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issues in oncology
breast cancer

Treating Breast Cancer During Pregnancy Calls for Careful Timing of Therapies and Sensitive Discussions With Patients

Breast cancer during pregnancy is relatively uncommon; however, it poses a significant clinical challenge to the patient and her multidisciplinary care team. To shed light on this difficult issue, The ASCO Post spoke with Carey K. Anders, MD, a medical oncologist and researcher at the University...

breast cancer

For Breast Cancer Specialist Ann H. Partridge, MD, MPH, Medicine Is a Family Tradition

Breast cancer specialist Ann H. Partridge, MD, MPH, was born in Manhasset, Long Island, and grew up several miles east in Muttontown, New York. Since tiny Muttontown didn’t have its own school system, Dr. Partridge went to high school in nearby Locust Valley, a town on Long Island’s North Shore,...

issues in oncology
cost of care

With Financial Toxicity in Oncology Care on the Rise, Providers Need to Help Address Patients’ Financial Issues

At the 2017 ASCO Quality Care Symposium, Dan Sherman, MA, LPC, discussed potential solutions to the persistent challenge of financial toxicity in the oncology setting. Mr. Sherman is a clinical financial consultant and Founder and President of The Navectis Group, Caledonia, Michigan. Rather than...

issues in oncology

Recognizing the Importance of a Work-Life Balance in Oncology

The ASCO Post introduces this new department, Living a Full Life, in which we will share insightful narratives of oncology professionals highlighting personal aspects of these clinicians’ lives separate from the world of oncology. We also intend to open a dialogue about the challenges that today’s...

The Dark Side of Medicine: Physician Suicide

The statistics on physician suicide are stark: Physicians are more than twice as likely to take their own lives as nonphysicians, and more than 400 physicians commit suicide each year in the United States. Moreover, young physicians at the early part of their training are reported to be...

issues in oncology

Overdiagnosis of Those in Higher Income Brackets

According to researchers from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, being in a high-income bracket may lead to overdiagnosis of cancer and the subsequent harms associated with unnecessary medical treatments. To shed light on this interesting finding and its broader...

issues in oncology

Balancing Harms and Benefits of Cancer Screening: The Debate Continues

Over the past several decades, widespread cancer screening has saved lives from various cancer types. However, despite advances in early-detection technologies, many cancers still remain undetected until they become symptomatic, conferring poor prognoses and outcomes. Moreover, some methods of...

Addressing the Challenges of Intimacy After Cancer

The literature has documented the stress and damage that intimacy problems cause among women undergoing cancer treatment and during survivorship. A new book, Sex and Cancer: Intimacy, Romance, and Love After Diagnosis and Treatment, by Saketh R. Guntupalli, MD, and Maryann Karinch tackles the...

Tales From the OR: A Pediatric Surgeon’s Memoir

CARING FOR sick children brings with it a set of emotional and physical challeneges that differ from those with the adult patient population. In a new book, Healing Children: A Surgeon’s Stories From the Frontiers of Pediatric Medicine, Kurt Newman, MD, draws on more than 30 years of his...

A Doctor’s Call to Arms About the Overuse of Antibiotics

On September 3, 1928, Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming returned to London from a vacation and sorted through some petri dishes containing colonies of Staphylococcus. He noticed something unusual in one dish: It was dotted with colonies except for one area where a patch of mold grew....

A New Manual for the Expanding Field of Bone Marrow Transplantation

The first hematopoietic stem cell transplant was pioneered by E. Donnall Thomas, MD, and published in The New England Journal of Medicine in September 12, 1957. Although the six patients on his trial all died by 100 days post transplantation, Dr. Thomas remained undaunted, continuing his...

thyroid cancer

The Rising Incidence of Thyroid Cancer Reconsidered

Despite a significant rise in the incidence of thyroid cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a panel of independent experts in primary care and screening, has given thyroid cancer screening a D recommendation, which is a recommendation against screening. To shed light on this...

