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issues in oncology

Oncology Communications Online: Pause and Think Before Hitting ‘Send’

The emergence of online technologies over the past few decades has fundamentally changed the way society communicates and shares information. This sea change has also had profound influence on the practice of medicine, from real-time information-sharing among colleagues, to having instant access...

Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, Pathologist, Former Director of the National Library of Medicine, Dies at 85

The National Library of Medicine, located in Bethesda, Maryland, was started in 1836 as a small collection of medical books and journals in the office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General. In the ensuing years, the library grew to become the world’s largest and most prestigious biomedical library, with ...

John Hansen, MD, Transplant Expert Who Founded Volunteer Donor Registries, Dies at 76

Over the past few decades, our understanding of transplant immunology has moved from basic allograft rejection to the current molecular level that offers life-saving treatments for patients with cancer. The scientific elegance of this remarkable therapy’s arc from experimental to standard of care...

A Vigorous Life Through the Prism of Impending Death

“Live while you’re living, friends,” writes Julie Yip-­Williams in her memoir, The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After. It was The New York Times bestseller when she died of stage IV colon cancer at the age of 42. She is the most recent of several...

Not for the Squeamish: Surgery in the 19th Century

Imagine undergoing major surgery in a grimy operating room without any form of antisepsis. That was the grim reality in the 1800s, when the ruling theory was that damage from “bad air” was responsible for infections in surgical wounds. Hospitals simply aired out the surgical wards at midday to...

breast cancer

Insightful Advice From a College Advisor Leads to an Unexpected Career in Oncology

For this installment of the Living a Full Life series, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, FACP, spoke with Tatiana M. Prowell, MD, who currently serves as Associate Professor of Oncology in the Breast Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and as a Medical Officer and...

head and neck cancer

Maura L. Gillison, MD, PhD, Pioneer in HPV-Related Head and Neck Cancer, Has Often Changed Lanes in Her Career

When The ASCO Post asked physician-scientist Maura L. Gillison, MD, PhD, where she was from, she answered, “North America.” Actually, she was born in Canada, but her father worked for a large international company, so the family moved regularly through Canada, the United States, and Mexico. “I...

prostate cancer

Looking at Prostate Cancer–Specific Mortality by Gleason Score and Race

Black men suffer disproportionately from prostate cancer, both in terms of incidence and mortality, compared with their white counterparts. However, a newer study conducted by investigators at the University of California, San Francisco, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, found that black...

breast cancer

Almost 20 Years Later, Breast Fitness Is More Relevant Than Ever

BOOKMARK Title: Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast CancerAuthors: Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD; Julie Gralow, MD; and Lisa TalbottPublisher: St. Martin’s PressPublication Date: October 2000 (first edition)Price: $48.75, hardcover, 352 pages   The...

V. Craig Jordan, CMG, OBE, PhD, DSc, Honored for Accomplishments in Women’s Health

The Companion of the Most Distinguished order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) is generally reserved for ambassadors and leaders of the United Kingdom’s defense and security services. Only 1, 750 appointees are permitted. This year, the Head of M16, the Secret Intelligence Service, was in the...

An Early Decision to Become an Oncologist

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.   For this installment of the Living a Full Life series, Guest Editor Jame Abraham, MD, FACP, spoke with Gilberto de Lima...

The Opioid Overdose Crisis: Victims, Villains, and the Gray Area in Between

According to politicians and the media, such as award-winning journalist Beth Macy, we are in the midst of the worst drug crisis in American history. Sparked first by oxycodone and broadening into heroin and fentanyl, opioid addiction is indeed ravaging communities across the nation, largely in...

