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Forging a New Role to Make Curing More Cancers a Reality

For more than 3 decades, Nancy E. Davidson, MD, has dedicated her clinical and research career to better understanding the molecular mechanisms driving the development of breast cancer and to the discovery of more effective therapies to treat the disease. The recipient of an ASCO Young...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

ASCO’s State of Cancer Care in America: 2017 Report Acknowledges Both the Progress Made in Oncology Care and the Challenges Ahead

Despite advances in cancer risk assessment, prevention, disease detection, drug development, and health-care delivery, which have led to unparalleled reductions in cancer incidence and mortality, access to affordable health care and increased administrative burdens placed on oncology practices...

solid tumors

High-Throughput Genomics May Improve Outcomes in Difficult-to-Treat Cancers

A study investigating the hypothesis that testing a large number of genes across all cancer tumor types could improve outcomes for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers by using targeted therapies has found that progression-free survival was significantly higher in the those treated with...

supportive care
palliative care

Examining the Impact of ‘Death With Dignity’ Legislation

Despite the controversy surrounding “Death With Dignity” laws, which allow physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients, they have a long history of majority support from Americans. According to a Gallup poll taken in 2015, nearly 7 in 10 Americans (68%) agreed that...

solid tumors

Coping With an Uncommon Cancer

In April 2014, I was so sick with uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea and severe abdominal and chest pain that I had to be hospitalized for 5 days. As I was in my late 20s and in otherwise good health, there was no easy explanation for my symptoms. After I was released from the hospital, my...

health-care policy

ASCO Releases Its State of Cancer Care in America: 2017 Report

In a press briefing today on Capitol Hill, ASCO presented its fourth annual State of Cancer Care in America: 2017 report, which found that although the cancer care delivery system in the United States is undergoing profound changes to better meet the needs of cancer survivors, persistent hurdles...

prostate cancer

Preclinical Study Finds SPOP Mutation Drives Prostate Cancer Subtype

A genetically engineered mouse model developed by Blattner et al investigating the role of the gene Speckle Type BTB/POZ Protein, or SPOP, as a driver of prostate cancer has found that the mutation drives prostate neoplasia through coordinate deregulation of both P13K/mTOR and androgen receptor...

breast cancer

Cancer Has Aged Me

The news that I had breast cancer came at an especially difficult time in my life and was quite shocking to hear. My father had died of lung cancer just 1 month before my diagnosis, and I was still grieving his death when I suddenly had to confront my own mortality. In retrospect, the diagnosis...

survivorship

Building a Multidisciplinary Model of Care for Cancer Survivors

Last year’s inaugural Cancer Survivorship Symposium stressed the importance of bringing together the fields of medical oncology and primary care to ensure a coordinated effort to help patients with cancer transition to long-term survivorship care. Building on that goal, the 2017 Cancer Survivorship ...

survivorship

How Stupid Cancer Is Building a Support Community for AYA Survivors

In 1995, Matthew Zachary, an aspiring concert pianist and composer, was en route to graduate school to study film composition when he lost all fine-motor coordination in his left hand, was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer (medulloblastoma), told he would never play again, and was given 6...

issues in oncology

Barriers to Clinical Trial Accrual Include Trial Sponsorship and Time to Enrolling First Patient, Study Finds

A study by researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center investigating factors associated with slow participant accrual into phase I to III cancer clinical trials at their institution has found trials initiated through national cooperative groups and the time taken from trial...

colorectal cancer

Study Finds Sharp Rise in Colon and Rectal Cancers in Young Adults

Although the overall incidence rate of colorectal cancer in the United States has been declining rapidly since the mid-1980s, the decrease has been in older adults. During this same period, incidence rates have been increasing sharply for adults younger than age 50, finds a study by the American...

breast cancer

Poor Diet During Adolescence/Early Adulthood and Risk for Premenopausal Breast Cancer

Although adolescence is a highly susceptible time for mammary carcinogenesis, few prospective studies have examined the role of adolescent diet and breast cancer risk. Now, a study investigating the association of an adolescent and early adulthood dietary pattern that promotes chronic inflammation...

