In the News

Skin Cancer

Educating Young People on Sun-Safe Behaviors and Reducing the Risk of Melanoma

Charlotte Bath  / July 25, 2017

“If minors don’t tan, then they may never become adult tanners,” Jeffrey E. Gershenwald, MD, said in explaining the emphasis on teaching sun safety behaviors to young children as part of the Melanoma Moon Shot Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. Dr. Gershenwald is ...

Prostate Cancer

USPSTF Emphasizes Importance of Informed Discussions About PSA Screening for Men Aged 55 to 69 Years

Charlotte Bath  / June 25, 2017

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS For a man aged 55 to 69 years, the decision to be screened for prostate cancer should be an individual one, based on the man’s own values and priorities and discussions with a clinician about the potential benefits and harms of screening, the U.S. Preve...

Prostate Cancer

Expect Questions About Shift in Prostate Cancer Screening Recommendation

Charlotte Bath  / June 25, 2017

A draft recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advises that for men aged 55 to 69, the decision to be screened for prostate cancer should be an individual one, based on the man’s own values and priorities and discussions with a clinician about the potential benefits and...

Genomics/Genetics

Recognizing Major Role of Random Mutations in Causing Cancer Does Not Diminish Importance of Primary Prevention

Charlotte Bath  / May 25, 2017

Random mistakes made during DNA replication are responsible for about two-thirds of the mutations that cause human cancers, according to a study reported in Science.1 Recognizing the role of these replication errors “does not diminish the importance of primary prevention but emphasizes that not all ...

Skin Cancer

Some Melanoma Survivors Continue to Seek Sun Exposure, Risking Second, Potentially More Serious Melanoma

Charlotte Bath  / April 25, 2017

The more serious they perceived melanoma to be, the more likely they were to take it seriously and to make sure their behaviors aligned with that seriousness. — Rachel Isaksson Vogel, PhD Long-term survivors of melanoma are more likely than those who have not been diagnos...

Skin Cancer

Expect Questions About Continued Risk of Melanoma

Charlotte Bath  / April 25, 2017

Survivors of melanoma are more likely to limit their exposure to ultraviolet radiation than those who have not had the disease, but more than 10% continue to intentionally tan, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.1 The study surveyed 724 people diagnosed ...

Gastrointestinal Cancer
Colorectal Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Increased Recognition of Colorectal Cancer in Young Adults, Even Those Aged 20 to 29, as Evidence Continues to Accumulate

Charlotte Bath  / April 10, 2017

The incidence of colorectal cancer continues to increase among young adults, with the sharpest increase among those aged 20 to 29, according to a recent article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.1 This trend has been called disturbing and ominous, but the widely reported results of thi...

Colorectal Cancer

Expect Questions About Colorectal Cancer Among Younger Adults

Charlotte Bath  / April 10, 2017

It is both the patient’s and the physician’s responsibility to be on high alert to the symptoms. — Mohamed E. Salem, MD Publicity surrounding a recent study showing a sharp increase in colorectal cancer among young people, even those in their 20s,1 may result in increased patient visits an...

Gynecologic Cancers

Cervical Cancer Mortality Is Higher and Racial Disparity Wider Than Previously Reported

Charlotte Bath  / March 10, 2017

Cervical cancer is still an incredibly devastating cancer, especially when it is late-stage disease. It is important that women still recognize the need to be screened, the fact that you can catch it early, and the importance of being referred to a gynecologic oncologist at the tim...

Gynecologic Cancers

Expect Questions About the Cervical Cancer Mortality Study

Charlotte Bath  / March 10, 2017

A widely reported study found that cervical cancer mortality was higher and the racial disparity between black and white women greater than previously reported.1 The study omitted from the mortality estimates those women who had undergone hysterectomies, usually involving removal of the cervix. Wit...

Issues in Oncology

Continued Reduction in Cancer Mortality Requires Increasing Healthy Behaviors and Removing Inequities in Care

Charlotte Bath  / February 25, 2017

Screening and early detection activities, while important, have been overemphasized at the expense of tobacco cessation, healthy eating, and active living. — Otis W. Brawley, MD, FACP Many news reports about the latest cancer statistics released by the American Cancer Soc...

Expect Questions About Screening and Potential Overdiagnosis

The ASCO Post  / February 25, 2017

Science, genomics, is going to move us toward being able to identify the cancer that needs treatment vs the cancer that doesn’t need treatment, in the very near future. — Otis W. Brawley, MD, FACP “The big thing that is going to become more and more of an issue, and that you are going to h...

Issues in Oncology
Breast Cancer
Geriatric Oncology

Study Suggests No Evidence for Screening Mammography Cutoff Age

Charlotte Bath  / December 25, 2016

Women’s life expectancy is pushing into the 80s, and some people live until they are 100. So there is good reason for new studies to look at older people. — Cindy S. Lee, MD An analysis of data from nearly 6 million screening mammograms found no evidence for a clear cutof...

Breast Cancer
Geriatric Oncology

Expect Questions About Screening Mammography for Women Aged 75 Years and Older

The ASCO Post  / December 25, 2016

In the discussion between patient and doctor, the focus here is patient-centered care. It shouldn’t be about this ‘magic number’ of 75, after which you are no longer allowed to participate in screening. — Cindy S. Lee, MD A study finding that there is no clear cutoff age to stop breast can...