The Obesity Epidemic From a Neuroscience Perspective

Since the 1970s, there has been an alarming increase in obesity. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese. Excess body weight is linked to numerous diseases, including more than 14 types of cancers. ...

survivorship

The Role of Primary Care Physicians in Pediatric Cancer Survivorship

The symptoms related to childhood cancers that first prompt parents to seek medical care may be as nonspecific as those of the flu or a number of other common ailments. Therefore, a suspicion of cancer sometimes emerges during a visit to the child’s primary care physician. Although primary care...

breast cancer
genomics/genetics

How Laura J. van ’t Veer, PhD, Became an Expert in Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer researcher and innovator Laura J. van ’t Veer, PhD, was born and reared in Amsterdam in 1957. “During high school, I had a wonderful biology teacher who was going through his own biology studies at the University of Amsterdam, and he was bringing that university-level education into...

issues in oncology

Is It Time to Reevaluate the P Value in Biomedical Research?

Developed in 1925 by British statistician Sir Ronald Fisher, the P value is a measure that is ever-present in abstracts and studies, a small statistical tool that has enormous power to aid research being published in the literature or support drug approval. Over the past several years, however, a...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

The Unhealthy Health-Care System, and How to Fix It

BOOKMARK Title: An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It BackAuthor: Elisabeth Rosenthal, MDPublisher: Penguin PressPublication Date: April 2017Price: $27.95, hardcover; 416 pages The United States spends considerably more on health care than all other...

Emergency Medicine Doctor Reflects on 5 Decades of Career Experiences

BOOKMARK Title: Patient Care: Death and Life in the Emergency RoomAuthor: Paul Seward, MDPublisher: CatapultPublication Date: July 2018Price: $22.95, hardcover, 240 page The history of emergency medicine residency training is interlaced with the impetus for specialty status in emergency medicine,...

A Compassionate Family Doctor Sparked an Interest in Medicine for Lori Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO

GUEST EDITOR Jame Abraham, MD, FACP Dr. Abraham is the Director of the Breast Oncology Program at Taussig Cancer Institute, and Professor of Medicine, Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic. For this installment of the Living a Full Life series of articles, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD,...

issues in oncology
genomics/genetics

Emerging Interest in Metabolic Pathways to Tumorigenesis

Although genetic aberrations are considered a major reason for cancer development, the importance of metabolic alterations in cancer development has emerged as a crucial aspect of contemporary cancer research. Better understanding of the metabolic traits in cancer cells could aid researchers in...

supportive care
issues in oncology

Looking Into the Future of Psychosocial Oncology

Over the past several decades, the field of psychosocial oncology has matured into an invaluable subspecialty that helps patients with cancer and their caregivers deal with the existential issues that arise in cancer, especially in the advanced-disease setting. In an effort to add to this...

A Pioneering Surgeon Who Opened Doors for Others, LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr, MD, Dies at 89

Lifting himself from the barriers of the segregated South, LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr, MD, would become a nationally regarded oncologic surgeon who opened doors for other in the medical profession. His career was distinguished by “firsts,” such as the first African America President of both the...

colorectal cancer
genomics/genetics

Henry T. Lynch, MD, Trailblazer in Hereditary Cancers, Dies at 91

Henry T. Lynch, MD, widely known as “the father of cancer genetics,” had an early life that could have been lifted from the pages of a Louis L’Amour novel. He dropped out of high school and using a falsified birth certificate joined the U.S. Navy at 16 years old, serving as a gunner on a marine...

Growing Up in a Medical Family Planted the Seed for a Career in Oncology for Karen Gelmon, MD

Karen Gelmon, MD, was born and reared in Saskatoon, the largest city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It is surrounded by vast prairie and situated along the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway and is home to the University of Saskatchewan. “We lived close to the University,” she shared. “My...

From Leeches to Liquid Biopsy: Uncovering the Mysteries of Blood

BOOKMARK Title: Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of BloodAuthor: Rose GeorgePublisher: Metropolitan BooksPublication date: October 2018Price: $27.00, hardcover, 368 pages Blood has been mythologized and misunderstood since the earliest records of humankind and still ...

