Quality Cancer Care

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Margaret A. Tempero, MD

“Our job is to give back the best we have: The highest quality care and the latest innovations.”

—Margaret A. Tempero, MD

Ten years ago, at ASCO’s Annual Meeting, we were celebrating 40 Years of Quality Cancer Care. We have certainly seen many improvements in cancer care quality since then, especially in more effective agents and patient-centeredness care. When I joined ASCO in 1984, I never imagined that I would be President of what is now the leading organization of clinical oncologists in the world. Certainly we have to credit the vision of the Founders and the subsequent hard work of thousands of ASCO volunteers for our success.

In 2004, we were celebrating the clinical research and innovation that enabled three new targeted therapeutics, cetuximab (Erbitux), gefitinib (Iressa), and bevicizumab (Avastin), to receive FDA approval, strengthening hope of safer and more effective cancer treatments for our patients. So far this year, a number of agents have been approved by FDA in the treatment of cancer. Last year, there were 13 new chemotherapeutics approved, so we are witnessing rapid advancements in more targeted cancer therapy for our patients. (See sidebar at right.)

When I gave my Presidential address a decade ago, I quoted the words Arnoldus Goudsmit used to describe the true center of ASCO’s mission, the “improved diagnosis, treatment, well being, and longevity” of patients with cancer. Fifty years later, that sentiment remains the cornerstone of ASCO’s mission.

Our patients are our precious gift. They teach us and inspire us every day. They advance our knowledge by participating in clinical trials, often knowing that their most important benefit is a societal one, the gift of information.

Our job is to give back the best we have: The highest quality care and the latest innovations. This way, we can truly help our patients walk in hope—not in fear—and as long as we remain true to our purpose, we will not fail. ■

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