Message from the President

Atsushi Sato, President

Atsushi Sato, President
The 4th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (JASCC)
Professor, Department of Medical Oncology, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine

The 4th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (JASCC) will be held at Link Station Hall Aomori in Aomori city from September 6 to 7, 2019. The first annual meeting was held in Tokyo that was established by President Keisuke Aiba, and the second meeting in Saitama prefecture was led by President Toshiaki Saeki then the third, in Fukuoka was led by President Kazuo Tamura. The next convention will be held in Aomori, Japan, the northernmost prefecture of Honshu. The number of academic society members and presentations for this conference has increased over time. It is as if this association is growing greatly while traveling all over Japan.

There is an advantage not having an urban venue this time. Due to the declining birth rate and aging population, and Japan’s “near future”, Japan will be swept into an era of sharp declining. It is inevitable that it will be an impact on the way of medical care is done. The direction of this flow cannot be reversed. But we believe that developments in medical structure that adapts to a changing society can continue to provide a rich life for everyone. Actually, the transition to Japan's "near future society" has already started in Aomori and Akita. The shape of Japan's "near future" has been already seen in this place as a reality. Therefore, there is significance in learning medical care with you in this place once again. This venue, Aomori, will give all of us a glimpse into the future of medical care in Japan.

Advances in science have given human beings great benefits. In the era when I became a doctor, the effect of anticancer drugs was quite limited. Supportive therapy for side effects was also primitive. As soon as cisplatin was administered, the patient vomited continuously into a bowl held in both hands. Young medical professionals now would not know that fact at all. No such patient can be seen anywhere in Japan today. Advances in supportive therapy have brought rapid progress in Oncology in modern times. It is important of both the power of science and the medical research has achieved this. It is called "Cure". It is medical care that will be done by the power of science. However, science alone does not provide all the answers necessary to full medical treatment.

The origin of medical profession dates back to the era of Hippocrates of ancient Greece. In times when the existence of bacteria or viruses was not known at all, not to mention the existence of antibacterial agent. From these primitive scientific beginning, medical remedies have been continuing all the time without interruption. But there seems more to "medical science" than just science. There is a part of medical treatments that has remained unchanged. These treatments address conditions that can not be even cured by science at this time too. We call this "Care". This "Care" utilizes the power of relationships; the power of spiritual connections. In the past, patients who were diagnosed with an incurable disease such as "Tuberculosis" or "Leprosy" were isolated from the general public at a time when being notified of life crisis. When we were struggling with the trauma of this sudden life crisis, more severe than the physical danger of the disease was the shock of losing one's sense of self by being banded to an "isolation ward". Nonetheless, even under such circumstances they had hope if they had care.

The integration of cancer treatment and supportive palliative care that President Tamura chose as a theme at the 3rd academic meeting flows naturally from advances of medical research in the world, and it is inevitable trend. It is important to push forward with this extension. The reason is that what was originally integrated with Cure - that is, Care, was separated from work of medical staff and medical scientists. From the perspective of patients on the side receiving medical treatments, it is only natural these two things should be together. Imagine things of Japanese cuisine which consists rice and side dishes. Rice, staple food, would represent "Care", side dishes would represent "Cure". Choosing either one or the other is a wrong approach. They are meant to be eaten together. Don't worry because your “staple food” remains unchanged. However, side dishes continue to become more sophisticated and more tasty.

Due to the era of an irreversible decline of birth rate and aging population, and the state of cancer treatment in Japan, the integration of Cure and Care needs are immediate attention. That is helping the patients to reframe their thinking to be able to accept the reality of their medical condition and the fact of medical treatment given to them. So that their existence will be meaningful to them. That will give us an affluent future as a result. This seminar will be held in Aomori - rich in both nature and human activities. That is a good place to discuss of future which has hope. We are looking forward to welcoming the participants from many medical professionals and those who will lead the medical fields.

Last but not least, we are thankful to the committee, subcommittee, the program committee, the academic secretariat in Fukuoka, the class members and university officials who worked hard and followed a dream together, and many other colleagues. We will do our utmost to work hard and appreciate your continuous support. As for the details of the program and academic meetings, it will be listed on the site sequentially soon.