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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...

hepatobiliary cancer

Increased Risk of Gallbladder Cancer May Be Linked to Consuming Large Amounts of Sweetened Beverages

A large prospective Swedish study reported by Larsson et al found a 2.2-fold increased risk of gallbladder cancer in people who consumed two or more servings of sweetened beverages a day compared with nonconsumers. The researchers also found a 1.8-fold increase in extrahepatic biliary tract cancer...

Extending ASCO’s Influence Globally to Improve Patient Care

On June 27, 2016, Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, will begin his tenure as Chief Executive Officer of ASCO, succeeding Allen S. Lichter, MD, FASCO, who presided over the Society and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO since 2006. Dr. Hudis’ dedication to ASCO dates back more than 25 years...

cns cancers
solid tumors

Retroviral Replicating Vector That Delivers Cytosine Deaminase to Cancer Cells Active in Recurrent Glioblastoma

A phase I study by Cloughesy et al published in Science Translational Medicine investigating the effectiveness of vocimagene amiretrorepvec (Toca 511), an experimental nonlytic, retroviral replicating vector that delivers cytosine deaminase to cancer cells, and an investigational...

survivorship
symptom management

Monitoring Survivors of Childhood Cancers for Late Effects of Treatment

This past January, ASCO held its inaugural Cancer Survivorship Symposium, which brought together the fields of medical oncology and primary care to address the critical need for coordinated care for cancer survivors. Among the presenters at the symposium was Smita Bhatia, MD, MPH, who gave the...

issues in oncology
global cancer care

A Perilous Time for Refugees With Cancer

The numbers are difficult to fathom. According to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in 2015, over 60 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced as a result of conflict, persecution, generalized violence, or human rights violations.1 Over 9 million of those ...

issues in oncology
supportive care

Study Finds Many Terminal Patients Unaware of Their Impending Death

A sizable portion of patients with advanced cancer lack an understanding of their prognosis and impending death, according to a study by Epstein et al. However, those patients who had recent discussions of prognosis/life expectancy with their oncologists had a better understanding of the terminal...

Ushering in a New Era in Personalized Medicine

When Waun Ki Hong, MD, and his pregnant wife, Mihwa, made the journey from Korea to Manhattan in 1970, he had just $451 in his wallet, and the only job he could get was as an intern in Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, a community hospital in the Bronx. The work was grueling—24-hour shifts every 2...

breast cancer

Breast Cancer Research Foundation: Revitalizing Academic Research in Breast Cancer Through Drug Research Collaborative

When Evelyn H. Lauder was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, she became a vocal spokesperson for women’s health, and in 1993, along with Larry Norton, MD, now Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Breast Cancer Programs and Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan...

issues in oncology
solid tumors
hematologic malignancies

How Immunotherapy Is Revolutionizing Cancer Care

More than 100 years after ­William B. Coley, MD, used bacterial toxins to goad the immune system into recognizing cancer cells as foreign to the body and mount an immune response to go after and kill them, the recognition of immunotherapy as a powerful anticancer therapy is finally being...

In Celebration of a Remarkable Career at ASCO

In March, ASCO announced that Allen S. Lichter, MD, FASCO, was stepping down as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the end of June, ending his 10-year tenure as head of the Society and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO. Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, Chief of Breast Medicine Service and Vice...

solid tumors

Liquid Biopsy–Based Test Appears Comparable to Standard Tissue Testing in Detecting BRAF V600 Mutations

Cell-free (cf) DNA from plasma offers a minimally invasive approach to obtain material for BRAF mutation analysis for diagnostics and response monitoring. A study by Janku et al investigating whether the detection of BRAF V600 mutations in plasma cfDNA from patients with advanced cancers using the...

Cancer Stole My Identity

In 1997, just 6 weeks after giving birth to my second child, I started having fevers and night sweats and my lymph nodes were swollen. I’m a physician, so I knew something was wrong and that my symptoms were unrelated to having just given birth. I had a blood test, and a biopsy was performed on one ...

issues in oncology

CancerCare Issues Report on Nationwide Surveys of 3,000 People Diagnosed With Cancer

The national nonprofit organization CancerCare has announced the publication of a comprehensive report on experiences, perceptions, and needs of people who are living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. The 2016 CancerCare Patient Access and Engagement Report is a compilation of results from six...

thyroid cancer

Raising Awareness of Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma

I’m used to having bumps and cysts pop up on my body, so when I felt a lump on the front of my throat, just below my Adam’s apple, I brushed it off. But when it was still there 6 months later, I became concerned and decided to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. He performed a fine-needle...

multiple myeloma

Benefits and Risks of Transplantation: The Changing Therapeutic Paradigm for Multiple Myeloma

Although high-dose chemotherapy plus autologous transplantation has been a standard of care in the treatment of younger patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, the advent of effective novel agents for the cancer over the past 15 years has raised the question of whether transplantation, with ...

breast cancer

I Never Forget I Have Cancer

I have a history of fibrocystic breasts, which required biopsies to make certain the cysts were benign, and for years they were. But in 2009, my mammogram screening picked up a suspicious lump in my right breast, which turned out to be stage III estrogen receptor–positive/progesterone...

issues in oncology

Closing the Clinical Trial Gap for Adolescents and Young Adults With Cancer

Although overall survival rates for patients with cancer continue to soar—with 14.5 million cancer survivors today1—most of that gain is among pediatric and older adult patients. For adolescents and young adults with cancer—defined by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as those in the 15- to...