Supportive Care

Cardiac Complications in Patients Receiving Combination Checkpoint Inhibitors Are Rare but Can Be Fatal

Charlotte Bath  / December 10, 2016

Cardio-oncology has evolved in the past decade because of the explosion of cancer treatments and related cardiovascular toxicity. However, the intersection between cancer and cardiovascular disease extends beyond toxicology. — Javid J. Moslehi, MD Cardiovascular toxicitie...

Expect Questions About Cardiovascular Risk Factors Among Cancer Survivors

Charlotte Bath  / December 10, 2016

Reports of rare, but in some cases fatal, cardiac complications when the checkpoint inhibitors ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo) are used in combination should be taken seriously but should not scare patients away from potentially life-saving drugs, according to Javid J. Moslehi, MD. Dr. Mo...

Breast Cancer

Helping Patients With Breast Cancer Decide Whether to Have Reconstruction

Charlotte Bath  / November 25, 2016

A “nascent movement to ‘go flat’” is how an article in The New York Times characterized the decisions by some women to opt out of reconstruction following surgery for breast cancer.1 The article examined the reasons several patients made that decision, which included avoiding multiple surgeries and ...

Breast Cancer

Expect and Encourage Questions About Breast Reconstruction

Charlotte Bath  / November 25, 2016

An article in The New York Times about women who had chosen not to have reconstruction following breast cancer surgery might prompt questions from newly diagnosed patients considering their options.1 Deanna J. Attai, MD, FACS, told The ASCO Post that whenever an article on breast cancer appears in a...

Supportive Care
Pain Management
Issues in Oncology
Symptom Management

Medical Marijuana: The Topic You Can’t Escape

Charlotte Bath  / November 10, 2016

What patients tell me anecdotally is that they will take two or three puffs, they will feel the effect immediately, and then they will stop. They will feel less anxiety, more relaxed, and in some cases experience pain relief or improved appetite. — Judith A. Paice, PhD, RN ...

When Marijuana Was Legal in the United States

Charlotte Bath  / November 10, 2016

Marijuana, or cannabis, used to be legal in the United States and was “actually listed in the U.S. formulary in 1854,” according to Judith A. Paice, PhD, RN, Director, Cancer Pain Program, Division of Hematology-Oncology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago. “Many of tho...

Pain Management
Symptom Management
Supportive Care
Issues in Oncology

Expect Questions About Medical Marijuana

Charlotte Bath  / November 10, 2016

“Whether or not individual professionals support the clinical use of herbal cannabis, all clinicians will encounter patients who elect to use it and therefore need to be prepared to advise them on cannabis-related clinical issues despite limited evidence to guide care,” according to a recently publi...

Gynecologic Cancers
Issues in Oncology

The FDA Urges Physicians and Patients to Forgo Ovarian Cancer Screening Tests

Charlotte Bath  / October 10, 2016

I strongly agree with the [FDA]. There are no effective ovarian cancer screening tests at this time, though an effective test is clearly needed. — Sanaz Memarzadeh, MD, PhD In a Safety Communication directed at women and physicians, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (...

Gynecologic Cancers

Expect Questions About the FDA Discouraging Use of Ovarian Cancer Screening Tests

Charlotte Bath  / October 10, 2016

It is a very appropriate question for patients to ask about screening, but it is the job of the physician to communicate with them that there are not any good screening tests for ovarian cancer. — Sanaz Memarzadeh, MD, PhD The release of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety Com...

Issues in Oncology
Lymphoma
Solid Tumors

Media Reports of Dramatic Responses to Immunotherapy After All Else Fails May Prompt Patients to Seek It Out

Charlotte Bath  / September 10, 2016

We have combinations with these agents in the front-line, second-line, and third-line settings, with chemotherapy, with other immunotherapies, and with small molecules. The field is really exploding. — Anas Younes, MD Immunotherapy has received “a lot of attention, mainly...

Immunotherapy Is Not a Replacement Therapy

The ASCO Post  / September 10, 2016

When patients who are likely to be cured with chemotherapy request immunotherapy, it is part of the educational responsibility of physicians to advise these patients that immunotherapy is not the most suitable treatment for them. — Anas Younes, MD Some patients who ask about immunotherapy ...

Colorectal Cancer

Multiple Means to Realize the Benefits of Colorectal Cancer Screening

Charlotte Bath  / August 10, 2016

In an updated recommendation statement, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) continues to strongly recommend screening for colorectal cancer for asymptomatic adults aged 50 through 75; but rather than emphasize specific screening strategies, it notes there are multiple screening strategi...

Breast Cancer

Surgery and Radiation Therapy Remain Standard of Care for Managing Ductal Carcinoma in Situ

Charlotte Bath  / June 25, 2016

A review of more than 50 studies (many randomized controlled trials) concluded that surgery and radiation therapy “remain standard-of-care treatment options” in the management of ductal carcinoma in situ.1 The review continues the widely reported discussion on managing ductal carcinoma in situ, prom...

Use Questions From Patients to Help Them Make Informed Treatment Decisions

Charlotte Bath  / June 25, 2016

Recent reports about treatment options for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ, and the ensuing debate and comments played out in the media, may prompt increased questions from patients. A review summarizing data about these treatment options concluded that surgery and radiation therapy “remain t...

Breast Cancer

Quality-of-Life Benefits of Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy May Be Too Small to Be Clinically Meaningful

Charlotte Bath  / April 25, 2016

Women diagnosed with breast cancer who chose contralateral prophylactic mastectomy reported improvement in psychosocial well-being and breast satisfaction, but “the magnitude of the effect may be too small to be clinically meaningful,” according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1 “What...

Expect Questions About Potential Trade-Offs of Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy

Charlotte Bath  / April 25, 2016

Women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and had contralateral prophylactic mastectomy had only marginal improvement in psychosocial well-being, such as feeling confident and emotionally healthy, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1 Those who also had breast recons...

Breast Cancer

The Perplexing Increase in Bilateral Mastectomies

Charlotte Bath  / March 25, 2016

The increased rate of bilateral mastectomies, as shown in recently released data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is “perplexing,” Ismail Jatoi, MD, PhD, told The ASCO Post. “We are seeing more and more women with unilateral breast cancer opt for bilateral mastectomy, when...

Health-Care Policy

ASCO Issues Report on State of Cancer Care in America: 2016

The ASCO Post  / March 25, 2016

The State of Cancer Care in America: 2016, published online in the Journal of Oncology Practice1 and presented earlier this month at a Congressional briefing in Washington, DC, is ASCO’s third annual assessment of national trends in cancer care delivery. The report highlights many promising cancer c...

Gastrointestinal Cancer

‘Red-Flag’ Symptoms That Could Signal Colorectal Cancer in Patients Under 50 Years Old Should Be Taken Seriously

Charlotte Bath  / March 10, 2016

In clinical practice, Samantha Hendren, MD, MPH, has been “shocked by what a large proportion of patients we are seeing who are under 50 and presenting with colorectal cancer,” often with advanced disease due to delayed diagnosis. “And that is because patients and physicians don’t even think of colo...

Issues in Oncology

Failure of Updated Dietary Guidelines to Advise Limiting Red and Processed Meat Deemed a ‘Missed Opportunity’

Charlotte Bath  / February 25, 2016

“A missed opportunity” is how Susan Higginbotham, PhD, RD, Vice President for Research, American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), described the “failure” of updated dietary guidelines to recommend limiting consumption of red and processed meat. Doing so would have “the potential to save thousan...

Gynecologic Cancers
Issues in Oncology

Could a Screening Test That Would Reduce Deaths From Ovarian Cancer Be on the Way?

Charlotte Bath  / January 25, 2016

"A solid triple but not a home run” is how Karen H. Lu, MD, characterized a study in The Lancet reporting a reduction in deaths from ovarian cancer with the use of multimodal ovarian cancer screening.1 Dr. Lu’s remark was one of several, mostly but not universally, favorable and optimistic comments ...

Solid Tumors
Prostate Cancer

Decline in PSA Testing and Incidence of Early Prostate Cancer Coincide With 2012 Recommendation Against PSA Screening

Charlotte Bath  / December 25, 2015

Two recent studies1,2 found that the rates of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening have declined since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against PSA screening in 2012. One of those studies additionally found that the incidence of early-stage prostate cancer also coinc...

Breast Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Updated ACS Breast Cancer Screening Guideline Recognizes Greater Role for Individual’s Values and Preferences

Charlotte Bath  / November 25, 2015

The reactions to the updated breast cancer screening guideline from the American Cancer Society (ACS) have been many, varied, and not consistently favorable but not surprising to Kevin C. Oeffinger, MD, who chaired the ACS panel that issued the guideline. Breast cancer screening “is an area that peo...

Colorectal Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Important Caveats to Consider Concerning Low-Dose Daily Aspirin for the Primary Prevention of Colorectal Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / October 25, 2015

The use of low-dose aspirin by most adults aged 50 to 59 for the primary prevention of colorectal cancer is now included in the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated draft recommendation statement, “Aspirin to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer.”1 The release of the statement i...

MMRF Announces Enrollment Completion of CoMMpass Study

The ASCO Post  / October 10, 2015

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) announced that the MMRF CoMMpass StudySM, the most comprehensive long-term genomic study ever conducted in myeloma, has reached full enrollment, with 1,000 patients now participating. The global study is mapping the genomic profile of each enrolled pat...

Breast Cancer

Varied Reactions to Study Finding That Preventing Ipsilateral Recurrence Did Not Prevent Death From Breast Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / October 10, 2015

Women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ have a low risk of dying of breast cancer, according to an observational study looking at data from 108,196 women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ between 1988 and 2011.1 The breast cancer–specific mortality rate for these women was 1.1% at 10 yea...

Breast Cancer
Pain Management

Increased Interest in Simple Injection to Treat Women With Postmastectomy Pain

Charlotte Bath  / September 10, 2015

After presenting results of a study showing that injecting a standard analgesic combination into trigger points of pain along the inframammary fold relieved postmastectomy pain, Laura J. Esserman, MD, MBA, Director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center and Co-Leader of the Breast Oncology Progr...

