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issues in oncology

Expert on Public Health and Policy Looks at Precision Oncology

A study published in JAMA Oncology found that 31 genome-targeted anticancer agents were in use as of January 2018.1 To shed light on the current state of precision oncology, The ASCO Post recently spoke with David M. Cutler, PhD, the Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics in the Department of ...

hematologic malignancies

Participating in ‘Tremendous Progress’ in Hematologic Oncology, From Chernobyl to Stem Cell Transplantation

Richard E. Champlin, MD, Chairman of the nation’s largest Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, was born in Milwaukee and spent his formative years in Chicago. After high school, Dr. Champlin followed an early ambition in...

A Retired Oncologist Remains Involved in the Science and Policy of Oncology

The history of medicine once was featured in medical school curricula. That is becoming less common due to time restriction and the increased prevalence of more technical topics. However, the importance of the history of medicine cannot be overstated: It shapes every aspect of our cultural,...

issues in oncology

Comparing Prescribing Habits in Academic and Nonacademic Oncology Settings

The art of oncology practice is tailored to the individual patient with cancer, and with the advent of highly personalized targeted therapies, patient outcomes have improved markedly over the past several decades. Although much of oncology practice is guideline- or protocol-driven, chemotherapy...

breast cancer

Gabrielle Rocque, MD, MSPH, Followed Three Generations of Doctors Into a Career in Medicine

In 2017, breast cancer expert Gabrielle Rocque, MD, MSPH, received an American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Grant for her work in enhancing shared decision-making for patients with advanced breast cancer. “I come from three generations of physicians,” shared Dr. Rocque. “My father (Dr. ...

Innovator and Leader in Radiation Oncology, Eli J. Glatstein, MD, FASCO, Dies

Eli J. Glatstein, MD, FASCO, Morton M. Kligerman Professor, Radiation Oncology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, made a significant impact on how different cancers are diagnosed and treated. His research improved how physicians stage and treat cancer,...

A Deeper Understanding of the Miracle of the Human Body

Despite millennia of anatomic and biomedical search and discovery, there are parts and functions of the human body that remain a mystery. For years, medical students were taught that there are 78 organs in the human body. In February 2017, that number was revised, with the announcement of a new...

A Caregiver’s Tale of Struggle and Lingering Questions

The role of caregiver in the cancer scenario is complicated by various emotions and circumstances beyond the control of the caregiver and the person with cancer. Caregiver stress occurs when there isn’t the time to do all that’s asked or expected of one. Caregiver stress evolves into burnout when...

Radiation Oncologist Felix Y. Feng, MD, Strives for Balance Between Work and Family Life

In this installment of the Living a Full Life series, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, FACP, spoke with Felix Y. Feng, MD, Professor of Radiation Oncology, Urology, and Medicine; George and Judy Marcus Distinguished Professor; Vice Chair of Translational Research in the Department of Radiation...

hematologic malignancies

Transplantation Specialist Karen Ballen, MD, Treasures Long-Term Connections With Her Patients

Karen Ballen, MD, an international expert in stem cell transplantation, particularly for patients who have a difficult time finding a donor, was born and reared in the Bronx in a family that encouraged academic and professional pursuits. “My grandfather was an old-fashioned pediatrician who made...

issues in oncology

Patient Access to High-Quality Oncologic Pathology Improves Care

Accurate and timely diagnoses are critical components for developing treatment plans for patients with cancer and also for informing prognosis and assessment of responses. Pathologists are an essential part of the oncology team because they have specialized knowledge that helps inform diagnostic...

issues in oncology

The Rise and Fall of Tobacco Products in the United States

It was a press conference on a cold Saturday in January 1964 that had garnered international attention, but the trappings were those of a secret government meeting, behind locked doors secured by uniformed guards. To the chagrin of the reporters, “no smoking” signs had been hastily posted around...

issues in oncology
genomics/genetics

A Systematic Approach to Identifying the Molecular Factors That Lead to Cancer Progression

Although gene mutations are the primary drivers of carcinogenesis, an array of complex and tumor-specific molecular interaction networks determine cancer cell behavior. To learn more about this line of inquiry, The ASCO Post recently spoke with Andrea Califano, Dr., Professor of Chemical Biology...

lung cancer
immunotherapy

Lung Cancer Expert Julie R. Brahmer, MD, MSc, Was an Early Believer in Immunotherapy—and Still Is

Lung cancer specialist Julie R. Brahmer, MD, MSc, comes from a long line of Midwest farmers who still run a family operation. “I’m originally from what I would call the middle of nowhere in Nebraska. My father is a sixth-generation farmer, and my mother is a nurse. I was inclined toward medicine at ...

Hematologist/Oncologist Augustine L. Perrotta, DO, Dies at 80

On November 24, hematologist/oncologist Augustine L. Perrotta, DO, died, days before his 81st birthday. Ironically, Dr. Perrotta died of renal cell carcinoma, presenting with metastasis to the spine, a topic about which he had written and lectured extensively. Clinical Professor of Medicine at...

health-care policy

Studies Show the U.S. Health-Care System Hampered by Waste and Trailing Other High-Income Countries

Recent studies show that at least one-quarter of our nation’s health-care expenditures are being consumed by waste, fraud, and abuse. Moreover, since 2004, annual reports from the Commonwealth Fund have consistently rated the performance of our health-care system last among high-income countries,...

gastrointestinal cancer

Working to Improve Survival Rates in Pancreatic Cancer

Although pancreatic cancer survival rates have slowly improved over the past few decades for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the 1-year rate is 20%, and the 5-year rate is about 9%. There is no single diagnostic test to detect pancreatic cancer, and less than 20% of tumors are confined to ...

