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2018 SURVIVORSHIP: Many Young Adult Cancer Survivors Forgo Follow-up Care After Cancer Treatment Ends

Despite survivorship guidelines from ASCO and other organizations regarding follow-up care after cancer treatment ends, follow-up care is generally lacking for adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors. Since AYA cancer survivors are at an increased risk for late effects from their cancer...

2018 SURVIVORSHIP: Web-Based Interventions Help Adolescents Stay Physically Active After Cancer Treatment

Survivors of childhood cancer are at increased risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to other serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. However, engaging in regular physical activity may help remediate these health issues in young survivors. A...

Possible Link Between Drinking Hot Tea and Increased Chance of Esophageal Cancer in High-Risk Individuals

Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer worldwide, with an estimated 456,000 new cases in 2012, and the sixth most common cause of death from cancer with an estimated 400,000 deaths, according to data from GLOBOCAN, which provides statistics on the incidence and mortality of cancer...

solid tumors
breast cancer

I’m Not a Victim of Cancer

What I thought after feeling a large, hard lump—similar to the feel of a granola bar—in my left breast was that I probably pulled a muscle while playing with my two young children, ages 7 and 5. Cancer never entered my mind until I asked my husband to feel the lump, and he immediately said, with...

genomics/genetics
issues in oncology

Making Personalized Medicine a Reality for More Patients With Cancer

  This past September, Olivier Elemento, PhD, Associate Director of the Institute for Computational Biomedicine and Director of the Laboratory of Cancer Systems Biology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, was named Director of Weill Cornell’s Englander Institute for Precision Medicine. In this...

solid tumors
issues in oncology
global cancer care

Second Global AYA Cancer Congress Highlights Research Advances and the Global Burden of Cancer Among Young Adults

This past December, nearly 400 medical professionals from a variety of fields—including medical oncology, palliative care, science, nursing, social work, and psychology—and 23 countries traveled to Atlanta, to attend the 2nd Global Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Congress. The 3-day...

leukemia

Against All Odds

The days leading up to our daughter Emily’s diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) on May 28, 2010, when she was just 5, offered few clues about the terrifying, life-and-death months and years we were about to experience. She was happy and seemingly healthy, literally until the day before...

palliative care

Working Together to Help Pediatric Patients With Cancer Live and Live Well

While many patients with cancer can benefit from palliative care to ease symptoms from the disease or its treatment, for children with cancer, especially critically ill children, palliative care can provide an additional layer of medical and emotional support for both young patients and their...

Diary of a Storm

FOR DAYS BEFORE HURRICANE HARVEY was expected to move toward Houston, Texas, on Sunday, August 27, 2017, after pummeling other cities in Texas and Louisiana, the leadership team at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) in Houston strategized on how to ensure the...

breast cancer
gynecologic cancers
cost of care

Population-Based Screening for Breast and Ovarian Cancer Genetic Mutations Appears Cost-Effective

The cost-effectiveness of population-based panel testing for the known high- and moderate-penetrance ovarian and breast cancer mutations, including BRCA1, BRCA2, RAD51C, RAD51D, BRIP1, and PALB2, was not known. Now, a study evaluating the cost-effectiveness of screening the general population for...

Celebrating the Life of Jimmie Holland, MD

The oncology community mourns the sudden passing of Jimmie C. Holland, MD, who died on December 24, 2017, at the age of 89. Dr. Holland’s achievements over her 40-year career are legend. They include the founding of the subspecialty of psycho-oncology, the establishment of a full-time Psychiatry...

breast cancer
skin cancer
issues in oncology
gastrointestinal cancer

Study Finds Increased Risk in Common Cancers in Female Night Shift Workers

In 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified shift work with circadian disruption or chronodisruption as a probable human carcinogen. Now, a meta-analysis investigating whether long-term shift work increases the risks of common cancers in women has found that, overall, night...

