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global cancer care

Early Adopter of Breast Conservation, Surgical Oncologist Augusto Leon, MD, Reflects on Cancer Care in Chile

In this installment of the occasional department on Global Health-Care Equity, Guest Editor, Chandrakanth Are, MBBS, MBA, FRCS, FACS, spoke with Augusto Leon, MD, a surgical oncologist and Head of the Program of Cancer at Pontifical University of Chile, Santiago. Dr. Are is JL & CJ Varner...

lung cancer

Emerging Reasons for Optimism in Lung Cancer

Despite public smoking cessation initiatives and improved methods for early detection and treatment, lung cancer persists as the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. However, over the past decade, smoking cessation efforts, increased screening, and new...

issues in oncology
survivorship

Addressing Sexuality Challenges Throughout the Cancer Care Continuum

Multiple studies have shown that sexuality and intimacy problems are common among patients with cancer, often beginning at the time of diagnosis and persisting through the continuum of care into the survivorship setting. Although these problems have been well documented, many patients and survivors ...

Medical Oncologist Gouri Shankar Bhattacharyya, MD, FRCP, Dies of COVID-19–Related Complications

The members of the oncology community who spend time and energy addressing the growing global cancer burden in low- and middle-income countries have a kind of selfless dedication beyond the scope of the profession itself. One such medical oncologist was Gouri Shankar Bhattacharyya, MD, FRCP, a...

palliative care

The Daughter of a Fighter Pilot Becomes a Leader in Compassionate Cancer Care

Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD, FASCO, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago as the middle child of three girls. She was, by her own account, extremely shy by nature. Her mother was a graduate of the University of Chicago, but her father’s college education was preempted by his service as a fighter pilot in...

Working on the Night Shift, a Connection to a Patient With Cancer Inspires a Career

Jaap Verweij, MD, PhD, FASCO, was born in 1953 in Velsen, a municipality situated on both sides of the massive North Sea Canal in the Netherlands. His father was a sea captain, and other close family members also plied the oceans for a living in the fishing or transport industries. Dr. Verweij...

A Junior High School Teacher Sparks a Love for Science

Peter Marks, MD, PhD, Director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), was born in Brooklyn, New York, near Sheepshead Bay—an area named for the Sheepshead, a fish that can no longer be found in the waters that frame the neighborhood....

hematologic malignancies

After a Flirtation With Infectious Disease, Hematology Calls, Leading to a Notable Career

High-quality cancer care is a complex mixture of science and art, made even more challenging by the dizzying array of coding, billing, and data collection regulations that must be taken into account. Synthesizing all the parts into value-based, whole-patient care across the wide spectrum of the...

head and neck cancer

A Pioneer in Head and Neck Cancer Surgery Whose Career Was Founded on Passion and Dedication

The term “head and neck surgery” had little meaning until the 1940s, when it was used by groundbreaking surgeon Hayes Martin, MD, in one of his publications. Dr. Martin was then Chief of Head and Neck Services at Memorial Hospital, later renamed Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), where...

A Career in Cardio-oncology Founded on Simple Principles Taught by Her Immigrant Parents

Cardio-oncology focuses on the detection, monitoring, and treatment of cardiovascular disease occurring secondary to cancer treatment, and the mechanistic and epidemiologic intersection between cardiovascular disease and cancer. With the advent of targeted agents and immunotherapies,...

lung cancer

Serendipity Plays a Role in a Journey to a Noted Career in Surgical Oncology

Over the past 2 decades, the oncologic mantra “early detection leads to cure” has taken on special meaning in lung cancer, persistently a leading cause of cancer death in the United States. “Over a 25-year period, we’ve seen a revolution in early detection, understanding of tumor biology, and...

geriatric oncology

A Pioneer in Geriatric Oncology Leaves His Mark and Marches Forward

The field of geriatric oncology has developed steadily over the past several decades, thanks to the dedication of a close-knit community of oncologists who have devoted their careers to advancing multidisciplinary care for older patients with cancer. One such leader is Silvio Monfardini, MD, past...

