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For James Allison, PhD, Perseverance and Hard Science Are Paramount in Cancer Research

For this installment in the Living a Full Life series of articles, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, interviewed immunology pioneer James Allison, PhD, Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Research,...

A Lifetime of Accomplishments in Oncology Brings Knighthood to Sir Murray F. Brennan, MD, FACS

Sir Murray F. Brennan, MD, FACS, was born on April 2, 1940, in Auckland, New Zealand, which lies on and around an isthmus surrounded by the sparkling azure waters of the Hauraki Gulf. “I was born at the beginning of World War II. Fortunately, my father was too old to be drafted into the army. I...

Nancy L. Bartlett, MD, Moved From Engineering to Medicine After a Stint in the ER

Nationally recognized oncologist Nancy L. Bartlett, MD, had an early love for mathematics and a swooning aversion to the sight of blood. “I was born and reared in Kansas City, Missouri and am a Midwesterner at heart. No one in the family was involved in medicine. My mom was an elementary school...

Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FASCO, a Cattle Rancher’s Daughter, Becomes ASCO President

ASCO President-Elect Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FASCO, was born and reared in Wyoming, where her family ran a cattle ranch in the foothills of the snow-topped peaks of the Wind River Range (or “Winds” for short), a place of breathtakingly uncluttered vistas where the chief feature is the air...

issues in oncology

Doctoring Is a Family Tradition for Medical Oncologist Virginia G. Kaklamani, MD

Virginia G. Kaklamani, MD, Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio and leader of the center’s breast cancer program, was born and reared in Athens, Greece. “I spent my formative years in Athens, where I attended school. My father is a physician and my mom’s a...

issues in oncology
legislation

Decision Aids Reflect Patients’ Values and Preferences for Care: So Why Aren’t More Oncologists Using Them?

Overwhelming evidence shows that patient decision aids, such as educational booklets, videos, or Web-based tools that take into account patients’ values and personal preferences, hold enormous promise for improving the informed consent process. Patient decision aids both reduce unwanted medical...

hematologic malignancies
leukemia

A River Runs Through the Life of a Leukemia Specialist

GUEST EDITOR Dr. Abraham is the Director of the Breast Oncology Program at Taussig Cancer Institute, and Professor of Medicine, Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic.   MATT KALAYCIO, MD Affiliation: Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer InstituteOn balancing priorities: “As an oncologist in...

solid tumors
breast cancer

Mentorship From a Past ASCO President and Others Steers a Career to Academic Research

  Breast cancer specialist Stacy L. Moulder, MD, was born and reared in Brookhaven, Mississippi, a small town southwest of the state capital of Jackson. “I was always interested in math and science, and I had a wonderful biology teacher in high school. It was when the advanced placement courses...

gynecologic cancers

Kathleen M. Schmeler, MD: A Gynecologic Oncology Activist for Underserved Women

Kathleen M. Schmeler, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, was given the “Heroes in Medicine” award from Physician’s Weekly in May 2016. Her primary work is in cervical cancer...

supportive care

Mackenzi Pergolotti, PhD, OTR/L: A Leader in the Emerging Field of Occupational Therapy in Oncology

Oncology occupational therapist Mackenzi Pergolotti, PhD, OTR/L, was born in Buffalo, New York. “I lived there until I was 6,” she shared. “Then my family moved around the state a bit, finally settling in the small town of Bath, situated near the Finger Lakes—a beautiful area in central New ...

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...

issues in oncology

Is Medical Assistance in Dying Compassionate Care?

Suicidal ideation while receiving end-of-life cancer care is not unusual but can often be reversed by palliative and psychosocial oncology interventions. That said, there are patients who, even after intensive interventions, request medical assistance in dying. Physician-assisted death has been a...

Katherine E. Reeder-Hayes, MD, Sees Equity as Next Big Challenge in Breast Cancer Care

Breast cancer specialist Katherine E. Reeder-Hayes, MD, MBA, was born on a farm in Morgan County, Alabama. “My family grew soybeans and cotton and raised cattle. None of my family members were in the medical field, but I always felt comfortable around people who were sick or had emergencies and...

Radiation Oncologist Gives Clear Advice to Patients With Cancer

BOOKMARK Title: Cancer: What You Need to Know: Overcome the 10 Common Mistakes Patients MakeAuthor: Stephen A. Rosenberg, MDPublisher: Stephen Rosenberg, MDYear Published: November 2017Price: $9.99, paperback, 248 pages Stephen A. Rosenberg, MD, is Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at the...

A Vivid Look Back, a Cogent Look Forward

Cancer memoirs come in a variety of literary styles and voices. Not surprisingly, the most poignant cancer memoirs are by those who are writing, in essence, their final words before departing this earth. The most widely read of that variety has been the beautifully written best seller When Breath...

