Editorial| Volume 36, SUPPLEMENT 1, S1-S2, September 2010

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      The mission of the European Society of Surgical Oncology is to improve the quality of diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients in Europe by training and educating surgeons involved in clinical cancer care and research and by promoting high standards in the multidisciplinary team performance. The motto of the 15th congress of the European Society of Surgical Oncology, taking place 15–17 September in Bordeaux is: Surgical outcomes: can we do better? Despite improvements in targeted therapies and adjuvant treatments, surgery is still the key to curing cancer patients with solid malignancies. In the treatment of cancer patients we as surgeons should demonstrate leadership in multidisciplinary care by commitment, competence and continuity of care but in addition to our medical colleagues we should also demonstrate good skills, experience and judgment in the order and use of additional treatments. This is especially the case because of the change in surgical practice through specialization. In the past, surgical outcomes and causes of variation were largely unknown but more recently the beneficial effects of auditing surgical outcomes and feeding back data to individual surgeons have been recognized and accepted. Surgeons have taken the lead in Europe. They have demonstrated many times that providing mirror information to practicizing groups and hospitals has a considerable effect on outcomes and at low costs, especially in comparison to the costs of several adjuvant therapies. Most importantly, the benefit for individual patients is tremendous and through auditing structures patients can have more confidence in hospitals and surgical teams, simply because these are part of an auditing system.
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