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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...

Pioneer in Cancer Immunology, Richmond T. Prehn, MD, Dies

Until 1957, the prevailing thought was that since cancers develop in normal patients, they are not recognized as foreign by the immune system. That changed when Richmond T. Prehn, MD, and his laboratory assistant, Joan Main, showed that tumors induced by chemical carcinogens in mice could...

global cancer care

Peer-Reviewed Indian Journal of Surgical Oncology Meets Challenges, Succeeds in Developing Country

Launching a new cancer journal is a risky and arduous endeavor, especially for a specialty publication in resource-challenged countries in the developing world. To succeed, a specialty journal must publish articles from established clinical researchers that quickly garner funding and captivate its...

gynecologic cancers

Elizabeth M. Swisher, MD, Finds Juggling Research Projects and Clinical Care Improves Both

Elizabeth M. Swisher, MD, Medical Director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Prevention Program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, enjoys developing long-term patient relationships and helping patients who are confronted with cancer and terminal issues. She is particularly interested in the...

issues in oncology

Disparities of Care: Navigation System Helps Connect Underserved Populations to Cancer Services

Although we’ve seen substantial progress in cancer treatment, screening, diagnosis, and prevention over the past decades, certain underserved populations have not reaped the benefits of many of these advances. Turning research into actionable programs in this area was highlighted by a presentation ...

multiple myeloma

Genetic Link May Explain Outcomes Differences in Multiple Myeloma in African Americans

African Americans are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and twice as likely to die from this form of cancer. Research presented at the 9th American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Conference on the Science of Cancer Health...

lung cancer
cost of care

A Lung Cancer Specialist Talks About Value in Cancer Care

Over the past few years, the term value-based cancer care has become integrated into the vernacular of the oncology community. Value is a subjective term, which is defined largely by its clinical setting. However, value in cancer care is evaluated by the multiple stakeholders involved in the...

leukemia

Susan M. O’Brien, MD, Embraces the Challenge of Balancing Patient Care With Clinical Trial Investigation

Susan M. O’Brien, MD, one of the nation’s foremost leukemia experts, told The ASCO Post that she wanted to become a doctor since her earliest memories. “The idea of being able to help sick people always appealed to me,” said Dr. O’Brien, who was born in Manhattan but spent her formative years in...

Internationally Renowned Statistician on Cancer Clinical Trials, Daniel J. Sargent, PhD, Dies

In the 20th century, the field of statistics developed and was gradually applied to clinical research. The use of statistics allows clinical researchers to form reasonable and accurate inferences from collected information and to make sound decisions in the presence of uncertainty. Moreover,...

Nobel Laureate Roger Y. Tsien, PhD, Dies

In 2008, Roger Y. Tsien, PhD, shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry with Drs. Osamu Shimomura and Martin Chalfie for helping turn green fluorescent protein from a jellyfish into a research tool that could tag cancer cells or track the advance of Alzheimer’s disease. “Our work is often described as...

gynecologic cancers

An Ovarian Cancer Expert’s Guide Offers Insight, Wisdom, and Hope

There have been numerous books explicating the information a physician or patient needs to know about our current clinical state in the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. Many of them are good, but rare is a well-written book in the cancer genre that offers solid scientific hope exceeding ...

issues in oncology

The Halifax Project: A New Approach to Combination Therapy

On August 13, 2013, more than 100 cancer researchers and physicians from around the world met in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, to discuss 2 challenging problem areas in cancer. One group was focused on the carcinogenic potential of low-dose exposure to chemical mixtures in the environment, and the...

Pioneer in Chemoradiation Robert B. Livingston, MD, Dies

Over the past couple of decades, chemoradiation for several cancers, such as lung and breast, has advanced in efficacy and side-effect tolerance, prolonging survival and quality of life for patients. One of the pioneers in chemoradiation, Robert B. Livingston, MD, died on September 8, 2016. Dr....

gynecologic cancers

An Oncologist Battles a Preventable Epidemic: Cancer of the Cervix

Cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates—perhaps more than any other chronic disease—shine a grim spotlight on global disparities of care. It is one of the most preventable of human malignancies, yet it is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women around the world. It kills 260,000 women...

bladder cancer
kidney cancer
prostate cancer

Multitude of Mentors Help Shape an Illustrious Career in Oncology

Sumanta K. Pal, MD, has had a longer career in oncology than many other colleagues his age. Perhaps the reason for that may center on his starting college at the age 13 and medical school at the age of 17. Today this internationally recognized leader in genitourinary cancers is Assistant Professor ...

