< Back < Back


ABS 2024 Conference, Bournemouth

Group picture from ABS 2024, BournemouthAssociation of Breast Surgery Conference Report – Dixa Thakrar (2021, DPhil Population Health)

The Association of Breast Surgery Conference is an annual conference aimed at breast surgeons, trainees and those interested in a career in breast surgery, to present their research and discuss developing and important topics. This year the conference was held on the 13 and 14 May 2024, in Bournemouth.

In order to become a breast surgeon in the UK, you need to undertake general surgery training and then sub-specialise in breast surgery. As a general surgery trainee, with an interest in breast surgery, I submitted an abstract based on part of my DPhil work in breast screening.  My abstract was selected to deliver a talk at the conference.

Thakrar Dixa delivering a talk

Thakrar Dixa

At the conference I presented the results of a prospective study on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and breast screening sensitivity, using data form 1 million women who have attended routine breast screening in the UK. HRT use increases the risk of breast cancer and reduces the sensitivity of breast screening. The results of my analysis supported this and indicated that the reduced sensitivity of breast screening remained even after 10 years of ceasing HRT use. The talk was well received and was followed by an engaging question and answer session. A renowned professor of surgery and oncology in London did try to have a debate with me during the question-and-answer session, on the evidence of whether HRT does increase breast cancer risk. I was quite taken aback by the rebuttal from him, but I did stand my ground and remained firm using what the evidence suggested. I received praise afterwards for not yielding to a professor, despite myself being very junior.

Rather ignorantly, I was not initially aware that my talk was shortlisted for the prize session and missed the session during which the winners were being announced! It was only when a former colleague messaged me to tell me that I had won the oral presentation session and to my prize, did I come to know of this. Evidently it was an honour to receive an award, amongst other well-presented research from trainees across the UK.

Association of Breast Surgery Conference, May 2024, BournemouthWhilst presenting and winning an award was indeed the highlight of the conference, there were several other topics of interest presented. One such topic was cosmetic tourism, particularly for breast augmentation. A private breast augmentation in England would set an individual back by £6000-7000. In Turkey, you may end up paying two-thirds of the price, so it comes as a no-brainer that patients may want to go abroad for their cosmetic treatments. The discussion that followed pertained to who then takes responsibility for complications once the patient has returned to England. Evidently, the NHS will fund emergency treatment, however, should the NHS pay for a new breast implant if it needs to be replaced in the event of a “botched” job? Other important topics included hereditary breast cancer and genetics, management of breast cancer after breast implants, and breast symmetrisation at primary surgery for breast cancer.

It was overall an enjoyable, engaging and even an entertaining conference, and provided me the opportunity to meet former and future colleagues in breast surgery.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports.

Published: 21 June 2024

Explore Univ on social media
University College Oxford

Contact Univ

If you have any questions or need more information, just ask: