Collaborating to Conquer Cancer

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Michael P. Link, MD

Serving as ASCO’s President was one of the most exciting years of my professional career. Although that year presented a number of challenges, it also marked a number of accomplishments, including a record number of new ASCO members, which then reached more than 30,000 in 122 countries (today, there are approximately 35,000 ASCO members). We celebrated the 40th anniversary of the National Cancer Act, and we can be proud of what has been achieved in cancer care since then, including a dramatic increase in the number of cancer survivors, nearly 14 million today, up from just 3 million in the 1970s. And not only are cancer survivors living longer, they are living better quality of lives.

The theme of my Presidential year was Collaborating to Conquer Cancer, which I took from the lessons we have learned from our experiences of pediatric oncology. My view is that the remarkable successes we have had in pediatric oncology, including a nearly 80% 5-year survival rate, would not have been possible without collaborations, and that our collective goal to conquer cancer depends more than ever on partnering within and across specialties. Developing curative regimens and other advances in pediatric oncology has demonstrated what can be accomplished through collaboration and through the understanding of multidisciplinary care. The lessons we learned in pediatric oncology can be applied in medical oncology as well.

I believe that pediatric oncology can serve as a model for the future, a future in which we achieve the goal of conquering cancer for all patients. ■

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