Skin Cancer

Public Urged Not to Overreact to Study Finding Link Between Citrus Fruits and Melanoma Risk

Charlotte Bath  / August 25, 2015

A study finding a link between citrus consumption and increased risk of melanoma1 may provide food for thought about the findings and implications as well as whet the appetite for more evidence, but according to several experts commenting on the study, it does not mean you should stop eating citrus ...

Skin Cancer

Capitalizing on Increased Interest in Skin Cancer During Summer to Reeducate People About Sunscreens and ‘Smart Sun Strategies’

Charlotte Bath  / July 25, 2015

Amid the encouraging studies reported at the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting about advances in the treatment of melanoma was a troubling finding about the incidence of melanoma increasing. An analysis of data from nine Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries found that the incidence o...

Issues in Oncology

Agreement on High-Value Screening for Five Common Cancers

Charlotte Bath  / July 10, 2015

Finding agreement on high-value cancer screening among organizations publishing screening guidelines, the American College of Physicians (ACP) issued advice listing the least-intensive screening strategies that all the organizations recommend—as well as strategies not recommended—for five common can...

Issues in Oncology
Hematologic Malignancies
Solid Tumors

Incidence of Fractures Is ‘Compellingly Higher’ After Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Charlotte Bath  / June 10, 2015

The incidence of fractures is “compellingly higher” after receiving hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, according to a retrospective study of patients receiving transplants for treatment of multiple myeloma, other hematologic malignancies, and some solid tumors (mostly breast and ovarian) as we...

Issues in Oncology

Just Engaging in ‘Some’ Leisure Time Physical Activity Reduces Overall and Cancer-Specific Mortality

Charlotte Bath  / May 25, 2015

There’s good news for those who recognize the benefits of exercise but feel they have neither the time nor energy for frequent workouts: A recent study reported in JAMA Internal Medicine1 has found that just performing “some” leisure time physical activity, even below the recommended minimum level, ...

Symptom Management

Scalp Cooling Caps Offer Option to Prevent Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

Charlotte Bath  / April 25, 2015

Hair loss remains one of the most dreaded side effects of chemotherapy, particularly for women. Scalp cooling caps worn by patients during chemotherapy infusion and for brief periods of time before and after offer these patients an option to preserve 50% or more of the hair on their heads. Although ...

Palliative Care

Recognizing Physical Signs Associated With Impending Death Can Assist Clinicians, Patients, and Caregivers With Complex Decisions

Charlotte Bath  / March 25, 2015

In a recently published study of patients with advanced cancer whose status was systematically documented twice a day, from the time of admission to a palliative care unit until death or discharge, investigators identified eight physical signs associated with death within 3 days. Taken together with...

Palliative Care

Caregivers May Want to Know About a Patient’s Impending Death but May Be Afraid to Ask

Charlotte Bath  / March 25, 2015

The likelihood of impending death of patients with advanced cancer “is one of those questions that many people want to know about, but they are too afraid to ask,” David Hui, MD, MSc, said in an interview with The ASCO Post. Dr. Hui is lead author of a study, published in Cancer, on clinical signs o...

Issues in Oncology

Measles Presents Greater Risks in Children Being Treated for Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / March 10, 2015

Measles outbreaks in the United States during 2014 and early 2015 have yielded an unprecedented number of cases nationwide, raising concerns about the threat measles poses to cancer patients (especially children) who may be at risk for severe complications and even death due to measles infection. “...

Breast Cancer

Atypical Hyperplasia as a Predictor of Future Breast Cancer: Focus on Chemoprevention and Screening

Charlotte Bath  / February 25, 2015

Atypical hyperplasia of the breast has “special importance as a predictor of future breast cancer,” according to a special report in The New England Journal of Medicine.1 That special importance is based on the high incidence of atypical hyperplasia—found in around 10% of the 1 million breast biopsi...

Expect Questions About Atypical Hyperplasia as an Important Risk Factor for Breast Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / February 25, 2015

A special report in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that atypical hyperplasia of the breast “confers an absolute risk of later breast cancer of 30% at 25 years of follow-up.1” This is higher than previously recognized, and the report’s authors urged “more intensive screening and preven...

Symptom Management

'Chemobrain’ Study Aims to Correlate Structural Changes Within the Brain and Psychomotor Function

Charlotte Bath  / February 10, 2015

The novelty of our approach is that we are going to be using multiple modalities” to study the effects of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy on the brain, looking for structural changes within the brain and how these changes might affect psychomotor function, particularly upper-extremity movements th...

Issues in Oncology

Physicians Need to Maintain Flexibility to Deviate From Treatment Guidelines Without Financial Penalties

Charlotte Bath  / January 25, 2015

With the provocative headline, “How Medical Care Is Being Corrupted,” an op-ed piece in The New York Times argued that “financial forces largely hidden from the public are beginning to corrupt care and undermine the bond of trust between doctors and patients.”1 The article warned that insurers, hosp...

Supportive Care
Lung Cancer
Symptom Management

Appetite-Enhancing Agent Helps Patients Treated for NSCLC Gain Weight and Lean Body Mass and Feel Better

Charlotte Bath  / December 15, 2014

People have an image of stage III or IV lung cancer patients getting chemotherapy or chemoradiation, and they look terrible; they are losing weight. The fact is, when they respond, they can gain weight,” according to Philip Bonomi, MD, MS. He is the lead author of a phase III study showing that the ...

