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issues in oncology
health-care policy

AACR’s Cancer Progress Report Hails Research Advances and Details Challenges Ahead

Although research advances in more effective therapies and diagnostics and improved screening technology over the past 2 decades have led to a 23% reduction in the cancer death rate in the United States, saving nearly 2 million lives,1 cancer remains the second leading cause of death after heart...

skin cancer

Ratio of Certain Immune Cells in the Blood to Tumor Burden Correlated With Outcome for Melanoma Patients Treated With Pembrolizumab

Although some patients with melanoma experience durable responses to treatment with the anti–PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1) therapy pembrolizumab (Keytruda), the majority of patients do not experience a durable clinical benefit from anti–PD-1 monotherapy, according to a study by ...

kidney cancer
lung cancer
skin cancer

Combining AM0010 and Pembrolizumab Produced Antitumor Activity in Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors

A multibasket phase Ib study evaluating the clinical activity, tolerability, and antitumor activity of the cytokine-based immunotherapy AM0010 alone or in combination with the immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) has found that in monotherapy, objective responses to AM0010 were ...

colorectal cancer

Does Colonoscopy Screening in Older Adults Prevent Colorectal Cancer?

A large population-based observational study by García-Albéniz et al evaluating the effectiveness and safety of screening colonoscopy for the prevention of colorectal cancer in people aged 70 to 74 and 75 to 79 has found the test reaped only a modest benefit in preventing colorectal...

kidney cancer
breast cancer

I’ve Survived Cancer for Over 71 Years

Even though I was just 3 years old when my symptoms first appeared, the memory is still fresh in my mind to this day, 71 years later. I had just come home from a friend’s birthday party and was sitting on the front patio steps immobilized by severe stomach pain. My parents said I was feeling ill...

Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel Recommends 10 Ways to Speed Cancer Advances

Earlier this month, members of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative’s Blue Ribbon Panel submitted an ambitious list of 10 recommendations on the scientific approaches that are most likely to accelerate progress against cancer to the President’s National Cancer Advisory Board. The panel’s...

issues in oncology

Recognizing the Unique Experiences of Cancer Among Adolescent and Young Adult Survivors

Studies show that adolescent and young adult cancer survivors experience distinct challenges and quality-of-life issues from those experienced by either younger or older adult cancer survivors and that those challenges and issues can persist long after the cancer diagnosis and the end of...

issues in oncology

Breaking the ‘Conspiracy of Silence’

A new study1 showing that just 1 in 20 terminally ill patients with cancer has sufficient understanding about the prognosis or purpose of treatment is highlighting the need for improvements in both the way oncologists communicate prognosis with their patients and in the development of educational...

issues in oncology

Why Patients’ Understanding of Their Prognosis Often Differs From Their Oncologists’

A recent study1 published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (see “Breaking the ‘Conspiracy of Silence’” in this issue of The ASCO Post) found that just 1 in 20 patients with advanced, incurable cancer has sufficient understanding of his or her prognosis or life expectancy. Now, another new study ...

solid tumors
issues in oncology

CDC Finds Cancer Death Rates Among Children and Adolescents Declined by 20%, With Brain Cancer Topping Leukemia as Leading Cause of Death

New findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the cancer death rate for children and adolescents aged 1 to 19 has been steadily declining since the mid-1970s and dropped by 20% from 1999 to 2014, the result of advances in therapy, especially for leukemia. During...

lymphoma
thyroid cancer

I’ve Survived Two Cancers

In 2012, my husband, Robert, and I were looking forward to starting the next phase of our lives and were feeling excited about the future. Although only in our 50s, we had decided to retire early from our full-time careers, move to our cabin in Hayward, Wisconsin, and find less stressful part-time ...

issues in oncology

Mastery Learning: A New Paradigm for Oncology Medical Education?

