .
For me, the most captivating part of this course was the practical training with the clinical case presentations prepared and presented by the participants that had initiated interactive discussions which often challenged our clinical abilities and our critical thinking, but most importantly made us perceive the differences of the clinical environments between our countries.
So if you are a fresh oncologist and can only attend one event a year… make sure it’s the Balkan and Eastern European Masterclass in Clinical Oncology.
Anna S. Vanesyan Anna S. Vanesyan - Kazan, Russia

The chance to take part in the 2nd Balkan and Eastern European Masterclass in Clinical Oncology was an unbelievable opportunity for me. As I was a young surgical oncologist involved in several research activities I had already experience of visiting many conferences and congresses. Exactly this meeting was unique not only for its teaching format, but also for the quality and quantity of information were given, for hot discussions between young specialists and opinion leaders. I am glad the Masterclass is continuing to function till now involving more and more oncologists all over the world.
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Ana Flavia Ferreira Ana Flavia Ferreira - Bury, United Kingdom

About my experience in 2011 Balkan Masterclass I would say: Great experience, well organized and addressed to most important and recent issues in medical oncology.
Iuliana Ramona Giurgiu Iuliana Ramona Giurgiu - Otopeni, Romania

I am a radiotherapy physician in Bucharest, Romania.
I attended to the Balkan Masterclass in Clinical Oncology in 2011 and I’m proud to say that I was accepted with full fellowship.
The place of the Masterclass was Dubrovnik, Croatia, in a divine five stars hotel, next to the see.
The course was very careful organised, with worthwhile speakers that taught us important oncology lessons.
For me this course had a huge impact because I was just preparing the exam for senior physician. By the time that I went home I already knew the latest findings in medical oncology. So it spared me of all the work and time to look for the most relevant clinical trial results that could have an impact on clinical practice.
This Masterclass was very important for my career because it helped me to obtain a six months fellowship in Switzerland, conferred by ESO. It was the place where I’ve learned the most valuable lessons for my clinical practice.
Assia Konsoulova Kirova Assia Konsoulova Kirova - Varna, Bulgaria

I would like to thank the European School of Oncology for having chosen my candidature for participation in the First Balkan Masterclass in Clinical Oncology, held in Dubrovnik 11 – 15 May 2011.
It was a valuable experience to attend the sessions chaired by renowned experts in oncology, discussing the available scientific knowledge and its implication in the everyday practice and who at same time, were interested in our learning experience and particular clinical practice varying among different Balkan countries. I enjoyed the wide range of topics and cancer localizations discussed, including clinical trials design, predictive and prognostic markers and their practical significance. Working and learning with a hundred of young and motivated people in that splendid and picturesque edge of the world, developed unique atmosphere of inspiration and creative friendships.
I would highly recommend this Masterclass together with all other ESO/ESMO educational events to my junior colleagues of any specialty, related to oncology in order to enhance their knowledge of good clinical practice and to awake their curiosity for research.
Svilen Maslyankov Svilen Maslyankov - Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

I can remember the 2011 Balkan Masterclass in Clinical Oncology at its usual greatest level as an ESO event. It was in a very beautiful place: Dubrovnik. I had there good time with a very useful acquaintances. It was slightly aside from my top interest (I am a general surgeon), but however I treat a lot of cancer patients. So it is a necessity for every specialist to be informed of other treatment possibilities and it was a good chance for me.
I had some changes of my working place, following steps of my carrier. Now I am an attending professor in medical university of Sofia.
Domen Ribnikar Domen Ribnikar - Ljubljana, Slovenia

I had the opportunity to participate in the Balkan Masterclass in Clinical Oncology organized by ESO, which took place in Dubrovnik from 11th to 15th May 2011. This was the second Masterclass meeting held in the Balkan region.
As I listened to the lectures which were from the clinical oncology point of view I realized more than ever how important it is for us, young oncologists, to be involved into optimal management of cancer patients from the very beginning of our training and how much benefit these meetings can bring us, not only for our personal experience but also for future collaboration with other international cancer centers. There were four solid tumor types included into the programme of this meeting; breast, lung, colorectal and gynecological cancers.
Apart from receiving more knowledge and new data based on results of recent randomized clinical trials of particular cancers, we also had a great opportunity to cooperate interactively with our presenters, who were all well-known professors of either medical oncology or oncologic surgery or radiotherapy.
There was one special lecture at this great meeting that particularly impressed me. Professor Fatima Cardoso, MD, the director of a breast unit in the Champalimaud cancer center in Lisbon, Portugal, had an excellent presentation of chemotherapy treatment options for patients with metastatic breast cancer. What especially impressed me was her knowledge and enthusiasm she expressed; it really inspired me and in that moment I decided to do my best to be applied for a fellowship to her cancer center. She pointed out the importance of integration of young oncologists that are eager for new knowledge and career challenges early in the residency programme, as partners in clinical research, which in addition was in my interest.
My own perspective regarding improving my skills in the management of cancer patients from this Masterclass meeting is that it gave me much more than expected. We learnt new data regarding screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow up of particular cancer types I mentioned above. The greatest benefit for us residents was interactive discussion on distinct clinical cases, which gives you also a self-confidence for international future presentations.
I am sure this meeting was a milestone for me. The first reason is I became additionally more enthusiastic about cancer research and the second one is that I met professor Fatima Cardoso, MD,  who gave me so much inspiration to be involved in international breast cancer research community.
Meetings like this one was are best way to get to know academic researchers from all over the world and it can be a beginning of your dream. Therefore it is important to stimulate this kind of meetings and include young oncologists into the research area early in the residency programme. I believe the biggest problem in Central-Eastern European region is in the organisation of our training programme which does not include research or even disables it. We could never have reached current success rate in survival of different types of cancer without extensive basic and translational research.
At the end I would like to express my gratitude to ESO community that organizes meetings for residents of clinical oncology and gives us the opportunity to get to know academic researchers who give us additional enthusiasm and support. I am very grateful also to professor Tanja Cufer, PhD, a clinical oncologist at the University Clinic Golnik in Slovenia who is also a chair of ASCO IAC, for encouraging me in cancer research from the very beginning of my carrier and giving me much support.