“As health-care providers it is our obligation to talk about costs with our patients.”
—Nancy E. Davidson, MD
My Presidential theme was One Community. I think that theme continues to express much of our goal in oncology, which is to make sure that all members of the cancer care team work together—oncologists, nurses, scientists, nutritionists, psychologists, social workers, administrators, and others.
I also had the privilege to be the first President to work an entire term with our CEO, Dr. Allen Lichter. Allen and I talked a lot about the likelihood that cost was going to be ever more important in the overall discussion of how we deliver health care in this country. Some ASCO members felt that doctors and patients shouldn’t talk about money; they should only focus on care.
However, we decided that it was unrealistic to avoid that conversation. So we launched the Cost of Care Task Force, and its first challenge was to tackle something I brought up, which was that cost is a side effect, just like losing your hair or having low blood cell counts, and as health-care providers it is our obligation to talk about costs with our patients. I’m proud of the role that ASCO is continuing to play in advocating ways to provide the highest quality of oncology care in the most cost-effective manner. ■
The last 50 years have been marked by significant advances in cancer research and in more effective therapy for patients. Once viewed as a largely untreatable, fatal disease, today a number of cancers are being converted into chronic diseases that can be managed for long periods of time. The result ...