A Brooklyn Girl Bucks Her Old-Fashioned Upbringing to Become a Leader in Bone Marrow Transplantation

In the face of old school mores, self-motivation and perseverance were needed to build a career as a nationally regarded blood and bone marrow transplant expert. “I was born and reared in Brooklyn, New York, the oldest of seven children of Irish-Italian parents who did not espouse professional...

A Junior High School Teacher Sparks a Love for Science

Peter Marks, MD, PhD, Director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), was born in Brooklyn, New York, near Sheepshead Bay—an area named for the Sheepshead, a fish that can no longer be found in the waters that frame the neighborhood....

A Doctor’s Daughter Becomes a Pioneer in Cancer Survivorship

Although quality of life has been an implicit medical outcome since the time of Hippocrates, integrating the explicit effort to assess the effects of cancer treatment on the patient’s quality—and not quantity—of life was spearheaded by dedicated pioneers. One such trailblazer is Patricia A. Ganz,...

pancreatic cancer

A Love for Surgery Underpins a Career Devoted to Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

There are few, if any, more difficult clinical challenges than pancreatic cancer, a disease that continues to confound the oncology community’s quest for cure. Yet, incremental progress and unflagging optimism drive the way forward, thanks to the researchers and clinicians who have dedicated their...

Enduring Cancer and Its Treatment With Resilience and Humor

Most cancer memoirs have a similar thread: life suddenly interrupted by arguably the three most dreaded words in the English language, “You have cancer.” Readers anticipate the high-drama uncertainty leading to diagnosis, treatment, and hopefully survivorship, with multiple human storylines woven...

covid-19

A Seasoned Journalist Seeking Answers Reports From the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic remains a global health issue, putting unprecedented stress on health-care systems, with important implications for cancer care. Although at this stage the data are fairly limited, we know that patients with cancer are far more vulnerable to worse outcomes, including a greater ...

geriatric oncology

An Epiphany During Fellowship Led to a Career in Geriatric Oncology for Heidi D. Klepin, MD, MS

Geriatric oncologist Heidi D. Klepin, MD, MS, was born and reared in Pearl River, a hamlet on the west side of the Hudson River in New York. “My parents are German immigrants who came to the United States in the 1960s looking for prospects. Growing up in post-war Germany, neither had the...

Drive, Curiosity, and a Love of Science: One Nurse’s Road to a Leadership Role in Oncology

For this installment of the Living a Full Life series, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, spoke with Deborah Watkins Bruner, RN, PhD, FAAN, noted for her work in patient-reported outcomes, symptom management, and comparative effectiveness of radiotherapy modalities. Her current research is focused on...

A Sense of Duty Shapes the Career of Medical Oncologist Aparna Parikh, MD

By way of her family lineage, Aparna Parikh, MD, seemed destined for a career in medicine. “Both of my parents are physicians, as well as my maternal grandfather. I have two other siblings, all of whom are in the medical field. Medicine has always been part of my life since childhood. My parents...

Turning Confusion Into Clarity: Lessons Learned From Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder refers to a group of conditions characterized by difficulty in navigating normal social situations and having all-absorbing repetitive behaviors or stereotyped interests. At the milder end of the spectrum is Asperger’s syndrome, generally confined to people with higher...

issues in oncology

Ethical Considerations Before Launching a Clinical Cancer Trial

Randomized clinical trials are highly regulated initiatives that must comply with multiple requirements while maintaining high epistemic standards, a balance that becomes increasingly difficult as the research questions surrounding immunotherapy and targeted agents become more complex. To shed...

A Physician-Scientist’s Mother, Who Nursed Those With Chronic Diseases, Fueled His Passion for Biomedical Research

For this installment of the Living a Full Life series, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, spoke with Griffin P. Rodgers, MD, MACP, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Rodgers, a physician-scientist,...