cost of care

Addressing the Societal Impact of Financial Toxicity

Most discussions about “financial toxicity” center on the cancer patient, but there is also a societal toxicity, which has far-reaching consequences. Coming up with answers to this growing problem has vexed health-care experts over the past decade. In an effort to gather opinions on this vital...

prostate cancer
kidney cancer
bladder cancer

Maha Hussain, MD, FACP, FASCO, Credits Collaboration for Her Contributions to Genitourinary Cancer

Internationally recognized genitourinary oncologist Maha Hussain, MD, FACP, FASCO, was born and reared in Baghdad, Iraq. “I came from a family that stressed the value of higher education and especially medicine. I have three uncles who are physicians, and my father encouraged my three siblings and...

palliative care

An Expert on End-of-Life Care Shares Her Stories

“In the sufferer let me see only the human being.” So said Maimonides, the medieval Jewish philosopher and physician who espoused treating the patient rather than the illness, a philosophy that modern oncology had to relearn. This brief quote greets readers of a new book called Extreme Measures:...

health-care policy

A Deep and Incisive Look Into the Health-Care System

The seemingly impossible-to-cure maladies of our $3 trillion per year health-care system have been hyperanalyzed, fiercely debated, and voluminously written about by the country’s leading public health experts, opinionated doctors, and policymakers on Capitol Hill. The Affordable Care Act extended ...

A Textbook That Fills a Special Need in Oncology: Uncommon Cancers

A cancer diagnosis provokes a sea of emotions, fear and anxiety over the future foremost. However, being diagnosed with a common cancer such as breast or prostate cancer has a hard-won comfort zone, in that both patients and physicians are armed with a plethora of data and resources on how to treat ...

palliative care

An Educational Program for Safe Handling of Opioids

Improper storage, use, and disposal of prescribed opioids can lead to diversion or accidental overdose. Given that opioids are the mainstay of cancer pain treatment, this issue is particularly germane in the oncology community. The ASCO Post recently spoke with Akhila Reddy, MD, and Maxine de la...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

First Oncologist Elected AMA President, Barbara L. McAneny, MD, Advocates for Access to Health Care for Everyone

Since the founding of the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1847, Barbara L. McAneny, MD, is the fourth woman and first oncologist to be elected President of the venerable medical association. “I’m a generic Midwesterner. I was born in Missouri and raised in Madison County, Illinois, and went...

A Frank Memoir About Doctors, Patients, and the Health-Care System

“In 1981, 2 days after my older brother Matthew was born, my father sawed off the tip of his index finger.” So begins No Apparent Distress: A Doctor’s Coming of Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine, a memoir by Rachel Pearson, MD, who is currently a resident at Seattle Children’s Hospital. ...

A Social Media Guide by a Doctor for Doctors

Today’s brave new world of digital technology has both enhanced and compromised the day-to-day operational efficiency of ultrabusy oncologists who are struggling to balance patient care with the rapid evolution of technology. Like all scientific advances, health-care technology is a double-edged...

issues in oncology

The Immune System: Deciphering Recent Advances

Over the past decade, there has been renewed interest in developing immunologic therapies in cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several new biologic agents that target a patient’s immune system, some of which have produced profound clinical responses. However, the...

Big Data and the Learning Machine

BOOKMARK Title: The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our WorldAuthor: Pedro DomingosPublisher: Beacon PressPublication date: February 2017Price: $24.95, hardcover, 288 pages Technology is revolutionizing our understanding and treatment of diseases....

pain management
supportive care

Pediatric Cancer Pain May Be Misunderstood and Largely Undertreated

Cancer pain in children poses certain unique challenges. Over the past decade, insightful research into pediatric cancer pain has focused on pain management that incorporates nonopioid therapies into standard care. To shed light on this important issue, The ASCO Post spoke with Christine T....

breast cancer

Growing Use of Molecular Pathology May Help Avoid Overtreatment of Early Breast Cancer

The emerging field of molecular pathology focuses on the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of genes and gene activity within organs and tissues. This information has transformed our thinking about the biologic diversity of breast cancers and has enhanced our treatment...

breast cancer

Monica Morrow, MD, Tumbled Gender Barriers to Build a Career in Surgical Oncology

Breast cancer surgeon Monica Morrow, MD, came from a town in the far northeast reaches of suburban Philadelphia. “I guess because there were only two girls in our family, I was the son my father never had, and he reared me that way. When we were playing catch, if I missed the ball and got hit in...

