Interventional Oncology is emerging all around the world as the importance of image-guided intervention in cancer becomes increasingly recognized. At RSNA, I met with Dr. Adrián Gonzalez from the National Institute of Cancer in Mexico City. Together with Drs. Carlos Rojas and Alejandra Lara, he put together the first “IO” meeting in Mexico concurrent with the Best of ASCO, Best of SSO, and Mexican radiotherapy congresses in 2012. They organized a two-day hands-on pig lab followed by a two-day lecture program, bringing together 70 Mexican interventional radiologists, with support from Siemens, Cordis, Cook, and Boston Scientific.
As in most successful first ventures, opportunities for improvement revealed themselves. Meeting in the same venue with the medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists did not create the hoped for cross-fertilization. WCIO learned this same lesson in 2008 when we met with Best of ASCO and in 2009 with the Society of Thermal Medicine: at “joint” meetings, we go to our sessions and they go to theirs. The solution to investing other oncologic disciplines in IO is to incorporate their thought leaders into our meetings in multidisciplinary sessions and tumor boards. Lecture topics in the 2012 meeting were mostly technical. Teaching technique is necessary and important, but not sufficient to prepare interventional oncologists to take their seat at the table with other specialists. We have to understand what they do as much as they need to learn what we do.
Dr. Gonzalez hopes to partner with WCIO in 2013 to expand the program. He envisions bringing in eminent faculty, more lectures, research, and a multidisciplinary philosophy. Drs. Gonzalez, Rojas, and Lara are to be congratulated for their innovation in IR education in Mexico. I hope the seed they have planted will grow strong and enduring roots for Interventional Oncology in Mexico and Latin America. WCIO looks forward to the opportunity to work with them in 2013.