Issues in Oncology
Thyroid Cancer

South Korean Study Sparks Warnings About the Hazards of Overscreening

Charlotte Bath  / December 1, 2014

An “epidemic of diagnosis” of thyroid cancer is occurring in South Korea and “absolutely could happen here,” according to H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Hanover, New Hampshire. Dr. Welch is coauthor of an article i...

Breast Cancer

Impressive Survival Data for Women With HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Increase First-Line Use of Pertuzumab/Trastuzumab

Charlotte Bath  / November 15, 2014

"Impressive,” “outstanding,” and “unprecedented” are among the terms used to describe the 56.5-month overall survival for women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer receiving first-line treatment with pertuzumab (Perjeta) in combination with trastuzumab (Herceptin) and docetaxel in the CLEOPA...

Prostate Cancer

Moderate Form of Male Pattern Baldness Associated With Increased Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / October 15, 2014

Men with moderate pattern baldness on the front and the crown of the head at age 45 had a 40% increased risk, compared to men with no baldness at that age, of developing prostate cancer later in life, according to a study led by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and published in t...

Breast Cancer

News of Mutations in PALB2 Gene Raising Risk of Breast Cancer Offers Opportunity to Explain Limits of Genetic Testing

Charlotte Bath  / September 15, 2014

The response among patients to news reports about mutations in a gene known as PALB2 raising the risk of breast cancer “has been predictable,” Theodora Ross, MD, PhD, wrote in The New York Times.1 As an example, Dr. Ross, Director of the Cancer Genetics Program at The University of Texas Southwester...

Breast Cancer

Survival Benefit of Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Less Than 1% at 20 Years, but Numbers of Procedures Have Increased

Charlotte Bath  / September 1, 2014

For women with stage I and II breast cancer without BRCA mutations, the absolute 20-year survival benefit from contralateral prophylactic mastectomy was less than 1%, regardless of age, estrogen receptor status, and cancer stage, according to a decision analysis study using a Markov model to simulat...

Expect Questions and Perhaps Unrealistic Expectations

Charlotte Bath  / September 1, 2014

A recent study reporting the absolute 20-year survival benefit from contralateral prophylactic mastectomy was less than 1% for women with stage I and II breast cancer without BRCA mutations runs counter to common perceptions about the risk of contralateral breast cancer among these women and the ben...

Prostate Cancer

‘Reasonable’ to Advise Men Who Have Had Vasectomies That They Have a Small Increased Risk for Lethal Prostate Cancers

Charlotte Bath  / August 15, 2014

Long-term results from the Health Professionals Follow-up Health Study have shown a 20% increased risk of advanced prostate cancer and a 19% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer among men who had vasectomies.1 According to the study’s lead author, Mohummad Minhaj Siddiqui, MD, it is “reasonable”...

Palliative Care

Discontinuing Statins Near the End of Life Is Safe, Can Reduce Symptom Burden, and Is Generally Acceptable to Patients

Charlotte Bath  / July 10, 2014

Discontinuing statins for patients near the end of life is safe, saves money, spares patients from swallowing yet another pill and from the symptoms associated with statins, and is generally welcomed by patients. That last bit might come as a surprise to some physicians who worry that discontinuing ...

Breast Cancer

New Option for Preserving Fertility in Women Being Treated With Chemotherapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / June 25, 2014

One of the most reported studies emanating from the 2014 ASCO Annual Meeting involves the use of the luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist goserelin (Zoladex) to reduce the risk of ovarian failure among women being treated with chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer, and to increa...

Cost of Care

Speaking Up Against High Cancer Drug Prices

Charlotte Bath  / June 10, 2014

Physicians have a duty to speak up against high cancer drug prices,” Hagop M. Kantarjian, MD, resolutely stated in an interview with The ASCO Post. “We should speak up because high drug prices are harming patients.” A leader in the effort to drive down the cost of drugs needed to treat patients with...

Issues in Oncology

Breaking Bad News Badly Can Add to Upset

Charlotte Bath  / May 15, 2014

When the prognosis is poor, breaking the bad news badly can exacerbate the distress experienced by cancer patients and their families. A lack of sensitivity to patient and family emotions and not being attuned to how individual patients would prefer to be informed about their prognoses can result in...

Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Study Showing Increased Survival for Younger Men Undergoing Prostatectomy Not Expected to Increase Surgeries

Charlotte Bath  / April 15, 2014

Extended follow-up in the Scandinavian Prostate Cancer Group Study Number 4 (SPCG4), reported recently in The New England Journal of Medicine,1 found that men with early-stage prostate cancer, particularly those under 65 years old, who were treated with radical prostatectomy had increased survival c...

Skin Cancer
Cost of Care

Dermatologists Defend Mohs Surgery as Effective and Cost-Efficient With Low Rate of Recurrence

Charlotte Bath  / March 15, 2014

The headline, “Patients’ Costs Skyrocket, Specialists’ Incomes Soar,” aptly encapsulates the theme of a recent article in The New York Times,1 part of a series entitled, “Paying Till It Hurts.” “Oncologists benefit from the ability to mark up (and profit from) each dose of chemotherapy they adminis...

