July 2012: Letter from the Editor

July 2012: Letter from the Editor

Jonathan S. Berek, MD, MMedSc, FASCO

Jul 02, 2012
As oncology professionals, we are confronted daily by tough choices. One of the toughest is weighing the potential value of a test, treatment, or procedure versus the potential of the same to cause added suffering, risk, and expense without a real possibility for evidence-based results. ASCO, working with the American Board of Internal Medicine, has taken a bold step via the Choosing Wisely® campaign to curtail the overuse of tests and treatments without proven benefit. This “top five” list is a great resource for oncology professionals to use when discussing individualized treatments with patients.

It is important that medical professionals, using the authority of their individual societies, publicly identify and clarify what constitutes true value and quality in patient care. I am proud that ASCO has taken a leading role in this debate. Please read more about this initiative and ASCO member responses.

Another innovative program that ASCO launched this spring is CancerLinQ™—a “Learning Intelligence Network for Quality”. This ambitious program will build the next generation of clinical data by providing a centralized repository of oncology-related information that will grow “smarter” as it aggregates data from a number of sources. This timely initiative will help oncology professionals prepare for the inevitable onslaught of data as the genomic revolution becomes an everyday reality and as the pace of research and technological change increases at exponential rates.

Speaking of keeping pace with change, I hope you were able to attend this year’s Annual Meeting, which always offers the latest in practice-changing scientific and educational sessions. Please see our photo highlights, including some of this year’s illustrious award winners. Also featured in this issue is an exclusive excerpt from the Presidential Address of Dr. Michael P. Link who makes the convincing case that “pediatric oncology can serve as a model for the future” of collaborative cancer care.

While reading, be sure to check out the inaugural column of ASCO’s new President, Dr. Sandra Swain, who outlines her initiatives for the year. Other features include expert discussion on the role of adjuvant chemotherapy for soft tissue sarcoma, reports on cancer care in Brazil and India, and a behind-the-scenes interview with Dr. Rafat Abonour, who is gearing up literally and figuratively for his eighth Miles for Myeloma cycling event, designed to raise awareness of and funding for multiple myeloma research.

Reprinted from the July 2012 ASCO Connection "From the Editor" column.


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