Giving Back After Cancer

My diagnosis of neuroblastoma when I was 14 happened rather accidentally. I was a competitive dancer and very active in sports my first year in high school and had no symptoms of cancer or any illness. It wasn’t until my mother, who is a nurse, came into my room one morning to wake me for school...

supportive care
lung cancer

Providing a Safe Haven for Patients With Advanced Lung Cancer

In 1996, Jimmie C. Holland, MD, the Wayne E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York, decided to launch the cancer center’s Lung Cancer Survivorship Program after she had a startling encounter with a patient. “The woman said to me, ‘Would...

Balancing Opioid Use to Relieve Cancer-Related Pain and Protecting Patients From Addiction and Death

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people have died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids, including methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.1 To stem the epidemic in prescription opioid–related use and ...

solid tumors

Phase I Study Finds ERK1/2 Inhibitor Safe and Active in Advanced Solid Tumors

Ulixertinib (BVD-523) is an ERK1/2 kinase inhibitor with potent preclinical activity in BRAF- and RAS-mutant cell lines. Now, a multicenter phase I study investigating its safety and efficacy in the treatment of patients with advanced solid tumors has found that ulixertinib to have an acceptable...

lung cancer

Study Suggests Racial Differences in Lung Tumor Biology

According to research by the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women in the United States and is the leading cause of cancer-related death. In addition, among all populations, African Americans tend to have the highest lung cancer incidence and...

Chemotherapy Foundation Honors Oncology Pioneer James F. Holland, MD, FASCO, and Actor-Comedian Martin Short

On November 8, 2017, the Chemotherapy Foundation held a benefit in New York City to raise funding to support an investigator in ovarian cancer research selected for the 2018 Research Grant Program. The event coincided with the 35th Annual Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium and honored oncology...

solid tumors
lung cancer

Living a Full Life With Stage IV Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

The discovery of my non–small cell lung cancer (NCSLC) in 2005 was serendipitous and completely unexpected. A never smoker and physically active my whole life, the only hint something might be amiss was a slight tickle in my throat, which I’m not even sure was related to my cancer diagnosis. In...

supportive care
palliative care

Helping Patients With Advanced Disease Transition From Focused to Intrinsic Hope

While hope for a cure after a cancer diagnosis is a feeling both patients and oncologists rightly cling to during treatment, when too much emphasis is placed on this type of “focused” hope, it can make it more difficult for patients to face their mortality. Moreover, such a focus can deny patients ...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

How ASCO’s New Initiatives Are Helping Oncologists Transition to MACRA

This year has been an important transitional period for oncology providers to start collecting their performance data to meet the requirements of the Quality Payment Program outlined in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The Quality Payment Program is a...

issues in oncology

Link Between Cancer and Diabetes, High Body Mass Index

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Cancer Research Fund, there is a causal association between a high body mass index (BMI) and 14 cancers, including colorectal, gallbladder, pancreatic, kidney, liver, endometrial, postmenopausal breast, ovarian, gastric...

survivorship

Are Thyroid Cancer Survivors at Increased Risk for Aging-Related Diseases?

A study by Blackburn et al investigating the risks of aging-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes among thyroid cancer survivors has found that although younger and older survivors had an increased risk for these diseases, those younger than age 40 had a higher risk for hypertension,...

issues in oncology
supportive care

Helping Oncologists to Become Better Communicators With Their Patients

Timothy Gilligan, MD, FASCO, Co-Chair of ASCO’s Expert Panel on Patient-Physician Communications Guideline and Vice-Chair for Education and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, spends half of his professional time treating patients with urologic...

issues in oncology
supportive care

ASCO Releases Guideline to Help Oncologists Improve Communication With Patients—and Their Own Well-Being

In September 2017, ASCO published a new guideline in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that outlines best practices for communicating effectively with patients and their family members.1 The guideline is the result of recommendations from a multidisciplinary panel of experts in a number of fields,...