Towering Figure in Cancer Drug Development, José Baselga, MD, PhD, FASCO, Dies at Age 61

José Baselga, MD, PhD, FASCO, a global innovator in novel cancer therapeutics, led research efforts in his native country of Spain and in the United States, most notably as Physician-in-Chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). “My moment of recognition as an oncologist came early,...

breast cancer

An Oncologist and His Wife Share a Personal Cancer Story

Gastrointestinal oncologist John Marshall, MD, is well known for his candid observations about cancer treatment and research. In 2006, all the scientific intricacies and sociopolitical dramas of oncology coalesced in Dr. Marshall’s life when his 43-year-old wife, Liza, was diagnosed with breast...

global cancer care

Lydia Pace, MD, MPH: A Primary Care Physician on the Front Lines of Oncology, Both Nationally and Globally

Lydia Pace, MD, MPH, was inspired to a become a doctor by her grandfather, a general surgeon in New York City, who spoke effulgently of his career in medicine, and by her mother, a social worker who was equally passionate about her profession. A primary care physician, Dr. Pace developed an...

leukemia

Groundbreaking Cancer Researcher Brian J. Druker, MD, Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

For this installment of the Living a Full Life series, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, spoke with physician-scientist Brian J. Druker, MD, Director of the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland. In 2009, Dr. Druker won the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research ...

issues in oncology

The Emerging Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention and Treatment

The holistic benefits derived from exercise in preventing and ameliorating chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes are well documented. However, less is known about the salutary effects exercise may have across the cancer setting, especially during treatment....

Professor Gordon McVie, International Cancer Researcher and Patient Advocate, Dies at 76

An imposing painting of sailing ships graced the wall behind the desk in the office of Professor Gordon McVie, BSc (Hons), MBChB, MD, FRCP, FRCPEd, FRCPS (Glas), FMedSci, DSc. It was a gift from one of his patients with cancer, a long-term survivor who said the painting reminded her of him, walking ...

Joseph V. Simone, MD, Visionary Pediatric Oncologist and ‘Quintessential Mentor,’ Dies at 85

When Joseph V. Simone, MD, was 6 years old, he had his first experience with the death of a child. His 9-month-old brother became sick with the croup and was taken to the nearby children’s hospital, where he died a few days later, leaving Dr. Simone and his family devastated. Caring for sick...

It All Began With a Lump in the Throat

BOOKMARK Title: Milkshakes and Morphine: A Memoir of Love and LifeAuthor: Genevieve FoxPublisher: VintagePublication date: January 2019Price: $15.95, paperback, 384 pages “It doesn’t hurt, but I know it is there and I know it shouldn’t be. Interloper. I have touched it a couple of times already,...

Gastrointestinal Oncologist Laura Goff, MD, Sees Potential in Emerging Immunotherapies and Novel Targeted Agents

Laura Goff, MD, Medical Director of the Hematology and Oncology Division at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, was born in Chicago but reared in Lewisville, a suburb of Dallas. “I come from a long line of nurses, which early on influenced my decision to pursue a career in medicine....

Cancer Survivor Offers Roadmap for Managing the Turmoil of Diagnosis and Treatment

Although the field of psychosocial oncology had its roots in the 1970s, it wasn’t until 2007 that the Institute of Medicine acted on the growing data describing the impact of emotional well-being and physical recovery on quality of life, establishing guideline standards requiring that the...

Tabaré Vázquez, Former President of Uruguay, Oncologist, and Human Rights Activist, Dies at 80

In 2006, President of Uruguay Dr. Tabaré Vázquez, a radiation oncologist by profession, enacted comprehensive antismoking legislation, eventually leading Uruguay to become the first country in Latin America to prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces. His bold action drew the ire of international ...

Daughter of a Dance Band Leader Becomes Nationally Regarded Expert in Disparities of Cancer Care

Electra D. Paskett, PhD, was born in New York City, the daughter of a Greek immigrant who led a notable dance band. As a young child, Dr. Paskett frequented her parents’ rehearsal and dance studio, which was situated above a bustling Woolworth’s Five-and-Dime store. One of the studio’s famous...

Facing Life’s Adversities, Even Cancer, From the Back of a Horse Named Buddy

“A bald eagle skims along the bluff where windblown Douglas firs, their exposed roots like talons, grip the eroding cliffs. Gulls circle and warn the bird of prey not to get too close. One hundred fifty feet below, the Salish Sea crashes and stretches west to the Pacific.” So begins Wild Ride Home: ...

breast cancer

Understanding Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Disparities in Resource-Challenged Nations

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Caribbean. Adding to this growing burden, many of the nations in this geographically spread region have under-resourced health-care systems and a lack of cohesive approaches to the delivery of cancer care. To shed light on the public health...