According to William C. McGaghie, PhD, Professor of Medical Education and Professor of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, the principles of today’s clinical medical education are rooted in a 19th century model that is no longer useful in a...

issues in oncology

Addressing the Significant Disparities and Barriers to Health Care Experienced by LGBT Cancer Survivors

In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published its landmark report “The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding,” which recognized the scarcity of research in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and the...

kidney cancer

Is Obesity a Prognostic Factor for Improved Survival in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma?

In a study investigating the clinical and biologic effects of body mass index on treatment outcomes in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, Albiges et al found that obese patients treated with targeted therapy had improved survival and progression-free survival compared with patients with ...

prostate cancer

PSA-Based Computational Model Predicts Time to Relapse After Prostate Cancer Surgery

Approximately one in four patients who undergo radical prostatectomy experience a cancer recurrence. Now a study by Stura et al investigating a prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based computational model that uses four consecutive postsurgical PSA values has found the mathematical model to be highly...

lung cancer

My Oncologists Make Me Feel Safe Even While Living With Terminal Cancer

Looking back, I’m haunted by what might have been if my advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had been caught in its earliest stage, when perhaps a cure was possible. I certainly presented my physicians with enough clues—shortness of breath, coughing, and some body weakness—to have warranted...

survivorship

Late Cardiac Effects of Cancer Treatment

The combination of more precise diagnostic tools and advances in surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy in the treatment of cancer has led to unprecedented numbers of cancer survivors in the United States—more than 15.5 million, according to the latest figures from the...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

How the Oncology Center of Excellence Plans to Foster Collaboration Among Researchers to Advance Cancer Treatment

On June 29, 2016, Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced the selection of Richard Pazdur, MD, FACP, as Acting Director of the FDA’s newly created Oncology Center of Excellence. The center was created in response to the overarching...

breast cancer
solid tumors

Breast Density and Risk Factors May Be Useful for Tailoring Breast Cancer Screening for Older Women

A collaborative modeling study evaluating outcomes for various screening intervals for women over the age of 50 based on breast density and risk for breast cancer has found that average-risk women with low breast density undergoing triennial screening and higher-risk women with high breast density...

hematologic malignancies
leukemia

Study Finds Venetoclax Monotherapy Safe and Clinically Active in AML

A phase II study has found venetoclax (Venclexta) to be clinically active in patients with high-risk relapsed/refractory acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) or those unfit for intensive chemotherapy, with an overall response rate of 19% and a tolerable safety profile. The study results, which were...

breast cancer

Study Explores How Breast Cancers Resist Chemotherapy

A laboratory study led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health investigating how BRCA1- and BRCA2-mutant cell breast cancers eventually acquire resistance to DNA-damaging drugs has identified several proteins that promote destabilization of replication forks and contribute to drug...

gynecologic cancers
lymphoma

I’m the Luckiest Person in the World

July 2009 was the start of the worst 5-year period of my life, and I’m just grateful I am still here to tell you about it. I was preparing for brain surgery to remove an acoustic neuroma on the right side of my brain when I noticed a lump on my left thigh. Thinking I had pulled a muscle while...

palliative care

Integrating Early Palliative Medicine Into Oncology Care to Improve Patients’ Quality of Life

At the 2015 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in Boston, Vicki Jackson, MD, MPH, Chief in the Division of Palliative Care and Geriatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, Co-Director of the Harvard Center for Palliative Care, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School,...

issues in oncology

Educating People About Clinical Trials May Improve Their Likelihood of Participation

The facts are well known: Although clinical trials are regarded as the gold standard to investigate whether a new treatment is safe and effective in patients—and have resulted in advances in cancer cures and increases in cancer survivorship—only 3% to 5% of patients enroll in these studies.1 The...

issues in oncology
global cancer care

Making a Difference in the Lives of Others

Quyen D. Chu, MD, MBA, FACS, this year’s recipient of ASCO’s Humanitarian Award, lives by the axiom that “One person can make a positive difference in the lives of others.” Although the term has become cliché, the experiences in Dr. Chu’s life and oncology career prove just how profound and...