issues in oncology
cost of care

Tackling the High Cost of Cancer Care

AT THE 2017 ASCO ANNUAL MEETING, the leaders of the newly formed Value in Cancer Care Consortium (vi3c; vi3c.org) met to discuss the group’s plan to study how to improve the affordability of cancer drugs and make them more accessible to patients. The goal of the Value in Cancer Care Consortium is...

integrative oncology

University of Michigan Medical School Launches Integrative Oncology Scholars Program

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN Medical School in Ann Arbor recently received a $1,167,943 5-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to launch the Integrative Oncology Scholars Program. The goal of the program is to teach oncology health-care providers how to evaluate the scientific evidence of...

supportive care
palliative care

Advancing Care Across the Cancer Continuum

Addressing the need to integrate palliative and supportive care practices into medical specialties to ensure optimal patient-centered care across the cancer continuum and the evidence-based remedies to accomplish that goal were the focus of the nearly 300 study abstracts presented at the 2017...

issues in oncology

ASCO Survey Reveals Concerning Trends in Americans’ Knowledge About Cancer Risks and Impact of Costs on Compliance

Although most Americans, 78%, recognize that smoking is a major risk factor for cancer, just 31% say obesity—the second-leading preventable cause of cancer after smoking—is a risk factor for the disease, according to the results of ASCO’s National Cancer Opinion Survey, which polled over 4,000...

breast cancer

Are African American Women With Type 2 Diabetes at Increased Risk for ER-Negative Breast Cancer?

A prospective study by Palmer et al assessing the relationship of type 2 diabetes and the incidence of estrogen receptor–negative and estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer among African American women has found statistically significant evidence of an increased risk of estrogen...

gynecologic cancers

Study Finds HPV Screening May Be More Sensitive Than Pap Test for Detecting Cervical Cancer

The main goal of cervical screening programs is to detect and treat precancer before the cancer develops. Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing is more sensitive than cytology for detecting precancer. However, reports of rare HPV-negative, cytology-positive cancers are motivating the continued use of...

leukemia

Fat Cells May Inactivate Chemotherapeutic Drug and Contribute to Poorer Survival in ALL

It is well established that obesity increases the risk for cancer mortality, although no mechanisms have been proven to explain the reason for this association. Now a laboratory study investigating how obesity might alter the effectiveness of daunorubicin in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic...

supportive care
palliative care

How Effective Communication Is Integral to Patient-Centered Care

Communicating effectively with patients with advanced cancer not only helps patients and their family members successfully transition to palliative and end-of-life care, it can prevent physicians from experiencing professional burnout, according to Robert M. Arnold, MD, Distinguished Service...

palliative care

2017 ASCO Palliative Care: Resilience Intervention Improves Quality of Life for Adolescents and Young Adults With Cancer

Although a cancer diagnosis is daunting at any age, adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with the disease often face unique challenges and are at risk for poor psychosocial outcomes than older patients. A randomized study investigating whether a brief, age-appropriate, skills-based intervention...

palliative care

2017 ASCO Palliative Care: Patients With Advanced Cancer Prefer Oncologists Not Use Computers in the Exam Room

Although the use of electronic health records in oncology care has led to improved care for patients, results from a new study show that oncologists need to be cautious about using computers during exam room visits, especially for patients with advanced cancer. The randomized study compared...

solid tumors
breast cancer

Breast Cancer Has Changed Me, But the Change Has Been Positive

I’ve always had dense breasts and avoided doing breast self-exams because I couldn’t tell if the lumpiness I was feeling was something serious or merely normal fibrous tissue. Instead I relied on my yearly mammogram to spot any early signs of cancer. Four years ago, I was once again relieved to...

colorectal cancer
issues in oncology

Could the Rising Rates of Colorectal Cancer in AYAs Be Linked to HPV Infection?

