ASCO's CancerProgress.Net: Where We've Come From, Where We Are, and Where We're Going 

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The British science historian James Burke once wrote, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you are.” To tell the story of where we are in the treatment of people with cancer and how we got there, ASCO launched an ambitious history project in 2011 with a new website, CancerProgress.Net (

CancerProgress.Net is a resource for anyone with an interest in the progress that has been made and continues to be made against cancer. The site demonstrates the significant progress that has been made in cancer treatment, diagnosis, detection, and prevention in the past 50 years—within the lifetimes of many current ASCO members, some of whom have taken part in creating this history. Yet it also demonstrates that much work remains to be done in reducing cancer incidence and mortality.

“Clinical research has played a major part in the advances in the last few decades in cancer treatment,” said Robert Sticca, MD, of University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and an executive editor of CancerProgress.Net. “Without the research funded through national cooperative group trials, I don’t think we would have made many of the advances we’ve made.”

Interactive Timeline

The central feature of the site is an interactive timeline of major milestones in cancer treatment, prevention, and detection, covering 17 different cancer types. Three cancer timelines were added to the site in 2012: liver, stomach, and head and neck cancer. The new timelines were curated by CancerProgress.Net specialty editors Ghassan K. Abou-Alfa, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (liver); David H. Ilson, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering (stomach); and Everett E. Vokes, MD, of University of Chicago (head and neck).

Last December, ASCO added a new section to CancerProgress.Net dedicated to the most important clinical cancer advances from the past year, based on ASCO’s annual Clinical Cancer Advances report. The report complements ASCO’s Blueprint for Accelerating Progress Against Cancer, also featured on the site, which lays out ASCO’s vision for a revitalized research system that delivers more effective and personalized cancer therapies, faster.

Engaging Visitors

The site was recently expanded to feature the voices of patients and advocates, who speak to the value of cancer research and the specific and personal impact it has had in their lives. These compelling video interviews have become instantly popular. The site also includes video interviews with oncologists that help bring the story of cancer research progress alive.

“CancerProgress.Net is an engaging resource providing an overview of how far we’ve come in the past several decades, and the important work we have left to do,” said Howard Sandler, MD, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and an executive editor of CancerProgress.Net. “The story of this progress shows just how urgent it is that we continue the momentum with sustained public and private support for clinical cancer research.”

To help users delve even more deeply into the progress made in recent decades, the site editors last year added links to primary research articles associated with the advances chronicled on the interactive website. In addition, visitors can use the site’s data visualizer to examine cancer statistics.

ASCO created CancerProgress.Net to mark the 40th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971, which led to major new investments in cancer research and significant increases in cancer survival. ■

© 2013. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.