Moving Care Forward Into The New Year

Moving Care Forward Into The New Year

Linda R. Duska, MD, MPH

Nov 17, 2020

As 2020 begins to wind down and we look to the future, ASCO is meeting the challenges to come with a meaningful new tagline: Knowledge Conquers Cancer. Members share what those words mean to them, and the role our professional Society plays in their work. For me, “Knowledge Conquers Cancer” carries enormous weight, especially now. In cancer, we gain knowledge that will ultimately improve patient care through science: through basic scientific discovery, laboratory experiments, and clinical trials. In my own field, as an example, the development of PARP inhibitors has significantly improved the lives of women with BRCA mutations and ovarian cancer: the holy grail of personalized cancer treatment is being achieved. And yet, at the same time, we watch scientific knowledge being treated with utter disdain. We see the immediate consequences of ignoring infectious disease experts on pandemic control and disregarding environmental scientists on climate change, and we are only beginning to appreciate the devastating repercussions for the future. So-called treatments for COVID-19 are being marketed to the public without the critical scientific process required to demonstrate their efficacy or safety. Well-conducted science informs discovery and progress, and we abandon it at our peril.

The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, continues to affect us all, and its omnipresence is reflected throughout this issue:

Dr. Nagi S. El Saghir shares a few words of encouragement and congratulations for this year’s hematology/oncology graduates around the world, honoring their work as learners, thinkers, doctors, and scientists. I second Dr. El Saghir’s heartfelt words, and I know he speaks for all of the educators, attendings, mentors, and program directors who are proud to welcome today’s young leaders into the next stage of their careers.

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