An Early Love of the Duck-Billed Platypus Sparks a Career in Cancer Research

Elaine R. Mardis, PhD, Co-Director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was born and reared in North Platte, a small city located in the west-central part of Nebraska. “My love of science was sparked and nurtured by my father, who was a chemistry professor for...

Breaking the Cultural Norms: A Young Indian Girl Attains Her Dream of Becoming a Global Oncologist

For this installment of the Living a Full Life series, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, spoke with Bhawna Sirohi, FRCP, who is currently the lead medical oncologist at the Apollo Proton Cancer Centre in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Along with her work in the clinic and her research endeavors, Dr....

A Daughter of Immigrants Chooses a Challenging but Rewarding Career in Surgical Oncology

Nationally recognized oncologic surgeon Sandra L. Wong, MD, MS, FASCO, FACS, was born and raised in Stockton, California, a city on the San Joaquin River, in California’s Central Valley. “My parents were both immigrants, but unlike the stereotypical picture of hard-driving immigrant parents who...

prostate cancer

A Urologic Surgeon Assesses the Current State of Prostate Cancer

Despite decades of research, multinational clinical trials, regular guideline updates by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and coordinated efforts by ASCO and other major oncology organizations, the management strategy for prostate cancer remains controversial. To keep the oncology community ...

A Doctor Shares His Rich Life in Medicine and Cancer Research

“What am I doing here? This question kept running through my mind as the incoming freshman medical students at the University of Chicago assembled for the first time.” The person asking the introspective question was Marvin Stone, fresh out of college, recently married to his wife, Jill, and now a...

An Emergency Room Physician Explores Her Own Healing Through a Life of Medical Service

Medical memoir dramas, especially those centered in the emergency room (ER), are often met with the anticipation of top-rated medical shows portrayed on TV, in which there is nonstop blood-and-guts action and sizzling tensions between shouting doctors and nurses. In her recently published memoir,...

geriatric oncology

As a Young Oncologist, Enrique Soto Pérez de Celis, MD, MSc, Met a Career-Changing Mentor at the ASCO Annual Meeting

Geriatric oncologist and researcher Enrique Soto Pérez de Celis, MD, MSc, was born in Mexico City and grew up in the nearby city of Puebla. “There were no physicians in the family who might have influenced my decision to become a doctor, but both of my parents were academics; my mother was a...

After Leaving His Home in Syria to Train Abroad, an Oncologist Makes a Tough Decision to Return

For this installment of the Living a Full Life series, guest editor Jame Abraham, MD, FACP, spoke with Nedal Estfan, MD, a noted Syrian oncologist who was at the forefront of his county’s earliest efforts to establish a national cancer care system during a time of political and military turmoil....

The Secret History of Cancer Chemotherapy

“The summons came in the middle of the night. He was awake at the first harsh jangle of the telephone…. Always a light sleeper, Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Francis Alexander attributed the trait to his father, an old-fashioned family practitioner whose response to every late-night distress call was...

A Gritty Journey Into a Rare Cancer and Back

Over the past decade, a prolific number of cancer memoirs have been published, and some have been award-winning bestsellers. When entering a crowded genre, it is best to have something that sets your story apart. Judith Dwyer Fugate did just that with a memoir about a rare tumor that has rarely if...

Daughter of an Orthopedic Surgeon, Abigail T. Berman, MD, Finds Radiation Oncology Intriguing

Radiation oncologist Abigail T. Berman, MD, was born and reared in Philadelphia, the daughter of an orthopedic surgeon whose passion for his work was an early influence on her decision to pursue a career in medicine. “My father absolutely adored his job and worked very hard, which inspired me to...

Thinking Out of the Box to Advance the Management of Chronic Graft-vs-Host Disease

Over the past decade, the field of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation has made great strides, evolving into a curative procedure for blood cancers that once were almost always fatal. However, chronic graft-vs-host disease, whose biologic etiology remains unclear, continues to be the...

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