Scientist, Father of A Child With Autism Pushes Back on the Antivaccine Movement

BOOKMARK Title: Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism DadAuthor: Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhDPublisher: Johns Hopkins University PressPublication date: October 2018Price: $22.95, hardcover; 240 pages English physician Edward Jenner invented...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

Major Settlement Raises Questions About Evidence-Based Value in Cancer Care

An Oklahoma jury recently awarded $25.5 million to the widower of a 53-year-old woman diagnosed with stage IV nasopharyngeal cancer who was denied coverage for proton therapy by her health insurer, Aetna. The patient’s family subsequently raised $92,000 to cover her proton therapy at The University ...

An Extended Family With Many Physicians Inspired a Career in Oncology

Head and neck cancer specialist Cristina P. Rodriguez, MD, was born and reared in Manila, the capital and largest city in the Philippines. “I grew up on the campus of the University of the Philippines, as both my parents were professors. I am one of three girls, and there was quite a bit of stress ...

Arti Hurria, MD, FASCO

The oncology community was deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Arti Hurria, MD, FASCO, a nationally regarded expert and advocate for elderly patients with cancer. Dr. Hurria died on November 7, 2018, in a traffic accident. At the time of her tragic death, Dr. Hurria was Director of the City...

An Aspiring Musician Changes Course and Becomes a Breast Cancer Specialist Who Makes Music

Internationally renowned breast cancer expert, Larry Norton, MD, FASCO, spent his formative years in a Long Island town that rubbed shoulders with the border of New York City. Making music was Dr. Norton’s first passion and a cheap subway ride landed him in Greenwich Village, the Holy Grail of the ...

Ahead of the Curve, Breast Cancer Specialist Advocates Prevention Through Exercise and Lifestyle

Breast cancer specialist Julie Gralow, MD, FASCO, Director, Breast Medical Oncology, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, has a straightforward philosophy about her career: “Cancer is about living, not dying. I enjoy helping my patients with breast cancer take control of their health through leading-edge ...

Never Forgetting His Roots Helps Surgical Oncologist Better Connect With His Patients

  Raja M. Flores, MD, grew up in New York’s Meatpacking District, a rough West Side neighborhood, light years before its gentrification into a hip commercial area, home to the Whitney Museum of American Art, high-end designer clothing stores and chic bars, and a stretch of the High Line (an...

From the Lab to the Clinic to the Sea: Balancing a Challenging Career

Internationally recognized breast cancer expert Lisa A. Carey, MD, FASCO, was born in New Jersey and moved to Montreal, where she attended an all-girls school (Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s School for Girls)  until age 8. When she was 9 years old, her father’s business ventures took the family back ...

A Lifetime Dedicated to Patients With Lung Cancer

Former ASCO President Paul Bunn, Jr, MD, FASCO, was born at the New York Hospital, the second oldest hospital in New York City and the third oldest in the nation. He grew up in DeWitt, New York, an eastern suburb of Syracuse, and went through the public-school system graduating from...

A Brilliant Career in Oncology Decided on a Coin Toss

Rajendra Achyut Badwe, MBBS, MS, was born and reared in the sprawling city of Mumbai, the most populous city in India. “My grandmother was a matron in an infectious disease hospital. At that time, smallpox was a serious issue, and the patient care challenges were momentous. She taught me the value...

Radiation Oncologist Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASCO, FASTRO, Enjoys Balancing Administrative and Clinical Roles

Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASCO, FASTRO, grew up in Washington, DC, and moved with her family to Philadelphia while in high school. She still considers the fast-paced DC–Philadelphia corridor her home, but her passion for a career in medicine, in part, took seed in a small town located in North...

breast cancer
issues in oncology
global cancer care

Breast Cancer Specialist Focuses on Educational Side of Oncology, Connecting Patients With Cancer Around the World

Internationally renowned breast cancer specialist Daniel A. Vorobiof, MD, was born in Santa Fe, Argentina, a province in the northeastern region of the country that is prone to catastrophic flooding. Asked about any early influences in his desire to pursue a career in medicine, Dr. Vorobiof...

Cancer Researcher Continues to Push the Envelope in Immunotherapy to Help Patients Live Longer

Nationally regarded cancer immunologist Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD, was born and reared in Georgetown, Guyana, on South America’s North Atlantic coast, noted for being the only South American country in which English is the official language. Her parents were descendants of indentured immigrants...

