Commentary 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.

Dec 01, 2015 6:47 PM
This last week I was traveling and experiencing the amazing sights of Georgia (the nation, not the state). Following my usual pattern, I used the Membership Directory and reached out to fellow ASCO members in Tbilisi.
Nov 30, 2015 4:39 PM
The past year had been a tremendously exciting time to be an oncologist, and to be a lung cancer oncologist in particular. It seems we hardly have time to get used to one newly approved agent before another one becomes available.
Nov 30, 2015 4:07 PM
Expert office hours were a new event at this year’s Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium, and they were truly a highlight for me. They provided me with the opportunity to sit down with two attendees and visit about palliative care practice and research issues.
Nov 24, 2015 5:30 PM
Peer reviewers are assumed to appear fully formed, like Athena springing from Zeus’ forehead, and usually they are not required to undergo any sort of orientation. We aim to change that, in our small way, by creating the JGO Editorial Fellowship.
From the President
Nov 17, 2015 1:42 PM
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which passed earlier this year, repealed the fundamentally flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula and introduced significant changes in how Medicare will pay oncologists for the care they provide in the coming years. The new law will be fully implemented by 2019 and will profoundly impact reimbursement and care delivery for oncology practices throughout the United States—now is the time to understand and prepare for these changes. MACRA will require all oncology practices to transform in two major ways: (1) how you conduct your Medicare reporting requirements, and (2) how you are paid for the services you provide to Medicare beneficiaries. The ultimate goal of these changes is to move toward a value-based practice environment that ensures high-...
Nov 23, 2015 6:31 PM
A few brief updates from the November meetings of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (Alliance) and ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, as well as upcoming meetings.
Nov 19, 2015 12:51 PM
When is an advocate not an advocate? When should a spouse step back and let the husband make a treatment decision? When should an adult child of a man with prostate cancer let their father decide what is best for him? These are questions that, fortunately, I don’t have to ask all that often. Most...
Nov 18, 2015 2:34 PM
The responsibility for treating patients with cancer is tremendous, and it often feels even greater when caring for pediatric patients. The emotional toll on oncologists can be larger, as well.
Nov 16, 2015 11:11 AM
As physicians practicing in the worlds of oncology and gynecology, we have used this word countless times—hope that cancer will not return, hope that intimacy can be restored, hope that parenthood can be realized despite cancer.
Nov 12, 2015 1:40 PM
I work at Michigan State University, but I get my cancer care at the University of Michigan. I love both institutions, but when it comes to football, I am MSU Spartans all the way. If you are not from the Great Lakes State, you may not have heard about the outcome of our October 24 match-up. I will...
Nov 04, 2015 3:19 PM
I think the facet of cancer most commonly misunderstood by non-scientists (patients/families) is heterogeneity. Several presentations at the Prostate Cancer Foundation Annual Retreat touched on this theme.
Nov 02, 2015 9:01 PM
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard L. Schilsky answers your questions about this exciting new opportunity in health care policy and advocacy.
Oct 19, 2015 2:08 PM
As the Society dedicated to clinical oncology, ASCO has long featured a number of tools and programs to help members deliver the highest-quality care to patients. Now all of these practice-enhancing resources are under one roof.
Jun 18, 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,...
Jun 05, 2015 2:45 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...
Jun 04, 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...
Jun 01, 2015 7:56 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...
May 29, 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. ...
May 27, 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...
Apr 16, 2015 5:17 PM
One day in clinic, recently, I reviewed my daily schedule with the oncology fellows who were working with me that day.
Apr 13, 2015 4:08 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.
Mar 30, 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.
Jan 29, 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...
Oct 24, 2014 8:54 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...
Aug 12, 2014 1:15 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...
Jul 29, 2014 1:46 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...
Jan 06, 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...
Oct 18, 2013 1:36 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...
Jun 25, 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....
Mar 28, 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.
Mar 16, 2013 3:17 PM
Like many other readers of, 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.
Jan 15, 2013 7:28 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.
Sep 17, 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...
Feb 13, 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...
Apr 20, 2011 9:46 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...