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Making and Keeping Resolutions for Improved Outcomes and Well-Being

Jonathan Berek, MD, MMS

20 Dec 2012 8:49 PM

The start of the New Year always brings about a slew of earnest resolutions—many of them having to do with improving one’s health. For the oncology professional, the concept of engaging in conversations with patients about healthy choices brings up some interesting questions. Our patients have already been diagnosed with a serious disease; are “prevention” and well-being discussions at this point either too late or too far down the ladder of importance? With patients already under a serious amount of stress, do we need to bring up issues such as tobacco cessation and eating right and exercising, which may push patients even further out of their comfort zone? What about those patients who have “done everything right” and still get sick?

As our cover story brings to light, prevention and well-being efforts are relevant to patients in terms of preventing complications to treatment and improving outcomes; preventing increased risks of developing a second primary malignancy; and promoting quality of life during recovery, survivorship, and palliative care.

Of course many of our members know the benefits of healthy choices for patients but still may find the conversations difficult to start. In the article, members of ASCO’s Cancer Prevention Committee share tips on how to address these issues with patients and share highlights from ASCO’s new tobacco cessation guides. Nor do we neglect our own need for a healthy lifestyle. In a sidebar, “Practicing What You Preach,” we ask oncology professionals to reflect on their own triumphs and struggles in pursuit of well-being.

At the start of a New Year, it’s also prudent to take stock of plans for the future, and ASCO has done just that with its newly released vision statement—“Shaping the Future of Oncology: Envisioning Cancer Care in 2030." Although the Board of Directors has done considerable research to produce this document, they view it as a work in progress and ask members to weigh in on what they believe to be the drivers of change in oncology over the next two decades.

Please don’t miss the debate on surgical margins by two giants in the field—Dr. J. Michael Dixon and Dr. Melvin Silverstein.

And finally, we are pleased to announce ASCO’s newly elected officers. Congratulations to all!

Reprinted from the January 2013 ASCO Connection ‘From the Editor’ column.
Posted in: General Interest

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Jonathan Berek, MD, MMS