Commentary

ASCOconnection.org is a forum for the exchange of views on topical issues in the field of oncology. The views expressed in the blogs, comments, and forums belong to the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Please read the Commenting Guidelines.

01 May 2015 09:34 AM
The patient was a young looking 74-year-old woman, accompanied by her husband. She was not exactly sure why she was seeing me and nodded as I explained that I see all women with...
01 May 2015 09:15 AM
A few months ago, I became aware of the ongoing measles outbreak that has been traced back to visits to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, which began in December 2014. I remember reading the news reports, including the defense of those who did not believe that vaccines are safe, and witnessed the pleas from physicians, who are also parents, expressing the frustration and anxiety they faced because their...
30 Apr 2015 02:19 PM
The NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) is a national network of cancer care investigators, providers, academia, and other...
30 Apr 2015 11:32 AM
For the past month or so, one patient after another has come in with the question, “So, what do you think about 4-MU?” or “Did you hear about poliovirus killing cancer?” Actually, I have heard next to nothing about either, but of course I was intrigued as to where my patients get their information.
From the President
15 Mar 2015 02:43 PM
Every March, the ASCO Board of Directors meets for its Strategic Planning Retreat. Although we always have a well-thought-out agenda to work on, we begin the annual event with an open discussion during which each board member is given a few minutes to present the most important emerging threat or neglected issue that, in his or her opinion, the ASCO Board and senior staff should hear about. The Board is elected by ASCO members, and through the categories of designated Board seats—international and domestic, academic and community, pediatric, surgical, and radiation oncology—it represents the diversity of ASCO membership. These varying perspectives shape program and staff development and the budget as we work throughout the year. As I reviewed this year's Board discussion, several themes emerged that I would like to share with you. Time and monetary pressures For some time now, it has become apparent to me that the character of a professional career in community-...
27 Apr 2015 12:33 PM
If you are attending the ASCO Annual Meeting, you will have the opportunity to attend many presentations that will help to improve cancer care. But even if you aren’t able to make it to Chicago, you can still learn from colleagues by tuning in to ASCO’s hashtag on Twitter, #ASCO15.
16 Apr 2015 05:17 PM
One day in clinic, recently, I reviewed my daily schedule with the oncology fellows who were working with me that day.
13 Apr 2015 04:08 PM
ASCO is the most important oncology meeting in the world, with more than 30,000 attendees and hundreds of presentations. Over the last few years, we posted tips on how to navigate the ASCO Annual Meeting to get the maximum benefits of the events.
06 Apr 2015 09:12 AM
Never have I seen such complete outpouring of interest in cancer research than I did last week when the Ken Burns’ special of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of all Maladies aired on PBS.
30 Mar 2015 10:57 AM
It’s hard to believe that two months have passed since my second blog. If you’ve been reading along, you know that I recently began a dialogue regarding challenges to the profession of medicine and the delivery of health care.
26 Mar 2015 12:02 PM
It was a particularly harrowing morning, and I was already running 40 minutes behind after my first couple of patients. My nurse practitioner was out, so I had added a number of her routine follow-up visits to my normal schedule, and I was having trouble keeping up.
17 Mar 2015 10:59 AM
For years now, we have had a raging debate in the renal cell carcinoma (RCC) community regarding the use of adjuvant therapy. In a patient with no evidence of metastatic disease following surgery, the standard...
13 Mar 2015 09:53 AM
We each have our methods of stress relief. I use travel. The planning of flights along with finding interesting little places and ways to connect with the local population may be torture to some, but not for me. I highly value learning more about the everyday ways of life where I travel.
02 Feb 2015 10:36 AM
World Cancer Day – February 4 – is a key date every year for all of us in the international cancer community. Under the leadership of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), a diverse and vibrant community of organizations comes together to advance a particular theme. For ASCO, it is also the anniversary of our Society’s bold commitment made in 2013 to addressing cancer disparities...
29 Jan 2015 12:26 PM
By Tina Atkinson, Lauren Burns, and Richard Penson.  LB sports a perky, punky, quiff of hair that is testimony to the fact that she is a survivor, but never as long as she’d like. No chips on her shoulders, no moss on her street. She is savvy, and racey, and fun. Her hairstyle is gelled and glossed, and threatens rage against inconvenience, incompetence, and everything in between. But, she always...
25 Nov 2014 01:11 PM
The American Medical Association House of Delegates (AMA HOD) met once again last week in Dallas, Texas. This was the interim meeting where we welcomed ASCO’s new alternate delegate Dr. Kristina Maletz. As always, a wide variety of reports and resolutions were proposed. ...
