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.

Feb 11, 2016 11:19 AM
Most times, I feel excited to be an oncologist. Oncology research is accelerating and every week brings more news, whether it be a deeper understanding of tumor genomics, a broader understanding of cancer genetics and risk, and, it seems, more ways to provide precision therapy. Studies are coming...
Feb 08, 2016 3:32 PM
During 2 weeks of challenging inpatient hospital service, I made it my goal to give my residents the best possible exposure to our field, and to allow them as much autonomy as possible.
Feb 03, 2016 5:00 PM
ASCO CEO Dr. Allen S. Lichter reflects on an optimistic approach to the challenges of providing high-quality cancer care around the globe on World Cancer Day.
Feb 03, 2016 4:55 PM
The decision to scale up the provision of oral chemotherapy was a watershed event in the regulation of private health insurance in Brazil; however, prospects for expanded access to such medicines in the public health system are bleak in the short term.
From the President
Jan 29, 2016 8:27 AM
In the face of limited health care resources and a rising national health budget, it is important to consider value when making treatment decisions for patients with cancer. This is a key question for all of us involved in cancer care and research. The answer may be a bit different coming from the viewpoint of the different stakeholders. One of my favorite quotes is from fellow Omaha native Warren Buffett “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” Let’s evaluate the different viewpoints on value in cancer care: 1. Patients: As health care providers, we think that value of cancer care for a patient is the same as what we consider, such as increased time without evidence of the cancer associated with the lowest cost of care. However, patient interviews demonstrate an alternative viewpoint. A survey of 769 patients with metastatic breast cancer were asked to define value in cancer care. Many of the responses defined this as “information and appropriate communication...
Jan 19, 2016 7:43 PM
I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Cardinale Smith about Oncotalk, a communications course that she coordinates for oncology professionals and trainees.
Jan 19, 2016 2:57 PM
There is plenty of research that proves what we intuitively know: a person who is well informed and invested in her treatment is more likely to seek out the resources she needs to cope with the physical and emotional side effects of rigorous treatment.
Jan 11, 2016 2:26 PM
This is a story of how small things really can make a big difference: a nurse anticipating a problem for a patient, a biomedical engineer open to collaboration, and a care provider taking an incremental approach to managing a patient's distress.
Jan 06, 2016 7:45 PM
One of the most frequent questions I hear in my clinic is, “Are we making any progress?” or, “Is there anything new out there?” The answer is always yes, or more properly, YES!
Jan 05, 2016 6:33 PM
ASCO staff and  member representatives gathered in Atlanta for the AMA House of Delegates' recent meeting, and, as usual, listened, learned, and spoke on a number of topics.
Jan 04, 2016 11:20 AM
In November 2008, Michigan voters voted to legalize medical marijuana by a margin of 63% to 37%. At that time, I opposed the measure. Three years later, I developed a different perspective.
Dec 17, 2015 11:24 AM
It is no accident that our Society’s member publication is titled ASCO Connection— its mission is to connect members to ASCO, ASCO to its members, and members to each other. After all, connection is why we join professional societies in the first place: to be a part of something...
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 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 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.
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 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.
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...