A Career Path Balancing Research, Patient Care, and Everyday Life

In elementary school, Laurie H. Sehn, MD, MPH, dreamed of becoming a teacher. However, as she moved through high school, her passion for science blossomed, as did her desire to have an impact on people’s lives. “I began to seriously consider medicine because it provided the dual opportunity to...

Unlocking the Secrets of the Immune System, Story by Story

The story of immunotherapy is one of the most interesting and provocative in medical history. William B. Coley, MD, first harnessed the immune system against cancer in the late 19th century by injecting mixtures of live and inactivated bacteria into patients’ tumors. For various reasons,...

An Insider’s Account of the Nobel Prize–Winning Race to Uncover the Secret of the Ribosome

Situated in the nucleus of the human cell is DNA, the secret of life discovered by the Nobel Prize laureates Drs. Watson and Crick. More recently, another scientist, Venki Ramakrishnan, PhD, won a Nobel Prize for his work in uncovering another secret within the human cell: the structure of the...

Otis W. Brawley, MD, MACP, FASCO: Doctor, Policy Advocate, Writer, and Champion of the Underserved

  In this installment of Living a Full Life, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, FACP, spoke with Otis W. Brawley, MD, MACP, FASCO, a global leader in cancer research and health disparities. Dr. Brawley, who served as Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for the American Cancer Society (ACS) and...

issues in oncology
gynecologic cancers
global cancer care

Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening Among HIV-Infected Women in Tanzania

Population screening programs and the advent of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination have made cervical cancer largely a preventable disease. Despite these advances, ­cervical cancer remains a leading cause of cancer death for ­women in low- and middle-income countries. A recent study identified...

breast cancer
global cancer care

Ghanaian Oncologist Yehoda M. Martei, MD, Seeks Ways to Improve Outcomes in the Developing World

Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women globally. Due to a lack of early interventions, most women in low- and middle-income countries have advanced disease at the time of diagnosis, conferring a grim prognosis. Yehoda M. Martei, MD, of the Department of Medicine,...

global cancer care

Measuring the Burden of Global Cancer as a Tool for Policymakers

The Global Burden of Disease Study was initiated in 1990, commissioned by the World Bank. At that time, the study was conducted mainly by researchers at Harvard and the World Health Organization (WHO). Since then the study has gone through many iterations to its present structure, which is a...

issues in oncology

The Evolving Role of Pathologists in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer

In the past, the role of the pathologist was primarily to present anatomic pathology findings on various specimens, particularly at tumor boards. However, in the emerging age of personalized medicine and molecular diagnostics, the responsibilities of pathologist have greatly expanded into...

palliative care

House Calls With Her Physician Father Sparked an Interest in Palliative Care for Janet L. Abrahm, MD

Nationally regarded palliative care expert Janet L. Abrahm, MD, was born and reared in San Francisco. Her father was a solo practitioner who saw medicine as a great profession. “My father would come home from his office for dinner and when he finished, he’d do house calls, often bringing us with...

multiple myeloma

Robert A. Kyle, MD, Luminary in Myeloma Research: Journey From a One-Room Schoolhouse to Groundbreaking Research

In this installment of Living a Full Life, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, FACP, interviewed multiple myeloma pioneer Robert A. Kyle, MD, whose groundbreaking work has changed the practice of hematology. Among his many honors are the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award from ASCO and the Wallace H....

genomics/genetics

Human Gene Therapy: Progress and Oversight

The early debate over the social and ethical implications of gene therapy led the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee in 1974. However, the risks of human gene therapies were largely unknown until 1999, when a patient died of a massive immune...

Obesity, Examined and Explained

BOOKMARK Title: The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight LossAuthor: Jason Fung, MDPublisher: Greystone BooksDate: March 2016Price: $18.95, paperback; 296 pages According to data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), obesity plays a significant role in developing at least 12 different ...

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