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.

30 May 2015 11:31 AM
As I prepared to come to the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting, I have to admit that I had one trepidation—I had to present a poster.
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. ...
26 May 2015 10:50 AM
Communication is at the very heart of palliative care. Understanding the patient, their family, and their goals is the bedrock upon which all palliative care is built. But how do we teach our colleagues, fellows, residents, and students? 
26 May 2015 09:16 AM
This year, I plan to follow the ASCO Annual Meeting from the comfort of my home. It will be the first year of “missing” the Annual Meeting, and one question is whether I will have the discipline to watch enough presentations to feel like I have been sufficiently updated.
From the President
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 data as a shared resource, we can accelerate learning from each other and from our patients, sharing new insights and making faster strides against cancer. Today in the United States, we are challenged to reinvent how we practice medicine in response to society’s demand for higher-quality and more affordable health care and a more efficient clinical research enterprise. A shift has started from reimbursement models based on production to models based on quality and outcomes. The survival of existing models and the success of developing models of community practice and clinical research will depend on meeting these challenges successfully. At the same time, demands on academic oncologists to...
21 May 2015 03:06 PM
The excuses not to attend the Annual Meeting are easy to come up with. It is time away from practice and productivity. It certainly cannot be described as cheap, between travel costs, hotel, etc. The abstracts are available online, etc., etc., etc. So, why do I bother with the Annual Meeting pretty...
19 May 2015 01:43 PM
The inaugural Cancer Control in Primary Care Course took place in Bhopal, India, in March 2015, which was fitting since it was the site of the largest environmental disaster in world history....
07 May 2015 12:24 PM
One of my favorite aspects of my job is giving Continuing Medical Education (CME) talks around the country and getting the opportunity to speak to a broad range of oncologists about what they do in practice. While I treat lung cancer patients at an academic center, traveling gives me the chance to...
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...
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...
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.
24 Apr 2015 08:10 PM
Dear Colleagues: For many of us, the ASCO Annual Meeting is simply known as “ASCO.” It’s when we can count on learning about new scientific advances—some that will be truly practice changing. It’s where we come together to absorb and debate the many changes in our field, and most importantly...
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.
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...
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,...
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...
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...
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...