issues in oncology

Study Finds Low Engagement in Internet-Based Research in Underrepresented Population

A large study by Hartz et al examining whether Internet-based research approaches effectively engage participants from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds has found engagement in this type of research to be low among participants without a high school education, those living below the...

issues in oncology

ASCO and Friends of Cancer Research Launch Initiative to Modernize Eligibility Criteria for Clinical Trials

The dismal accrual rates in cancer clinical trials are well known: Just 3% to 5% of adults with cancer enroll in clinical trials.1 The reasons patients are reluctant to participate in clinical trials are equally well known: fear of reduced quality of life, concern about receiving a placebo, and...

skin cancer

Combining Ipilimumab With Radiotherapy or Electrochemotherapy May Prolong Survival in Patients With Advanced Melanoma

The immunotherapy ipilimumab (Yervoy) has revolutionized the treatment of malignant melanoma and resulted in durable responses in 20% to 25% of patients with the cancer. A study by Theurich et al investigating the benefits of combining ipilimumab with local peripheral treatments, such as...

health-care policy

The National Cancer Moonshot Lifts Off

Just 6 months after President Barack Obama announced the establishment of a National Cancer Moonshot Initiative to accelerate the pace of research discoveries, improve patient access and care, and encourage data-sharing, dozens of new initiatives to accomplish those and other goals were rolled out...

survivorship
leukemia
lymphoma

My Commitment to Helping Other Survivors of Childhood Cancers

When I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) at the age of 2 in 1974, not much was known about the cancer or the side effects of its treatment. Too young to understand what was happening to me, the burden fell to my parents and older sibling to protect and care for me. For more than...

Using Simulation-Based Training to Improve the Procedural Skills of Oncology/Hematology Fellows

Simulation-based education in medicine programs implemented in cancer centers for oncology/hematology fellows recreates real-world patient experiences and provides a safe—and stress-free—learning environment in which trainees can enhance their clinical and procedural skills in a variety of areas....

issues in oncology

Study Finds New Whole-Exome Sequencing Test Accurately Identifies Actionable Mutations

Exome Cancer Test v1.0 (EXaCT-1), a new whole-exome sequencing test developed by the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, detected mutations that guide precision cancer treatment with over 95% accuracy, according to a study by Rennert et al published in Genomic ...

breast cancer
solid tumors

Study Finds Wide Variation in Breast Density Assessments Among Radiologists

A large observational study examining the variation in breast density assessment among radiologists in clinical practice has found a wide variation—from 6.3% to 84.5%—in the percentage of mammograms rated as showing dense breasts, which persisted after adjusting for patient...

breast cancer
issues in oncology
genomics/genetics

Using Social Media to Accelerate Genomic Research

The success of using social media to push forward causes for social good was a driving factor in the launch this past October of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project (MBC project), which aims to accelerate the understanding of what makes patients with metastatic breast cancer genetically unique....

health-care policy
cost of care
issues in oncology

Charting a New Course at the FDA

In February, after serving for a year as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco, Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, was named the agency’s Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Prior to his appointment at the FDA, Dr. Califf was the Donald F....

solid tumors
issues in oncology

Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese People May Lower Levels of Certain Proteins Linked to Cancer

A new study investigating the effects of dietary weight loss and exercise on circulating levels of certain angiogenesis-related proteins, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), in postmenopausal...

prostate cancer

Study Finds Incidence of Mutations in DNA-Repair Genes Significantly Higher in Men With Metastatic Prostate Cancer

The incidence of mutations in DNA-repair genes was significantly higher among men with metastatic prostate cancer than among men with localized disease (11.8% vs 4.6%), according to a study by Pritchard et al reported in The New England Journal of Medicine. In addition, the frequency ...

colorectal cancer

Thriving With Cancer

Seven years ago, at age 44, I was the picture of health. I played tennis every day, went bike riding and lifted weights several times a week, and made sure I ate a healthy diet. The closest I had ever come to cancer was caring for my mother during her 2-year illness with esophageal cancer. As it...

colorectal cancer
issues in oncology

What’s Driving the Rising Rates of Colorectal Cancer in Young Adults?

