Jul 20, 2020
Before there was funding, there was a need.
“Patients with cancer needed to understand immediately what COVID-19 meant to their health. Providers and practices needed guidance on how to offer safe care,” recalled 2019-2020 ASCO president Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO, of the days following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “And research had to continue—before we knew what a new normal might be, we knew cancer research was essential.”
Before there was funding, there was a response.
“We identified priorities, which included our COVID-19 resource page and patient FAQ on Cancer.Net, webinars, including some in partnership with the Oncology Nursing Society and others aimed at international audiences,” said Dr. Burris. “We established the ASCO Registry, which will be the most comprehensive collection of data on how COVID-19 impacts patients with cancer now and after the pandemic.”
As ASCO offered guidance on COVID-19, one question echoed from across the oncology community: How can we help?
Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, launched the COVID Impacts Cancer fund, uniting everyone who supports patients and researchers. Donors, from corporations to individuals quarantined in their homes, made contributions and created fundraising teams through a special website.
As of early June 2020, more than $4,272,900 has been donated to the fund.
“We won’t immediately know the aftermath this world pandemic will have on the oncology community. Patients will likely suffer from research delays. Health care providers are bound to suffer burnout,” said Thomas G. Roberts, Jr., MD, FASCO, chair of the Conquer Cancer Board of Directors. “But COVID Impacts Cancer is a promise to cancer care teams and the patients they serve that we are here and our mission to conquer cancer has not lost its momentum.”