Refocusing Doctor-Patient Conversations

BOOKMARK Title: What Patients Say, What Doctors HearAuthor: Danielle Ofri, MDPublisher: Beacon PressPublication date: February 2017Price: $24.95, hardcover, 288 pages Despite our scientific and medical advances, the single most important diagnostic tool is the doctor-patient conversation, which is ...

The Serendipitous Road to Drug Development

BOOKMARK Title: The Drug Hunters: The Improbable Quest to Discover New MedicinesAuthors: Donald R. Kirsch, PhD, and Ogi Ogas, PhDPublisher: Arcade PublishingPublication date: January 2017Price: $24.99, hardcover, 328 pages Only about 1 in 100 drug discovery projects initiated by the pharmaceutical ...

cns cancers

Combinations of Novel Treatment Approaches Continue to Make Progress in Overcoming Challenges of Pediatric Brain Tumors

Nearly 2,500 children in the United States are diagnosed with brain tumors each year, making these malignancies among the most common solid tumors in children and adolescents. Despite advances over the past few decades, the treatment of brain tumors remains one of the most challenging clinical...

lung cancer

The Ongoing Challenges of Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer persistently remains the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. Only about 15% of lung cancers are diagnosed at the localized stage, when clinical intervention could markedly improve patient outcomes. For decades, lung cancer specialists and advocacy...

A New Book Deals With an Age-Old Crisis: Cancer Patients and Mortality

The field of psycho-oncology began to take hold in the mid-1970s, when the “C” word was beginning to lose its long-held stigmatization, and patients with cancer could finally begin to openly reveal their diagnosis and express their feelings about their life-threatening disease. Despite that social ...

leukemia

Different Subtypes of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Create Both Clinical and Research Challenges

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common leukemia in adults. Each year, about 20,000 Americans will be diagnosed with AML, and roughly 10,000 people in this country will die of the disease. AML progresses quickly, and unless treatment begins soon and is effective , the prognosis is grim....

issues in oncology

Can You Hear Me Now? Listening to the Cancer Patient

At this year’s ASCO Quality Care Symposium, Neeraj K. Arora, PhD, Associate Director at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, opened his presentation by stressing that integrating the patient’s voice and experience into the clinical setting produces better health outcomes.1 Dr. Arora,...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

An Oncology Care Model: One Institute’s Experience

At this year’s ASCO Quality Care Symposium, Blase N. Polite, MD, MPP, Associate Professor of Medicine at The University of Chicago Medical Center, examined his practice’s experience with the Oncology Care ­Model, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services test payment and delivery program...

Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, ‘Father of Modern Transplantation,’ Dies at Age 90

Scientific and clinical pioneers have one thing in common: they move beyond their comfort zone and take calculated risks. One such pioneer, whose calculated risks gave hope to otherwise hopelessly ill people, was Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, who performed the world’s first successful liver...

health-care policy

CancerLinQ: Big Data for Quality Benchmarking

At this year’s ASCO Quality Care Symposium, CancerLinQ’s Vice President and Medical Director, Robert S. Miller, MD, shed light on CancerLinQ’s current and future value in the oncology community.1 Dr. Miller opened by explaining to the audience that CancerLinQ™ is an instrument for quality...

issues in oncology

Harnessing Implementation Science to Improve Cancer Care Delivery

Implementation science encompasses the study of methods to accelerate integration of evidence into practice and policy to improve health-care outcomes. At the 2017 ASCO Quality Care Symposium, Sandra A. Mitchell, PhD, CRNP, of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National...

health-care policy
pain management

ASCO Addresses New Policies That Threaten Access to Opioids

Since the mid-2000s, medication and illicit drug abuse in the United Sates has steadily increased, creating what has now been termed an “opioid epidemic.” In response, Congress and the Bush and Obama Administrations have launched intervention and regulatory proposals to help turn the troubling...

breast cancer

An Oncologist’s Straightforward Guide for Women With Breast Cancer

If you Google the search term “breast cancer,” about 155,000,000 results will pop up in .83 seconds. Add to that pamphlets, journal articles, and library shelves bending under the weight of books written about breast cancer. That’s a mind-bending amount of information to parse through for the...