breast cancer

Cancer Has Made Me the Person I Am

My breast cancer diagnosis in 1993, at age 34, came at the happiest moment in my life. I had gotten married just 10 months earlier and was looking forward to the future and children. But instead of celebrating my first wedding anniversary with my husband over a romantic dinner, we were at a cancer ...

gynecologic cancers

Preclinical Study of PI3K/mTOR Inhibitors in Uterine Leiomyosarcomas

According to the National Cancer Institute, uterine sarcomas are rare gynecologic malignancies comprising between 2% and 5% of all uterine malignancies. Leiomyosarcomas, which arise from myometrial muscle, account for 30% of all uterine sarcomas. These aggressive, rare cancers are characterized by...

issues in oncology

Study Finds Cancer Mortality in Hispanics Varies Among Ethnic Groups

Although cancer is a leading cause of death among Hispanics, the burden of cancer mortality within Hispanic groups has not been well quantified. Now, a study by Pinheiro et al comparing the differences among Hispanic populations and cancer incidence has found that cancer mortality varies...

colorectal cancer

Expert Point of View: Philip B. Paty, MD

Philip B. Paty, MD, a surgical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, commented on the findings for The ASCO Post. Dr. Paty is leading studies of surveillance at his own institution, which is not part of the International Watch & Wait Database. Consistency of Outcomes...

pain management

Combating Untreated Cancer-Related Pain

The problem of pain management facing clinicians today is twofold: how to ensure safe and effective treatment for patients with cancer in chronic pain, while avoiding the overuse of opioid medications and the potential for substance use disorder and diversion. According to the American Cancer...

multiple myeloma

I Plan to Live Long Enough to Be Cured of Multiple Myeloma

Like many other patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma, I didn’t know I had the cancer until I broke a bone. I had felt a twinge of pain on my left side when I hoisted a bucket of baseballs over my left shoulder after participating in a baseball tournament in the spring of 2011, but there was...

gynecologic cancers

Intentional Weight Loss in Postmenopausal Women May Be Linked to Reduced Endometrial Cancer Risk

Although many studies have linked obesity with an increased risk for endometrial cancer, information about the influence of weight loss on the cancer in postmenopausal women has been limited. Now, a study by Luo et al evaluating the association of weight change and endometrial cancer risk among...

colorectal cancer

Postmenopausal Normal-Weight Women With Poor Metabolic Health May Have Higher Risk for Colorectal Cancer

Few studies have explored the association between metabolic phenotype and colorectal cancer incidence in normal-weight individuals. Now, a study comparing the risk of colorectal cancer in normal-weight postmenopausal women with a metabolically unhealthy phenotype vs those with a metabolically...

leukemia

I’m Learning to Live With Chronic Cancer

I was feeling a bit more tired than usual as the Christmas holidays approached in December 2012, but I chocked it up to the frenetic pace of the season and keeping up with caring for my two young children, ages 4 and 12. I had none of the other typical warning signs of chronic myeloid leukemia...

health-care policy

How ASCO’s New Health Policy Fellowship Program Is Helping Shape Future Cancer Care Policy

In October 2015, ASCO launched the Health Policy Fellowship program to help the next generation of oncologists with an interest in health policy to develop the skills and experience necessary to achieve their goals and shape cancer care policy in an increasingly complicated and diverse care...

skin cancer

New President of the Skin Cancer Foundation Emphasizes Public Education to Reduce Skin Cancer Incidence and Deaths

The statistics on the rising rates of skin cancer are alarming. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, each year over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people, and an additional 76,380 people are diagnosed with the deadliest form of skin cancer,...

Survivorship Symposium 2017: Almost Half of Partners and Caregivers of Young Breast Cancer Survivors Experience Long-Lasting Anxiety

While evidence is mounting on the physical and emotional challenges many cancer caregivers experience, few studies have addressed the experience of partners of young adults with cancer. Now, a new study evaluating the psychosocial concerns and mental health in the partners of young survivors of...

issues in oncology

Addressing Discrimination and Bias in Medical Education

“As a medical student, I often felt marginalized from my medical community. I have been told that my name is ‘not American,’ fallen prey to being confused for support staff such as a janitor (even while wearing my white coat) and been asked questions like, ‘Where are you really from?’ or ‘How old...

symptom management

Survivorship Symposium 2017: Physical and Psychological Factors Contribute to Decreased Physical Activity in 75% of Patients With Cancer

Although, in the past, patients with cancer were often counseled by their physicians to rest and reduce their physical activity, according to the American Cancer Society, emerging data are showing that exercise is not only safe and possible during cancer treatment, it can improve patients’...

head and neck cancer

Survivorship Symposium 2017: Younger Survivors of Thyroid Cancer Face Increased Risk of Hypertension, Heart Disease, and Osteoporosis

According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States, thyroid cancer is the most rapidly increasing cancer, tripling in the past 3 decades, and is commonly diagnosed at a younger age than most other adult cancers. A study by Blackburn et al examining whether survivors of thyroid cancer...

leukemia

Treating the Whole Person

Twenty-five years ago, I was a physically fit woman of 45 in training to run a marathon, which had been a lifelong goal. I was feeling fine and had no hint of the illness that would nearly take my life and has forever changed it. While ramping up to go the 26.2-mile distance, I decided to have a...

integrative oncology

The Best of SIO

The following five abstracts were chosen as the best submitted studies presented at this year’s International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO). They represent a diverse group of integrative therapies and interventions in the care of patients with cancer, including an...

integrative oncology

Advancing the Global Impact of Integrative Oncology

The 13th International Conference of the Society of Integrative Oncology (SIO) held in Miami, Florida, in November, drew its largest audience yet, with nearly 400 clinicians, researchers, patients, and patient advocates in integrative oncology care from 25 countries in attendance with large...

palliative care

Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Medical Marijuana

Despite the fact that 28 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to permit the use of cannabis and cannabinoid-based drugs to treat medical conditions, including cancer and symptoms from its treatment, federal law prohibits physicians from prescribing marijuana to their patients,...

cns cancers

Accelerating Progress in the Treatment of Glioblastoma Multiforme

W.K. Alfred Yung, MD, has wanted a career in medicine since he was a high-school student and has spent nearly 4 decades fulfilling that dream, specifically in the research and treatment of one of the deadliest cancers, malignant brain tumor, especially glioblastoma multiforme, the most common...

pancreatic cancer

Circulating Tumor DNA May Serve as a Prognostic Marker in Pancreatic Cancer

Translational research in pancreatic adenocarcinoma has been limited by the difficulty of obtaining sufficient quality and quantity tumor tissue from patients. A study by Pietrasz et al assessing the feasibility and prognostic value of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in pancreatic adenocarcinoma has...

breast cancer

SABCS 2016: Scalp-Cooling Device Safe and Effective in Reducing Chemotherapy-Induced Alopecia in Women With Breast Cancer

Although adjuvant chemotherapy decreases the risk of breast cancer recurrence, it is associated with distressing side effects, including hair loss. A prospective randomized trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of the Orbis Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System (OPHLPS), a scalp-cooling device that ...

Overcoming the Physical, Emotional, and Financial Effects of Cancer

Although my diagnosis of stage IIIB melanoma 5 years ago came as a shock, in hindsight, it shouldn’t have been so surprising. I had noticed a small freckle-like lesion on my upper left thigh that had become itchy and occasionally bled, but it didn’t fit the ABCDE (Asymmetry, Border irregularity,...

issues in oncology

Using Art to Humanize Medicine

Among the most widely attended sessions at the 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in September was the keynote lecture, “Wit, Hex, Vin, Life, Death: Using Wit as a Teaching Tool,” given by Margaret Edson, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning play Wit. Wit tells the story of an accomplished ...

survivorship

Integrating AYA Oncology Care Into the Worlds of Pediatric and Adult Oncology Care to Improve Cancer Outcomes

GUEST EDITORAdolescent and Young Adult Oncology explores the unique physical, psychosocial, social, emotional, sexual, and financial challenges adolescents and young adults with cancer face. The column is guest edited by Brandon M. Hayes-Lattin, MD, FACP, Associate Professor of Medicine and...