TWO STUDIES published this year examining the incidence of colorectal cancer in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) show an undeniable and sobering trend: Colorectal cancer rates are increasing in this age group, and younger people are dying of the cancer at slightly higher rates than in previous...

supportive care

Chronicling a Family’s History of Cancer

Cancer has been an intimate part of Nancy Borowick’s life since her mother, Laurel, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, when Nancy was 12. She began photographing her mother’s journey with the disease after the cancer recurred in 2009 for her final project for the Documentary Photography and ...

hematologic malignancies

Potential Biomarkers to Identify Patients at Risk for Neurotoxicity From CAR T-Cell Therapy

Although lymphodepletion chemotherapy followed by an infusion of CD19-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells has produced high response rates in phase I studies of patients with refractory CD19-positive B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia...

breast cancer
symptom management

Cryotherapy for Preventing Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients With Breast Cancer

A self-controlled clinical trial by Hanai et al investigating the efficacy of cryotherapy for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in patients with breast cancer treated with paclitaxel has found that cryotherapy resulted in a clinically and statistically significant...

leukemia

Cord Blood Transplantation Proves Beneficial in High-Risk Patients With Leukemia

Studies show that only about one-third of patients with acute myeloid leukemia who have detectable amounts of cancer cells in their blood at the time of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation will be alive 3 years later, compared with nearly three-quarters of those patients without minimal...

breast cancer

What Is the Most Important Factor Women Consider in Deciding on SERM Use to Reduce Their Risk of Breast Cancer?

Currently, two medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce the risk of breast cancer: tamoxifen and raloxifene. Both medications, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), have been shown to reduce the risk for breast cancer by up to 50% in prevention...

solid tumors
breast cancer

Cancer Has Plagued My Family

My father, who was a physician, taught me at an early age to pay attention to any changes in my body. His advice has stood me in good stead for more than 83 years and probably saved my life more than once. In 1984, just before I turned 50, something was bothering me about my right breast. I could...

issues in oncology

Study Finds Liquid Biopsy May Provide Predictive Biomarkers for Checkpoint Inhibitor Response

Although checkpoint inhibitor–based immunotherapy has revolutionized treatment for a variety of cancers, the majority of patients with cancer do not respond to the therapy, and a subset of patients may even experience hyperprogression. Many patients also experience some degree of...

issues in oncology

Increasing Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Oncology Workforce

Although significant progress has been made in cancer incidence and mortality in the United States over the past 2 decades—the death rate fell 23% between 1991 and 20121—not everyone is benefiting equally. According to the American Cancer Society, blacks have the highest death rate and shortest...

breast cancer

Study Finds Smoking Negatively Impacts Long-Term Survival After Breast Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, about 316,120 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year, and over 40,000 women will die of the disease. Between 10% and 20% of women diagnosed with cancer are current smokers. Now, a prospective study by Parada et al investigating whether...

I Don’t Feel Like I Have Incurable Cancer

A series of medical mishaps has led me to a diagnosis of stage IV carcinoid neuroendocrine cancer and a shortened lifespan. This never should have happened. For months in early 2015, I was plagued with all the signs of a serious illness, including chronic stomach, bowel, and digestive issues;...

breast cancer

Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes in African Americans and European Americans With Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Triple-negative breast cancer is a highly aggressive breast cancer that lacks hormone receptors and overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu), and, therefore, there are no targeted treatments available for the cancer. Triple-negative breast cancer afflicts African...

Bringing Oncology Care to Rural Communities

The organizations and programs listed here are helping to address and reduce disparities in cancer care in rural communities. ASCO University Disparities in Cancer Care: Take Action (http://university.asco.org/disparities-cancer-care-take-action). This free slide-based course is designed to help...

Stemming the Growing Cancer Crisis in Rural Appalachia

A pair of recent studies show a troubling trend: Despite a 20% decrease in cancer mortality rates nationwide over the past 2 decades,1 Americans living in rural regions of the United States are more likely to die of cancer than persons living in metropolitan areas of the country. An analysis of...

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