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Introducing COSOSA - The Cardio Oncology Society of Southern Africa

Cancer and cardiovascular disease are the two most common causes of death and disease worldwide. The incidence of both cancer and cardiovascular disease increases with age. With increased life expectancy, the burden of both diseases will increase substantially over the next decade.  Physicians and ancillary staff frequently provide care for patients with cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

Some cardiac diseases predate the diagnosis of cancer, whereas other conditions like chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy and radiation-related heart disease are directly related to the cardiotoxic side effects of cancer therapy. Cardio-oncology has developed as a new discipline within cardiovascular medicine as a result of the cardiac and vascular adverse sequelae of cancer therapy advancement. Clinically, these challenges are best addressed by a multidisciplinary approach in which cardiovascular medicine specialists work closely with oncologists in the care of patients with cancer as well as cancer survivors.  

Consequently, to cater for the need of a local multidisciplinary constituent body, this led to the formation of the Cardio Oncology Society of Southern Africa (COSOSA) under the leadership of Dr YT Singh (Cardiologist), Dr Ria David (Medical Oncologist) and Dr Ines Buccimazza (Specialist Surgeon – Breast and Endocrine). The purpose and vision of the society is to advance the development of Cardio-Oncology in all its aspects in Southern Africa to make sure that the cancer patients are not only cured of their cancer but do not develop cardiovascular disease. The COSOSA Executive gained invaluable insight from colleagues in Cardiology and Oncology at peer-group meetings in Johannesburg and Cape Town and we look forward to expanding our leadership to involve various specialities across Southern Africa. 

COSOSA Directors: Dr YT Singh (Cardiologist/Cardio Oncologist), Dr Ines Buccimazza (Specialist Surgeon – Breast and Endocrine) and Dr Ria David (Medical Oncologist).

The Objective of COSOSA is to create and heighten the awareness around Cardio-Oncology in Southern Africa. It delivers on this objective by

  • Creating awareness through training and education programmes aimed at Healthcare Professionals caring for patients with cancer to make sure that such patients not only receive optimal care for their cancer but are timeously diagnosed and treated for cardiovascular complications arising either from cancer therapy or comorbidities that exist concurrently with the patient’s cancer.
  • Advising governmental and non-governmental organisations on cardio-oncology matters and policies.
  • Liaising with other organisations in the field on a global level.
  • Advancing the interests of its members.

COSOSA, an affiliate of the International Cardio-Oncology Society (ICOS), is the first Cardio-Oncology Society in Africa and will be hosting Africa’s first Cardio-Oncology Conference in Durban on 7 March 2020.  We anticipate approximately 150 delegates from cardiology, haematology, oncology, surgery, internal medicine and general practice to attend.  The conference will also be open to allied health care professionals with an interest in the effects of cancer treatment on the heart. The meeting will provide excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, interaction and networking. 

The organising committee has secured Professor Daniel Lenihan as a keynote speaker for the conference. Professor Lenihan is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cardio-Oncology Center of Excellence, in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, at the Washington University in St. Louis, USA.  He is also the president of ICOS. Professor Sebastian Szmit, ICOS Poland President and Cardio-Oncology Consultant, Centre of Postgraduate Medical Education, European Health Centre, Otwock, Poland, is also confirmed as faculty. The conference will also host excellent South African faculty. 

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) published the first issue of JACC: CardioOncology in September 2019, with Prof Bonnie Ky (University of Pennsylvania) as Editor-in-chief. This is an open-access journal publishing articles on multidisciplinary care of cancer patients and survivors at risk for cardiovascular disease.  

Register online to attend the inaugural COSOSA Conference on 7 March 2020 in Durban. The Conference programme and International Faculty Biographies can be viewed on the Registration and Conference Pages. 

More information on further COSOSA educational initiatives will be shared in the near future. 

For more information on COSOSA or to get involved in the activities and leadership, please contact Wihan Scholtz at the Society Office E: info@cososa.org or T: +27 84 569 8244. 

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