An Early Interest in Biology and People Led to a Career in Oncology for Nina Shah, MD

Multiple myeloma expert Nina Shah, MD, was born and reared in the Northeast. During grade school, she developed a passion for science that would lead to an early decision to pursue a career in medicine. “My ninth-grade biology class really got me interested in human biology, and that’s when I...

supportive care
pain management

Assessing Cancer Pain Management in the Era of the Opioid Epidemic

A vast majority of patients with cancer receiving opioids for the management of pain will adhere to the opioids as prescribed and will have no major difficulties with dose reduction and even treatment discontinuation if the pain syndrome resolves. However, about 20% of patients with cancer are at...

lung cancer

Despite Challenges, Pioneer in CT Screening for Early Lung Cancer Works to Move the Field Forward

In 1999, a team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College advocated the use of a then-novel practice: low-dose radiation CT screening for lung cancer. It captures a full thoracic image in a single breath hold, and can recognize a tumor in its earliest stages when the chance for cure is...

A Need for Human Connection Led to a Rewarding Career in Geriatric Oncology for Lodovico Balducci, MD

Older adults are the fastest-growing segment of our population, and more than 65% of patients with newly diagnosed cancer are 65 years of age or older. Although we now recognize the special needs of older patients with cancer, the field of geriatric oncology emerged quietly, with early growing...

An Oncologist’s Thoughtful Examination of Cancer and Personal Loss

“I could not have written this book when I was 30 years old. It is not because of any great discoveries I have made or research papers I have published since. It is because of the experience the intervening decades have given me as I cared for thousands of cancer patients and accompanied many to...

Navneet S. Majhail, MD, MS, Was Inspired by His Father’s Career as a Military Doctor and His Mother’s Battle With Cancer

In this installment of the Living a Full Life series, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, FACP, spoke with Navneet S. Majhail, MD, MS, about his journey from India to the Cleveland Clinic, where he is Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. He is also President of the American Society for...

lung cancer
issues in oncology

Early Lung Cancer Detection Followed by Minimally Invasive Surgery Saves Lives

Lung cancer remains the number one cancer killer, leading to about 150,000 deaths per year in the United States and accounting for approximately 25% of all cancer deaths in the nation. Early detection has improved survival in other malignancies such as breast, colon, and cervical cancers, but...

Pioneering Breast Surgeon and NSABP Chair, Bernard Fisher, MD, Dies at 101

American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn coined the term “paradigm shift” to connote a fundamental change in the basic concepts and practices of a standard scientific discipline. They are few and far between. To convince the entrenched oncologic surgery community in the 1960s and 1970s that...

survivorship

The Role of Oncologists in Helping Cancer Survivors to Quit Smoking

Several oncology organizations have created guidelines for oncology specialists to help patients with cancer to quit smoking. ASCO has far-reaching goals aimed at tobacco reduction, including cessation tools and other resources. To shed light on the current work in this area, The ASCO Post spoke...

An Early Love of Nature’s Biodiversity Leads to a Career in Cancer Research for Lisa Coussens, PhD

Founded in 1887, the Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) is located in Portland, Oregon, and is home to the cutting-edge Coussens Lab, which focuses on the role of immune cells and their mediators as critical regulators of cancer development. The lab’s eponymous Director, Lisa Coussens, PhD,...

A Pioneer in Breast Cancer Clinical Trials, Norman Wolmark, MD, FACS, Looks Back on His Practice-Changing Accomplishments

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 breast cancer...

Cancer Researcher Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD, Returns to West Virginia to Lead Her Alma Mater

Nationally regarded melanoma researcher Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD, was born in La Jolla, California, a seaside community surrounded by ocean bluffs and beaches within the city of San Diego. She was reared in a Navy family that moved from the West Coast to the East Coast during her childhood,...

Ariel Hollinshead Hyun, PhD, a Pioneer in Cancer Vaccines, Dies at Age 90

Inspiration comes in many forms. For cancer researcher Ariel Hollinshead Hyun, PhD, known professionally as Dr. Hollinshead, it came at the age of 15, when she was captivated by Paul de Kruif’s book Microbe Hunters. She was fascinated by the lives of early bacteriologists detailed in the book and...

head and neck cancer
issues in oncology

Researchers Examine the Rise in HPV-Related Oropharyngeal Cancers

Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes nearly all cervical cancers and is attributed to some cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, and oropharynx. Although most HPV infections are asymptomatic and usually resolve within 1 to 2 years, persistent infections can lead to precancer and cancer. According ...

colorectal cancer
immunotherapy

Managing Rectal Cancer: Better Outcomes Now, but Still a Challenging Clinical Setting

The management of rectal cancer has evolved over the past decades, yielding several major practice changes that have substantially improved outcomes. However, rectal cancer treatment remains challenging and even with improved outcomes can result in life-altering morbidity. To shed light on the...

issues in oncology

Inequities in Care for Patients With Cancer and Serious Mental Illness

Studies show that people suffering from serious mental illness are at increased risk for poor cancer outcomes and mortality due to inequities in their cancer care. Although psychiatric care at the time of diagnosis may improve care, current models for integrating psychiatric interventions and...

issues in oncology

The Role of Primary Care Physicians in Cancer Care

As our aging population increases, so does the demand for oncology services; however, as ASCO and other organizations have pointed out, a workforce shortage of oncology care specialists looms in the not-so-distant future. Given the growing need for care models that meet this demand, a better...

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...

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