Breast Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Confronting Uncertainty About the Harms and Benefits of Screening Mammography

Charlotte Bath  / February 15, 2014

“If women are to truly participate in the decision of whether or not to be screened [for breast cancer using mammography], they need some quantification of its benefits and harms,” asserted H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, and Honor J. Passow, PhD, Instructor, at The Dartmouth Insti...

Supportive Care

Cancer Patients Are at Increased Risk of Complications From the Flu and Should Receive Flu Shots, but Not the Nasal Spray

Charlotte Bath  / February 1, 2014

Widespread influenza activity continues to be reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with a recent increase in flu-related hospitalizations.1,2 Patients with cancer are at increased risk from flu complications and should receive the flu shot, but not the flu nasal spray va...

Gynecologic Cancers

Using Hyperthermia for Cancer Treatment: Proofs, Promises, and Uncertainties

Charlotte Bath  / January 15, 2014

With the headline, “Rare Cancer Treatments, Cleared by F.D.A. but Not Subject to Scrutiny,” a recent article in The New York Times reported that several medical centers were treating patients with cancer using a hyperthermia system that had received a Humanitarian Use Device approval from the U.S. F...

Cost of Care

Disclosing Medical Costs Can Help Avoid 'Financial Toxicity'

Charlotte Bath  / December 15, 2013

High costs of cancer treatments can be an “undisclosed toxicity” that can harm a patient’s overall health and well-being, according to an article in The New England Journal of Medicine.1 High medical bills can not only cause stress and anxiety but may also compel patients to cut back on spending for...

Gynecologic Cancers
Breast Cancer

'Reasonable but Not Required' for Women With BRCA Mutations to Have Hysterectomy Concurrent With Salpingo-Oophorectomy 

Charlotte Bath  / December 1, 2013

For women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations who choose to have salpingo-oophorectomy to reduce their risks of ovarian and breast cancer, also choosing to have a hysterectomy is “reasonable but not required,” noted Noah D. Kauff, MD, Director of the Ovarian Cancer Screening and Prevention Program and Ass...

Survivorship
Supportive Care

'Clear and Consistent Protective Effect of Marriage' Found in Patients With 10 Most Clinically Significant Cancers  

Charlotte Bath  / November 15, 2013

A clear and consistent protective effect of marriage among patients harboring one of the 10 most clinically significant malignancies affecting Americans” was found in a study analyzing Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEE) data for 734,889 patients diagnosed with lung, colorectal, breast...

Breast Cancer

Better Risk Communication Strategies Needed to Ensure Decision to Have Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Is Evidence-Based 

Charlotte Bath  / November 1, 2013

Overestimating the risk that cancer in one breast will affect the other breast may cause many young women with breast cancer to choose contralateral prophylactic mastectomy even though most know it does not clearly improve survival. In a survey of 123 women who were diagnosed with cancer in one brea...

Issues in Oncology

What You Need to Know About E-Cigarettes 

Charlotte Bath  / October 15, 2013

“I’ve seen a lot of puzzled people,” Alexander V. Prokhorov, MD, PhD, said, referring to people who see others using electronic or e-cigarettes. That puzzlement can go beyond wondering why people are smoking in public places and whether they are breaking the law, or just being annoying, to questions...

Issues in Oncology

Tackling Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment, by Words and by Deeds  

Charlotte Bath  / September 15, 2013

The complexity of the pathologic condition called cancer,” according to a Viewpoint article in the Journal of the American Medical Association,1 “complicates the goal of early diagnosis.” Failure to recognize that cancers are heterogeneous, and that not all progress to metastases and death, can lead...

Prostate Cancer

Active Surveillance of Very Low-Risk Prostate Cancer Might Not Be Suitable Option for African American Men 

Charlotte Bath  / September 1, 2013

African American men with prostate cancer that meets current criteria for very low-risk disease might actually be harboring larger and more aggressive tumors that make active surveillance a less viable option, according to the results of a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology1 ...

Skin Cancer

'Alarming Difference' in Survival Outcomes for Young White Men with Melanoma 

Charlotte Bath  / August 15, 2013

An “alarming difference” in survival outcomes between young, non-Hispanic white males and females with primary invasive melanoma “highlights the urgent need for both behavioral interventions to promote early detection strategies in young men and further investigation of the biological basis for the ...

Skin Cancer

'Spectacular' Results with Immunotherapies in Melanoma Galvanize the Oncology Community 

Charlotte Bath  / July 10, 2013  / 30495

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. Much of the news about immunotherapy...

Breast Cancer

Angelina Jolie's Disclosure of Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy: A Positive Example for Women with BRCA Mutations? 

Charlotte Bath  / June 25, 2013

Angelina Jolie, in a New York Times article entitled “My Medical Choice,”1 disclosed that having a BRCA1 mutation and an estimated 87% risk of breast cancer, “I decided to be proactive and minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy.” She was writing a...