Restorative Effects of Painting Offset the Demands of Oncology

Oncologists are apt to give patients the worst news of their lives: You have cancer. Yet studies show that, by and large, despite the stressful aspects of treating people with a life-threatening disease, oncologists report one of the highest percentages of professional satisfaction among medical...

hematologic malignancies

Early Love of Science and Famous Mentor Paved the Way for Gwen L. Nichols, MD, in Hematologic Cancer

Nationally regarded leukemia and lymphoma specialist Gwen L. Nichols, MD, was born in the Bronx, New York, and when she became of school age, her parents moved to the upstate suburb of Chappaqua, where she grew up. Asked if there were any physicians in her family who might have influenced her...

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...

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...

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...

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. ...

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...

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 ...

breast cancer
lymphoma

Clinical Researcher George P. Canellos, MD, Closely Involved With Two of the Most Influential Treatments in Cancer Care

George P. Canellos, MD, President of ASCO from 1993 to 1994, was born in Boston on November 1, 1934. “I came from a business family and never wanted to do business at all. As long back as I can remember, I always found medicine attractive—not only because you could help people, but you could also...

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...

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...

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...

multiple myeloma

Lower Risk of All-Cause Mortality in Multiple Myeloma Reported With Treatment at Higher-Volume Facilities

In an analysis of data from the National Cancer Database reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Go et al found a lower risk of all-cause mortality among patients with multiple myeloma treated at higher-volume facilities. Study Details The study included patients diagnosed with multiple...

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...

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

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 ...

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 ...

issues in oncology

Actively Recruiting Clinical Trials Focused on the Role of Obesity in Cancer

Study Title: A Pilot Study of a Protein-Sparing Modified Fast for Weight Loss in Obese Endometrial Cancer Survivors Study Type: Pilot/interventional/single-group assignment Study Sponsor and Collaborators: Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, National Cancer Institute  Purpose: To study whether the...

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,...

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...

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...

geriatric oncology
issues in oncology

Geriatric Patients With Cancer and the Problem of Polypharmacy

Older patients with cancer generally have multiple comorbidities, with each often requiring separate medications. Studies have shown that polypharmacy and inappropriate drug use are prevalent among older cancer patients, leading to an enormous amount of preventable adverse events, many requiring...

Surgical Oncologist Suzanne L. Topalian, MD, Shines at the Forefront of Groundbreaking Research in Cancer Immunotherapy

Nationally recognized surgical oncologist and researcher Suzanne L. Topalian, MD, had an early interest in the arts as well as science and decided to major in English upon entering Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. “I wanted to keep all my options open, so I also enrolled in a pre-med...

Noted Gastrointestinal Oncologist Leonard Saltz, MD, Tempers Optimism With Reality and Factors Cost Into the Equation of Value in Cancer Care

Leonard Saltz, MD, was born in New York, New York, and reared in Westchester County, in the suburbs of the City. Terrance Archer, his high-school biology teacher, whom Dr. Saltz described as a “force of nature,” a wonderful human being, and a major role model, influenced his nascent curiosity in...

In Memoriam

The ASCO Post remembers the following specialists in oncology who passed away in 2015–2016. Please write to editor@ASCOPost.com to recognize and pay tribute to others in a future issue. Mark R. Green, MD January 3, 1945–February 23, 2015 “Few people have impacted cancer clinical research in the...

With a Strong Personal Connection to His Patients, Stephen P. Hunger, MD, Strives for a Cure for All Children With Leukemia

Nationally regarded children’s cancer specialist Stephen P. Hunger, MD, was born and reared in South Windsor, a small suburb of Hartford, Connecticut. Dr. Hunger grew up in the mid-1960s and 1970s, and in his words, “South Windsor was a pretty homogeneous experience. There wasn’t really any ethnic...

Once a Vocational Nomad, Christine H. Chung, MD, Now Works to Promote Patient-Centered Care in Head and Neck Cancer

Christine H. Chung, MD, Chair of the Department of Head and Neck-Endocrine Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida, was born and reared in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Dr. Chung immigrated with her mother and two brothers to Los Angeles, where her family then resided. Dr. Chung did not speak ...

With an Illustrious Career in Breast Oncology, Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FASCO, Follows in the Footsteps of Giants as ASCO President-Elect

ASCO President-Elect Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FASCO, was born in Shelbyville, Indiana, a small city in the center of the state. “My dream was to become a high school basketball and track and field coach; my older brother wanted to be a doctor, and his ambitions also began in first grade,” revealed Dr....

supportive care

Occupational Therapy for Adults With Cancer: An Unmet Need

Adults with cancer are at high risk for functional limitations that would negatively affect their quality of life. Occupational therapy offers a range of supportive services, with the specific goal of helping these patients engage in life as independently as possible. To provide a better...

A Toolkit for Dealing With the Trauma of a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

This year, an estimated 180,890 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer; about 21,120 men die of the disease each year. On top of these sobering statistics, from screening to diagnosis and treatment, prostate cancer is fraught with controversy, creating untoward anxiety...

global cancer care

Oncology and Diplomacy in the Middle East

The Middle East is a vast region comprised largely of developing nations with complicated sociopolitical challenges, violent internecine disputes, and deeply fragmented health-care systems. Not surprisingly, the region’s suboptimal health care contributes to the late diagnosis and poor survival...

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