issues in oncology

Faculty Development in Oncology: Advancing the Field by Optimizing Opportunities for Educators to Learn and Grow

In 2015, Janet Riddle, MD, and her colleagues published an article1 outlining 12 key themes for delineating how fellowship programs in medical education should be developed (See “12 Tips for Developing Successful Fellowship Programs for Medical Educators,” below.) The ASCO Post talked with Dr....

supportive care

Reducing the Risk of Oral Complications During and After Cancer Therapy

According to the National Institutes of Health,1 nearly all patients with head and neck malignancies receiving high-dose radiation therapy; approximately 80% of patients undergoing stem cell transplantation; and about 40% of patients receiving chemotherapy will experience oral complications that...

skin cancer

Alcohol Intake Associated With Modest Increase in Risk of Melanoma

Although alcohol consumption is associated with increasing the risk of many cancers, including liver, pancreatic, colon, rectal, and breast, the link between alcohol and higher risk of melanoma is equivocal. Now, a large prospective study by Rivera et al investigating the link between alcohol...

leukemia

Gleevec Is Saving My Life but at a Cost

Like many patients in the chronic phase of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), my cancer was discovered during a routine physical, when an off-the-chart white blood cell count signaled a serious problem that my primary care physician attributed to unspecified internal bleeding. Fortunately for me, my...

Advanced Practitioners Convene at Fourth Annual JADPRO Live at APSHO

Launched in 2012 by Harborside Press, publisher of the Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology (JADPRO) and The ASCO Post, this year’s JADPRO Live at APSHO conference topped previous attendance records with nearly 1,100 attendees. APSHO, the Advanced Practitioner Society in Hematology and...

palliative care

How When Breath Becomes Air Is Helping the Public—and Physicians—Confront Their Mortality

It should not come as a surprise to anyone who has read Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s brilliant—and unforgettable—memoir, When Breath Becomes Air (Random House, 2016), that nearly a year after publication, it remains on The New York Times best-seller list, its popularity only increasing with time. Written...

kidney cancer

Study Finds Cabozantinib of Clinical Benefit vs Sunitinib in Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma

A randomized phase II clinical trial evaluating cabozantinib (Cabometyx) compared with standard-of-care sunitinib (Sutent) as first-line therapy for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma has found that cabozantinib reduced the rate of disease progression or death by 34% compared with...

palliative care

How Video Support Tools Help Patients Make Informed Decisions About End-of-Life Care

A relatively recent study by Areej El-Jawahri, MD, and her colleagues is showing how the use of visual media can empower patients with advanced cancer, as well as other life-threatening illnesses, to make more informed decisions about their end-of-life care.1 The aim of Dr. El-Jawahri’s study was ...

issues in oncology

Study Finds EXITS Gene Mutations May Contribute to Cancer Sex Bias

According to Surveillance, Epidemiology, and end Results (SEER) data from 2008 to 2012, American males have an excess risk of 20.4% of developing any cancer compared with females, and there is a ≥ 2:1 male predominance for some individual cancers. This excess risk results in approximately...

survivorship

Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancers Report Long-Term Health Issues

Although progress in treatment and supportive care for children with cancer has resulted in improved survival of these patients, some survivors experience ongoing medical conditions from their cancer or its treatment, including poor general health, poor mental health, functional impairment,...

health-care policy

Practices Provided Concrete Path Toward Alternative Payment System

Earlier this month, ASCO announced it has collaborated with Innovative Oncology Business Solutions, Inc (IOBS) to launch ASCO COME HOME, a patient-centered oncology medical home, to help transition community oncology practices from volume-based care to value-based care and to prepare oncologists to ...

issues in oncology

The Emergence of Philanthropy to Fund High-Risk, High-Reward Cancer Research

Earlier this year, Sean Parker, the cofounder of the music streaming service Napster and an early president of Facebook, joined a growing list of entrepreneurs who are committing large portions of their wealth to funding cancer research. In April, Mr. Parker announced he was donating $250 million...

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