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Second International Symposium on Cancer in People with Intellectual Disability

October 10-12 2018, Montpellier, France


In October 2018, Montpellier (Southern France) will host its second three-day international symposium on cancer in people with intellectual disability. The symposium is organized by Oncodéfi—an association dedicated to providing the best cancer care for people with intellectual disability (ID)—to bring together the knowledge, data, and professionals that, combined, can advance this field. The inaugural symposium, held in Montpellier in 2014, represented the first international congress on this topic.

Cancer has not been comprehensively studied among people with ID, but estimates suggest that people with ID develop cancer as frequently as those in the general population. This means that one-in-three to one-in-four persons with ID will develop a cancer during her/his lifetime. Yet, cancers in people with ID differ from those in the general population. For example, the frequency of affected organs is dissimilar, with more digestive tract tumors and fewer pulmonary and ear, nose, and throat tumors compared to the general population. Further, the age at diagnosis may be lower, presentations are frequently different, and treatment presents challenges. There are more than 2,000 genetic diseases associated with ID, as well as non-genetic causes of ID, each potentially having a particular tumor profile.

The subgroup of persons with Down syndrome (trisomy 21) is the most studied, especially for leukemia, which arguably represents the best-documented natural model of carcinogenesis in humans at the molecular and biological levels. In this condition, the origination of cancer can be observed. But, while young people with Down syndrome are at increased risk for leukemia, adults with Down syndrome develop solid tumors half as often the general population, particularly for the most frequent tumors—colon, lung, prostate, and breast cancers. Indeed, breast cancer seems to be nearly ten times less frequent in women with Down syndrome compared to women in the general population. Studying cancer occurrence and characteristics in conditions like Down syndrome and other causes of ID offers a unique opportunity to understand the disease from points of view that have rarely been pursued.

Researchers, practitioners, and experts, some of them leaders in their field, will present their data and experience. All topics that link cancer and ID are included: clinical oncology; psychology; clinical care from a practical point of view; nursing and palliative care; cancer epidemiology; organs at risk; genetic links between cancer and ID/cancer genes; cancer biology in the context of diseases associated with ID; cancer prevention, screening, and diagnosis; pain management; conducting research on, and with, people with ID; communicating with people with ID; and the role of professional caregivers. This congress provides a unique meeting opportunity for various professionals from Europe and around the world to open our minds to different approaches, share knowledge and data, and build collaborations. Scientists, physicians, nurses, caregivers—all are welcome. Although the symposium is mainly dedicated to professionals, family members interested in these approaches may attend the symposium.


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