The study statistics are alarming—and perplexing. According to an analysis of data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) colorectal cancer registry, colon cancer incidence among young adults aged 20 to 34 is expected to increase 90% by 2030, and the incidence of rectosigmoid...

gynecologic cancers

Women With High-Grade Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Have Long-Term Increased Risk for HPV-Related Anal, Vulvar, and Vaginal Cancers

Although high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is essential for developing high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN2 and CIN3) and has also been associated with noncervical anogenital cancers, little is known about the long-term risk for anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancer following a...

I Was Not Shown Compassion by My Medical Team

At my last screening mammogram in 2015, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The technician took the usual four x-rays of my breasts, and I was told I could leave. So it was especially shocking to get a phone call from the radiologist a week later telling me that I had to come back for an additional ...

Guidelines to Assess and Manage the Symptoms of Fatigue and Insomnia

In 2014, ASCO developed a clinical practice guideline to provide a mechanism for physicians to screen, assess, and manage the persistent symptoms of fatigue in adult cancer survivors.1 As summarized below, the guideline calls for regular screening, assessment, laboratory evaluation, and patient...

survivorship
symptom management

Tackling the Symptoms of Long-Term Fatigue and Insomnia in Cancer Survivors

Fatigue and sleep disruption are common occurrences for most patients diagnosed with cancer. Simply having a serious physical illness like cancer along with its associated pain, hospitalization, and treatment, as well as the attendant psychological impact, all contribute to the onset of fatigue...

sarcoma

A Conquer Cancer Foundation Award Helps to Launch a Pioneering Study in Liposarcoma

Mark A. Dickson, MD, has been fascinated by science and medicine since he was in high school. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1999, Dr. Dickson pursued a medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York. Once he decided on a...

solid tumors
issues in oncology

Adherence to Cancer Prevention Guidelines on Diet and Physical Activity May Reduce Cancer Risk and Mortality

According to the American Cancer Society’s 2016 Cancer Facts & Figures, behaviors such as poor diet choices, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and unhealthy body weight account for about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States and likely could be prevented with...

issues in oncology

Creating Hybrid Academic-Community Cancer Centers to Improve Patient Care

Five years ago, the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Research Institute at Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Delaware, and The Wistar Institute, a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated biomedical research center, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, joined forces to collaborate on...

cost of care
issues in oncology

ASCO Releases the Updated Version of Its Value Framework

Last June, ASCO published its initial concept for a value framework in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).1 The framework, developed by ­ASCO’s Value in Cancer Care Task Force, is designed to provide a standardized approach to assist physicians and patients in assessing the “value” of a new...

gynecologic cancers

Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy May Render Advanced Ovarian Cancers Responsive to Immunotherapy

Although most patients with advanced ovarian cancer initially respond to platinum-based chemotherapy, they usually relapse. According to a study by Böhm et al published in Clinical Cancer Research, neoadjuvant chemotherapy seemed to alter the immune cells in the tumors of patients with...

hematologic malignancies
leukemia

Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Events Seen in Patients With CML Taking Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors

Although tyrosine kinase inhibitors have dramatically increased survival for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), continuous administration of these drugs may elicit long-term toxicity, including cardiovascular adverse events. To investigate the incidence of vascular events in patients...

The Importance of Listening to Patients

My experience with cancer, or more accurately, cancers, is complicated. In 2002, after returning from a medical mission to Honduras, I noticed a bean-sized lymph node above my left clavicle. As an oncology-certified nurse, I knew not to ignore any unusual nodules that pop up on the body and asked...

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