Breast Cancer

Women at Increased Risk for Breast Cancer Should Be Offered Medications to Reduce Risk, Draft Recommendations Advise 

Charlotte Bath  / June 10, 2013

Clinicians should engage in shared decision-making with women who are at increased risk of breast cancer about using medications, such as tamoxifen and raloxifene (Evista), to reduce risk, and should offer prescriptions to women considered at low risk for adverse effects from these medications, advi...

Gynecologic Cancers

Most Women with Ovarian Cancer Do Not Get Guideline-specified Treatment Linked to Survival Benefits 

Charlotte Bath  / May 15, 2013

Most women with ovarian cancer are not receiving adequate treatment, as specified in National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines,1 and as a result are being deprived of the survival benefits correlated with guideline-recommended treatment, according to a study presented at the Society of...

Increase in Advanced Breast Cancer among Younger Women Is Small but Significant, and Trend Is Likely to Continue 

Charlotte Bath  / May 1, 2013

The incidence of advanced breast cancer among women aged 25 to 39 years increased by an average of 2.07% per year from 1976 to 2009 and the trend seems likely to continue, according to an analysis of data for 936,497 women diagnosed with malignant breast cancer. The small but statistically significa...

Prostate Cancer

Recently Reported Long-term Outcomes Could Motivate More Men with Prostate Cancer to Consider Active Surveillance 

Charlotte Bath  / April 15, 2013

Fifteen years after being treated with radical prostatectomy or external-beam radiation for localized prostate cancer, “the prevalence of erectile dysfunction was nearly universal,” among men enrolled in a long-term functional outcomes analysis of the Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study (PCOS). There wer...

Head and Neck Cancer
Lung Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Patients with Cancer Need to Know That It Is Never Too Late to Quit Smoking 

Charlotte Bath  / March 15, 2013

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. Patients with head and neck or lung ...

Issues in Oncology

Keeping Diabetes under Control Is Critical to Good Outcomes for Patients Who Also Have Cancer 

Charlotte Bath  / February 15, 2013

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. Cancer and diabetes can be comorbid ...

Breast Cancer

'Practice-changing' ATLAS Study Supports 10 vs 5 Years of Tamoxifen Therapy in Women with Breast Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / February 1, 2013

"Practice-changing" is the term several physicians and researchers used when asked by the media to describe the results of a study showing that extending tamoxifen therapy from 5 to 10 years for women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer further reduced recurrence and mortality. Result...

Colorectal Cancer

Patients Treated for Colon Cancer Can Reduce Risk of Recurrence with Balanced Diet and Lower Carbohydrate Intake 

Charlotte Bath  / January 15, 2013

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. Patients who have received standard ...

MSKCC’s Decision Not to Purchase New Cancer Drug Sparks Editorial and Unprecedented Actions

Charlotte Bath  / December 15, 2012

“At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, we recently made a decision that should have been a no-brainer: we are not going to give a phenomenally expensive new cancer drug to our patients.” That was the opening sentence of a New York Times op-ed piece written by three physicians from Memorial Sloa...

Strong Association Increasingly Recognized Between Obesity and Cancer Incidence/Poor Prognosis

Charlotte Bath  / November 15, 2012

The rise in obesity in the United States coincides with greater recognition of the role of obesity in cancer and other diseases.1 While decades of research have indicated a strong association between obesity and cancer, “several forces have made that association increasingly recognized,” according t...

Health-Care Policy

American Association for Cancer Research Mourns the Loss of Senator Arlen Specter

The ASCO Post  / November 1, 2012

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) mourns the loss of Arlen Specter, who represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 2011. With his passing, the cancer research and biomedical science community lost one of its greatest supporters and promoters. During his five terms an...

Supportive Care
Pain Management

Pain Remains Prevalent among Oncology Outpatients, with Odds of Undertreatment Twice as High among Minority Patients

Charlotte Bath  / November 1, 2012

In 1994, a landmark study of pain among oncology outpatients prompted a host of pain management initiatives.1 More than 18 years later, a recent study among more than 2,000 cancer outpatients has found that “one-third of the patients who had pain or used analgesics received inadequate treatment for ...

Prostate Cancer

Link Found between Aspirin and Reduced Risk of Death Due to Prostate Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / October 15, 2012

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. Over the past few weeks, Stanley L. ...

Leukemia

CT Scans in Childhood Can Triple Risk of Leukemia and Brain Cancer Later in Life, Study Finds

Charlotte Bath  / September 15, 2012

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. Computed tomography scans with cumul...

Genomics vs Site of Cancer Origin as Basis for Treatment of Cancer Is ‘False Dichotomy’

Charlotte Bath  / August 15, 2012

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. Despite recent news reports suggesti...

Skin Cancer

MEK Inhibitor Reduces Progression of BRAF-mutated Melanoma and Might also Benefit Others

Charlotte Bath  / July 15, 2012

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. The MEK inhibitor trametinib improve...

Prostate Cancer
Issues in Oncology

New PSA Recommendations: The Debate over Prostate Cancer Screening Continues

Ronald Piana  / July 1, 2012

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently issued a recommendation statement advising against the use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based testing for prostate cancer,1 leaving many in the oncology community concerned that decades of clinical progress will be stalled, and setting ...