12 Nov 2014 06:42 PM
By Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FASCO, Chief Medical Officer of ASCO. During the past six weeks I’ve had the opportunity to attend cancer meetings in four countries on three continents. In September, I represented ASCO at the annual meeting of the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology (CSCO) in Xiamen, China. The meeting attracted more than 15,000 oncologists from across China and provided outstanding...
24 Oct 2014 08:54 AM
As the first Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium kicks off, it is striking to think how this meeting has taken shape and how it intersects with ASCO during its 50th year of existence. Like me, ASCO was born in 1964. Interestingly, that same year, Dame Cicely Saunders (the founder of the modern hospice movement) first introduced the concept of “total pain” drawing attention to care of the whole...
12 Aug 2014 01:15 PM
A few days ago I had the opportunity to fly in a small passenger (9-person) plane. I’m not a good flyer in general and really small planes make me nervous. I sat directly behind the pilot and decided he must be a good pilot based on his appearance and demeanor (the only data I had). He looked old enough, he wore a uniform, he seemed self-assured, and addressed the passengers in a confident manner...
29 Jul 2014 01:46 PM
I am writing because I really want everyone’s input—comments, email, phone calls, written notes—on an issue that has been a slowly growing concern for all of us at ASCO: Our election and specifically our members’ participation in it. While we may pat ourselves on our collective backs for selecting great leaders (present company excepted . . .), if the measure of an election process is the active...
01 Jun 2014 06:12 PM
“While there are many key points to reflect upon [in relation to the concept of “value” in cancer care], the following seem to resonate quite loudly: The current health care/cancer care cost trajectory is not sustainable; cost does not necessarily translate to value or quality; and the patient’s determination of value may differ from that of the clinician or society, and the patient’s perception...
06 Jan 2014 10:18 AM
Perhaps the most evocative essay that I have ever read is David Steensma's piece entitled "Reassurance" in the Art of Oncology section of the JCO, published in August 2004. Dr. Steensma writes an emotionally and visually powerful essay regarding his experience providing a consultation to a new mother in her twenties confronting advanced (...
03 Dec 2013 10:14 AM
On the way to work recently, I heard a radio advertisement that sparked my interest. A cancer center (not my own) was advertising 3D mammography to patients as an alternative to standard mammography. As a GI oncologist, I have to admit knowing very little about 3D mammography. But as a health services researcher interested in cost of care and comparative effectiveness, I wondered whether that...
18 Oct 2013 01:36 PM
Last month the Associate Editors of Cancer.Net, ASCO’s patient education website, met for the annual editors’ meeting. This was my first meeting since I became Editor-In-Chief in June after serving as an Associate Editor. The meeting was terrific—the editors were enthusiastic and engaged, and their strong commitment to patient education was evident as we...
25 Jun 2013 11:48 AM
I looked ridiculous. Dressed in the black-and-white-striped soccer referee shirt, I looked like roadkill on a black asphalt road with the white sidewalk markings. It reminded me of how uncomfortable I looked in my interview suit and tie as a medical student interviewing at residency programs. Little did I know that I was in deep trouble. As they say in Hawaii, I was in deep kimchi. I had...
28 Mar 2013 10:34 AM
I am so excited about the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting, and I hope that you will join us in Chicago—or if you can’t make it, through Virtual Meeting—to bring ideas, inspiration, and treatment options back to your patients.
16 Mar 2013 03:17 PM
Like many other readers of ascoconnection.org, I was inspired by ASCO president Sandra Swain’s blogs on “Women in Oncology.” Those blogs and the recent publication of Sheryl Sandberg’s empowering book, “Lean In,” have gotten me thinking about the plight of the female oncologist.
15 Jan 2013 07:28 AM
The Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) is in its eighth year of publication and has remained focused on presenting data-oriented articles highlighting issues related to the mechanisms of oncology care delivery.
17 Sep 2012 10:21 AM
Each year, ASCO presents awards to leading scientists, clinicians, and advocates whose contributions to our understanding and treatment of cancer and to the delivery of cancer therapy have bettered the lives of the patients for whom we care. Most of these awards are presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting, and these presentations represent an opportunity to honor these important individuals in front...
13 Feb 2012 11:15 AM
Reading the news about the current shortage of methotrexate filled me with shame and anger and sorrow. Sometime during the past few years my country, which developed the drugs and regimens that cured most of childhood leukemia, became part of the third world. Parents in the United States now know the despair that fills the hearts of those in Somalia or Sierra Leone, realizing that their child...
20 Apr 2011 09:46 AM
In early February, my new patient was a middle-aged woman from here in Silicon Valley with a self-discovered 2 cm right breast mass. Her internist was all over this. She quickly had a core needle biopsy, was evaluated by one of our breast surgeons, and was referred to me for an opinion regarding pre-operative (neo-adjuvant) chemotherapy. I saw her and her husband on one of my non-clinic days to...