Blogs

Blogs

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.

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Many years ago I treated a patient with a rare sarcoma. We recently reconnected and she generously shared her experience of being treated for and now considered "cured" of her rare tumor, with a reminder that the cancer experience is unique to every individual.
Dr. Sanford E. Jeames and Dr. Shelley L. Imholte ask us to imagine a health care system that collaborates with and engages LGBTQIA communities and values methods of accurate data collection to improve high-quality care for this underserved population.
There is no timeline on grief, especially now, when the pandemic has increased the experience of loneliness and isolation for so many people. 
"A sad and often neglected reality is that zip code, more so than genetic code, is a fundamental factor driving many patient outcomes including mortality," said Dr. Anna M. Laucis. "We can and must do better."
Dr. Lidia Schapira and Dr. Daniel Mulrooney discuss mental health outcomes for AYA cancer survivors and talk about how young survivors can get the mental health support they need after cancer.
"It is my hope that 10 years from now we will look back on this time—one in which the pandemic laid bare glaring inequities in health care—as an inflection point," said Michael Burton.
Dr. Yeva Margaryan and Ms. Ester Demirtshyan describe an inspiring project to connect children with cancer in Armenia with pen pals in pediatric cancer centers around the world.
One year into the pandemic, I find myself answering almost as many questions about COVID-19 as I do about breast cancer, as my recent patient calls illustrate.
Even after 20-plus years as an oncologist, I struggle with one particular thing: calling families after a patient has died. 
"2020 will be a year we at CancerLinQ look back on with mixed emotion because, in the midst of the pandemic, we achieved a momentous milestone," said Dr. Danielle Potter.
In their roles as patient advocates, Ms. Janine Guglielmino and Dr. Sue Friedman have observed growing patient confusion about breast cancer subtypes and the difference between acquired and inherited gene mutations.
This is a time of significant and multi-layered anxiety, especially for our patients living with and beyond cancer. 
"My motto is to stand up for all the people who face casual racism, sexism, and injustice, and my aim is to protect international trainees in medicine when it is my turn to be a mentor," Dr. Viju Chandrasekhar affirms as she shares a personal experience with bias based on her accent.
Meeyoung Lee and I discuss expectations, goals, realism, and hope when recommending a phase I clinical trial to a patient with cancer.
Countries like Lebanon, with delays in vaccination, carry the risk of herd immunity by the coronavirus rather than by the vaccines—which could mean tens of thousands of more deaths, more suffering, and health care system collapse. 
I’ve been thinking about the word “performance” a lot lately. Why is sexual activity described this way? 
In this new year we must remain alert to our own prejudices, and be vigilant about keeping our personal biases out of the charts and out of our discussions with colleagues, patients, and caregivers. 
"It is far too common that patients with less access to care or different skin color or unfamiliar language are assumed to not understand," writes Dr. Jacquelyne Gaddy. "Maybe it is in fact that we didn’t take the time to understand."

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