Former Clinical Director at the NCI, Gregory A. Curt, MD, Dies

In MemoriamGregory A. Curt, MD1952 – 2016 Gregory A. Curt, MD, Former Clinical Director at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and nationally regarded expert on translational oncology died on July 31, 2016. He was 64 years old. Dr. Curt received his MD with distinction in research from the...

breast cancer

A Complete Guide to Breast Surgery and Reconstruction

BookmarkTitle: Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for YouAuthor: Patricia Anstett, with photography by Kathleen GalliganPublisher: Rowman & LittlefieldPublication date: June 2, 2016Price: $35.00; hardcover, 224 pages Over the past 2 decades, we have seen tremendous...

Surgical Oncologist Quan P. Ly, MD, FACS, Flees From Vietnam and Finds a Home at the University of Nebraska

After the Vietnam War, close to a million refugees, known as “boat people,” fled Vietnam, hazarding the open ocean on dangerously overloaded vessels. The term “boat people” is often used generically to refer to all the Vietnamese (about 2 million) who left their country by any means between 1975...

issues in oncology
supportive care

ASCO’s 2016 Quality Training Program: Meet the First International Participant From Greece

Launched in 2014, ASCO’s Quality Training Program was developed to prepare oncology providers to design, implement, and lead successful quality-improvement activities in their practices. It is a 6-month program that includes a structured and facilitated improvement project selected by each...

Internationally Renowned Geneticist, Alfred George Knudson, MD, PhD, Dies

Considered a visionary in cancer research, Alfred George Knudson, MD, PhD, was internationally recognized for his “two-hit theory” of cancer causation, which explained the relationship between hereditary and nonhereditary cancer types, predicting the existence of tumor suppressor genes. Dr. Knudson ...

The Building Block of Life, Brick by Brick

BookmarkTitle: The Gene: An Intimate HistoryAuthor: Siddhartha Mukherjee, MDPublisher: ScribnerPublication date: May 2016Price: $32.00; hardcover, 608 pagesOn February 28, 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick entered The Eagle, a favorite watering hole for researchers working at the University of...

issues in oncology
geriatric oncology

Safety Concerns Weigh Heavily in Elderly Patients With Cancer

Active pharmacovigilance in detecting and assessing the safety signals related to drugs and devices, and disseminating those findings to relevant stakeholders, is an important component in delivering safe, high-quality care in the cancer setting. To reach a better understanding of this issue,...

The Healing Power of Words

Feminist literary scholar Susan Gubar was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in November 2008. She then began her emigration “from the world of the healthy to the domain of the ill,” she wrote in her acclaimed book, Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer. In her memoir, she...

An Epic Medical Story by an Old-Style Doctor on the Front Lines of Care

The U.S. health-care system is a $3 trillion behemoth of dizzying complexity. Government oversight, ever-changing regulations, mountains of paperwork, electronic health records, initiative after initiative, and so forth, all of which has reshaped the delivery of care, for the good and bad. But...

Internationally Renowned Geneticist, Alfred George Knudson, MD, PhD, Dies

Considered a visionary in cancer research, Alfred George Knudson, MD, PhD, was internationally recognized for his “two-hit theory” of cancer causation, which explained the relationship between hereditary and nonhereditary cancer types, predicting the existence of tumor-suppressor genes. ...

colorectal cancer

Prevention Needed to Stem Global Rise in Human Papillomavirus–Related Anal Cancer

The incidence rate of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related anal cancer and its precursor lesion, anal intraepithelial neoplasia, is rising in the United States and globally. Although 5-year survival rates in localized disease are generally favorable, survival in metastatic disease remains poor,...

A Concerned Physician Reflects on Today’s Doctor-Patient Relationship

Doctoring isn’t what it used to be. Like many other professions, it has gone through a multitude of changes ostensibly to improve efficiencies and lower costs. The digital age has reshaped clinical practice from the front office to the exam room. And with the advent of electronic health records...

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