Breast Cancer

Too Soon to Know How Circulating Tumor Cells Might Be Used to Guide Treatment of Breast Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / July 1, 2012

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. “A simple blood test.” These were th...

Breast Cancer

Will Study Showing Increased Complications Compared to Whole-breast Irradiation Put the Brakes on Brachytherapy?

Charlotte Bath  / June 15, 2012

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. Older women treated for invasive bre...

Gynecologic Cancers
Issues in Oncology

New Guidelines Recommend Less Frequent Screening for Cervical Cancer, but That Doesn’t Mean Screening Is Less Important

Charlotte Bath  / May 1, 2012

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. In March 2012, the U.S. Preventive S...

Issues in Oncology

Options for Preserving Fertility Should Be Considered Early to Maximize the Likelihood of Success

Charlotte Bath  / April 15, 2012

Most cancer survivors prefer to have biologic offspring despite concerns about the possible effects of cancer treatment on the child, the child’s lifetime cancer risk, or their own longevity, according to an ASCO panel that developed guidelines on fertility preservation in patients with cancer.1 Whi...

Breast Cancer

Reexcision Rates Following Breast-conservation Surgery Vary Widely

Charlotte Bath  / March 1, 2012

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. Reexcision rates for women with inva...

Supportive Care

Outpatients Need to Be Aware of High Risk of Developing Venous Thromboembolism

Charlotte Bath  / January 15, 2012

Most patients who develop venous thromboembolisms (VTE) while being treated for cancer, do so as outpatients, according to results of a retrospective, observational study comparing the incidence of VTE among inpatients and outpatients with cancer. Yet many outpatients do not even realize that they a...

Breast Cancer

Benefits of Radiation after Breast-conserving Surgery Cut Risk of Recurrence in Half

Charlotte Bath  / January 1, 2012

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. “After breast-conserving surgery, ra...

Issues in Oncology
Solid Tumors
Hematologic Malignancies

Solid Organ Transplant Recipients Have Increased Risk for Broad Range of Malignancies

Charlotte Bath  / December 15, 2011

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. The Transplant Cancer Match Study, a...

Breast Cancer

Challenging Perceptions about Treatment Options for Younger Women with Early-stage Breast Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / November 15, 2011

In the News focuses on media reports that your patients may have questions about at their next visit. This continuing column will provide summaries of articles in the popular press that may prompt such questions, as well as comments from colleagues in the field. “There is a perception out there tha...

Prostate Cancer

Physicians Can Help Patients Set Realistic Expectations for Sexual Functioning after Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Charlotte Bath  / November 1, 2011

Models that can be personalized to predict erectile function of individual patients following treatment for early-stage prostate cancer have been developed and validated in a study involving a total of 2,940 men, and are ready for use in clinical practice, according to Martin G. Sanda, MD, the study...

Colorectal Cancer

‘Hot Chemotherapy’ Generates Heated Debate about Its Use with Cytoreductive Surgery to Manage Peritoneal Metastases

Charlotte Bath  / October 15, 2011

"Hot chemotherapy” has become the common term for hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which together with cytoreductive surgery is being used by some surgeons to treat patients with carcinomatosis from colorectal cancer. While HIPEC is not considered the most important component of th...

Breast Cancer

Many Women Treated for High-risk Breast Cancer Do Not Receive Recommended Postmastectomy Radiation Therapy

Charlotte Bath  / September 15, 2011

Despite major studies showing that postmastectomy radiation therapy improves survival for women with high-risk breast cancer and evidence-based guidelines supporting the use of postmastectomy radiotherapy, 45% of these patients do not receive such treatment, according to an analysis of data from mor...

Prostate Cancer

Optimizing Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer Requires Shifting Focus from Individual Drugs to Integrated Therapies

Charlotte Bath  / August 15, 2011

Newer drugs, including sipuleucel-T (Provenge), cabazitaxel (Jevtana), and abiraterone (Zytiga), can extend survival modestly and ease symptoms for men with advanced prostate cancer. Maximizing the benefit to patients will require shifting the focus from developing individual drugs to developing int...

Gynecologic Cancers

Cervical Cancer Screening Study Should Reassure Physicians and Patients that a 3-Year Screening Interval Is Safe and Effective

Charlotte Bath  / July 15, 2011

Results of a large-scale cervical cancer screening study using concurrent human papillomavirus (HPV) and Pap testing should “reassure” women over 30 who test negative for HPV and have normal Pap tests that “it is extremely safe to go 3 years” before being tested again, Barnett S. Kramer, MD, MPH, sa...

Gynecologic Cancers

Hormone Replacement and Ovarian Cancer: Competing Risks in Decisions about Bilateral Salpingo-oophorectomy

Charlotte Bath  / June 15, 2011

Recently reported findings that bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and hysterectomy decreased the risk of ovarian cancer compared to ovarian conservation and hysterectomy, without increasing cardiovascular, fracture, and other cancer risks, should “challenge” current thinking about bilateral salpingo-o...

SIDEBAR: Expect Questions from Your Patients and Colleagues

Charlotte Bath  / June 15, 2011

Patients of the Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia often ask about ovarian cancer risk, the center’s Director, Robert A. Burger, MD, told The ASCO Post. Moreover, the recent study showing that bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy reduced that risk generated discussion among ...

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