Leader in Cancer Care and Prevention, Charles A. LeMaistre, MD, Dies

In 1978, Charles A. “Mickey” LeMaistre, MD, was named President of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. During his 18-year tenure, MD Anderson became a world leader in outpatient care for cancer patients and the nation’s largest ambulatory treatment and surgery programs in cancers....

Co-Discoverer of the Philadelphia Chromosome, Peter Nowell, MD, Dies

Peter Nowell, MD, was a pathologist at the University of Pennsylvania studying leukemia cells under a microscope when he happened to wash his slides with tap water instead of laboratory solution. Viewing the newly cleaned slides under a microscope, he saw that the water had caused the cell’s...

Oliver Smithies, PhD, Nobel Laureate Who Discovered Gene Targeting, Dies

The ability to artificially alter DNA opens the door to new scientific understanding and treatments for various diseases. Oliver Smithies, PhD, made the crucial discovery that a disease-causing gene could be modified. For that and other groundbreaking work, he, along with two other scientists, was ...

issues in oncology

An Insider’s Account of the AIDS Epidemic

On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) describing cases of a rare lung infection in five young gay men in Los Angeles. The men had other unusual infections as well, indicating their immune systems were compromised....

gynecologic cancers

An Ovarian Cancer Survivor’s Story

Ovarian cancer, the deadliest of gynecologic cancers, is usually diagnosed after the disease has spread. Susan Evans was a secondary English and remedial reading teacher for 32 years in Bradford, Pennsylvania. She was on several advisory boards and was recognized by the Pennsylvania Senate and...

palliative care

Canadian Study Looks at an Integrated Palliative Care Model

Although initiation of palliative care from the time of cancer diagnosis produces optimal outcomes for patients, this strategy is often not practiced. A recent Canadian study conducted in patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers examined the opinions of patients with advanced cancer and...

issues in oncology

Telemedicine: Transforming Health Care One Computer at a Time

Telehealth is the delivery of health care remotely via telecommunication tools. Its aim is to increase access to care, especially for patients with chronic diseases such as cancer and for populations for whom care is not always available. With the growing availability of broadband and portable...

Jennifer Lycette, MD, Takes Pride in Delivering Cancer Care to Those Most in Need in Northwest Oregon

Born and reared in Anchorage, a city located in Southcentral Alaska, farther north than St. Petersburg, Russia, Jennifer Lycette, MD, grew up during the 1970s and 1980s. “We were fairly isolated from the lower 48. We didn’t have cable TV in Anchorage, and I remember my father would turn off the TV ...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

ASCO’s State Affiliate Council: Helping Practices to Meet the Challenges Ahead

ASCO’s State Affiliate Council serves as an advisory group to ­ASCO’s Board of Directors on issues relating to its State/Regional Affiliates and their members, and serves as a vehicle for effective communications between the Board and domestic membership. The Council is made up of physician...

genomics/genetics

Understanding Cancer Epigenetics and Its Clinical Implications

The field of epigenetics emerged in the 1990s and has been described with somewhat variable meanings. In 2008, a meeting at the Cold Spring Harbor laboratory arrived at a definition of epigenetics by consensus: “A stably heritable phenotype resulting from changes in a chromosome without...

prostate cancer
issues in oncology

A Gleason 6 Tumor: Is It Cancer, and Should It Be Treated?

The diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer have long been a source of controversy among the oncology community, the political sector, and patient advocacy groups. Most notably, the decision to biopsy a man’s prostate gland rests largely on his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test numbers, the...

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