issues in oncology

Is This the Dawn of Cancer Biosimilars?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, did more than make it possible for millions of Americans to afford health care; it also established an abbreviated approval pathway for biologic products that are “biosimilar” to, or shown to be “interchangeable” with, a U.S....

issues in oncology

ASCO Provides Support and Guidance for the White House Cancer Moonshot Initiative

Although President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act in 1971, essentially declaring a war on cancer, the genesis of the idea had actually been born 2 years earlier, after the first landing on the moon set off a new era of scientific exploration and sparked a belief that any scientific...

breast cancer

Men Get Breast Cancer Too

Like many men, it never occurred to me that I could get breast cancer. But it turns out it is more common—and deadly—than I thought, with about 2,600 men diagnosed each year with invasive breast cancer and nearly 440 dying of the disease.1 In 2010, I became one of those men, and the diagnosis was...

survivorship

Bridging the Medical Gap in Long-Term Cancer Survivorship Care

Although more people than ever before are surviving cancer—there are currently 14.5 million cancer survivors, and that number is expected to climb to 19 million by 20241—they often experience long-lasting physical, emotional, and financial concerns related to the disease. To address the unmet...

Study Finds Time Lag Between Positive Fecal Blood Test and Follow-up Colonoscopy

Annual testing for blood in the stool using high-sensitivity guaiac fecal occult blood tests or fecal immunochemical tests is one of several recommended colorectal cancer screening strategies for adults 50 to 70 years old. However, although a positive finding requires a follow-up colonoscopy to...

cns cancers

A Brain Tumor Diagnosis Has Taken My Life in New Directions

The first sign that I could have a life-threatening illness was a bout of severe dizziness, which sent me first to a general practitioner for a physical examination and then to an ear specialist for more tests. At just 24 and in excellent health, the sudden onset of dizziness didn’t initially set...

symptom management

How Cancer and Its Treatments Affect Cognitive Function

Although chemotherapy is often cited as the main culprit for diminishing cognitive function in patients with cancer, ushering the term “chemobrain” into the vernacular, research by Tim A. Ahles, PhD, and his colleagues is showing that multiple factors may contribute to the condition.1 Using breast...

lymphoma

Higher Mortality Risk in Poor or Minority Adolescents and Young Adults vs White Patients With Hodgkin Lymphoma

Despite improvements in survival for adolescents and young adults diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, the gains have not been shared uniformly across this patient population. A large population-based study by Keegan et al investigating the impact of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, influence of...

breast cancer
issues in oncology

The New Frontiers of Breast Cancer

A seismic shift is underway in screening and treatment approaches for breast cancer. These changes are being fueled by studies showing that mammography in younger women may do more harm than good and that advances in genomic testing and a better understanding of the biology of breast cancers may...

palliative care

How Effective Communication Can Improve Patient Care—and Reduce Physician Burnout

Surveys conducted between 1950 and 1970 show that most physicians considered it inhumane to give patients with a poor cancer prognosis the bad news.1,2 Since then, it has been well established that open communication between physician and patient is an essential part of effective cancer care and...

colorectal cancer

I Am Not Afraid of Cancer

At age 73, I’m no shrinking violet and I don’t run to the doctor at the first sign of a problem. I practice naturopathy and can usually ward off potential health issues by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. When I began experiencing some mild discomfort in my rectum 2½ years ago, I was...

colorectal cancer
issues in oncology

Study Finds Fecal Immunochemical Test Effective for Annual Colon Cancer Screening

Although the fecal immunochemical test is a common method for colorectal cancer screening, its acceptability and performance over several rounds of annual testing are largely unknown. Now, a large retrospective cohort study by Jensen et al assessing the fecal immunochemical...

solid tumors
issues in oncology

American College of Physicians Issues Advice for Evaluating Hematuria as a Marker of Urinary Tract Cancer

Although little controversy exists regarding the indication for urologic evaluation for patients with gross hematuria, the evaluation of patients with the much more common finding of microscopic hematuria is complicated by a lack of clarity regarding indications for clinical referral, according to...

survivorship

A Conversation with Patricia A. Ganz, MD

Researching the effects of cancer on patients’ quality of life and championing the development and implementation of survivorship care plans have been at the forefront of the 20-year-long career of Patricia A. Ganz, MD, Director of the Division of Prevention and Control Research at UCLA’s Jonsson...

survivorship

A Conversation with Brad Zebrack, PhD, MSW, MPH

Each year in the United States, approximately 70,000 people between the ages of 15 and 40 are diagnosed with cancer. And while getting a cancer diagnosis at any age can be devastating, for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) grappling with sexuality, body image, peer pressure, dating, marriage,...

survivorship

Experts Seek to Explain the Survival Gap in Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer

While overall cancer survival rates continue to rise-there are nearly 12 million cancer survivors today, according to the latest figures from NCI-most of that improvement is among pediatric and older adult patients. For adolescent and young adult patients with cancer, defined by the NCI as those in ...

lymphoma
survivorship

Survivorship Symposium 2016: Study Finds That Less Than Half of Survivors of Hodgkin Lymphoma Received All Recommended Follow-up Care

According to the American Cancer Society’s 2014 Cancer Facts & Figures, Hodgkin lymphoma is diagnosed in about 800 adolescents and young adults each year. And while standard treatments for the cancer, including chemotherapy and radiation, are very effective in improving survival,...

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