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.

31 Aug 2015 01:39 PM
She had come to see me as a second opinion; diagnosed with uterine serous cancer, one of the more aggressive types of uterine cancers. At surgery they found that it had metastasized to her nodes—stage III disease.
21 Aug 2015 08:03 AM
My patient mix comes in waves—some months it is mostly women with breast cancer struggling with adjuvant endocrine therapy or men in the aftermath of surgery for prostate...
16 Aug 2015 01:37 PM
Sometimes, it seems like the easiest way to raise some physician’s hackles is to bring up something that “administration” is doing. Maybe it’s a practice change felt to make things run more smoothly. Maybe it’s a new iteration of the EMR. Maybe it’s data monitoring or asking the physicians to look...
From the President
04 Aug 2015 01:12 PM
Clinical investigation forms the backbone and the history of medical oncology. Cancer clinical trials provide the evidence we need to demonstrate safety and efficacy before Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and evidence for our clinical treatment guidelines. However, it seems to be more and more difficult to open trials, enroll patients, and complete all the necessary work involved in cancer clinical trials. Why does it seem so much more involved than even a few years ago? There are many possible reasons for this, which we must try to streamline and address. Just a partial list of issues includes: The federal funding for cancer clinical trials has not kept up with inflation so that the effect has been many fewer trials and a cap on enrollments. The regulatory burden of getting a trial open and to continue enrolling has been magnified many-fold over the past few years. Confidentiality agreements, budgeting and contracting, submission to Scientific Review Committees (SRCs) and...
13 Aug 2015 11:25 AM
The good kind of problem is having too many choices; the bad kind of problem is having too few choices. Today, I am writing about the ultimate in the good kind of problems: Being an exceptional responder to cancer treatment. I am even trying to enroll in the NCI Exceptional Responders Initiative.
05 Aug 2015 09:49 AM
It is difficult (but not impossible) to reflect on the fact that one of the key reasons I went into medical oncology was the seminal study by Bonadonna published in 1976 showing a dramatic reduction in cancer...
04 Aug 2015 01:52 PM
I’m sure I am not alone in saying that I am almost obsessively conscious of time. Namely, that there never seems to be enough of it. As busy oncologists, we all have constant demands on our time, from our leadership, colleagues, drug company reps, insurers, and our families, not to mention the time...
04 Aug 2015 12:34 PM
Radiation oncology residents and medical oncology fellows interface regularly. Understanding each other’s backgrounds helps improve the care of our mutual patients.
28 Jul 2015 01:42 PM
The auditorium was designed for around 400 people, but only a quarter of the place was occupied. Some people were sitting next to each other; some were hiding alone at the end of the hall.
01 Jul 2015 06:29 PM
It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Society’s new President, Dr. Julie M. Vose. Dr. Vose brings extensive experience to the job as an internationally recognized expert in the research and treatment of patients with lymphoma, coupled with a strong background in...
18 Jun 2015 12:55 PM
The AMA House of Delegates (AMA-HOD) convened a few days after the ASCO Annual Meeting.  It was, in many ways, a continuation of many of the concerns reviewed at the annual ASCO gathering. The delegation representing ASCO is now composed of ASCO staff, along with Drs. Thomas Marsland, Ray Page,...
05 Jun 2015 02:45 PM
Everyone deserves a chance to be healthy. Physicians, of course, focus on helping patients. Unfortunately, I often see patients’ frustrations with the health care system itself directed toward doctors. Doctors are under increasing pressures on multiple fronts. Yes, we’re imperfect, but making...
04 Jun 2015 10:15 AM
Now that the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting has drawn to a close, it is with restrained optimism that I have returned home. While we have just spent the last few days learning about exciting innovations in cancer care, it is difficult to think of these advances without considering their cost, and one...
01 Jun 2015 07:56 AM
You never forget your first time . . .The sense of trepidation is overwhelming, the fear of rejection intense. You wonder about your own worthiness, but with some encouragement, you reach out—never anticipating reciprocation. But then it happens . . . almost out of the blue . . . the embrace you...
29 May 2015 11:20 AM
“Value” will be front and center at the ASCO Annual Meeting this year, so much so that it has earned its own search category as a cross-cutting theme in the ASCO Meeting iPlanner. While the word itself is now ever-present in our discussions of advancing cancer care, defining value is not so easy. ...
27 May 2015 12:34 PM
I am pleased to announce that nearly 6,000 abstracts were submitted for the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting, a 7.5% increase from last year’s record total. This explosion of data and knowledge is why I chose the 2015 Annual Meeting theme “Illumination and Innovation: Transforming Data into Learning.” With...
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...
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.
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.
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...
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,...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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....
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...
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...
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...