Anthony L. Back, MD, to Receive Inaugural Walther Cancer Foundation Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Endowed Award and Lecture from ASCO

Sep 20, 2017

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) will honor Anthony L. Back, MD, medical oncologist and palliative care expert, with its inaugural Walther Cancer Foundation Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Endowed Award and Lecture. Dr. Back will accept his award and present a keynote lecture at the Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium on Saturday, October 28, in San Diego, California.

“This award celebrates the growing recognition and integration of palliative and supportive care in cancer care, and the critical role of communication between patients and families and their cancer clinicians,” remarked Dr. Back, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, affiliate member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and 24-year member of ASCO. “I am truly grateful to the Walther Cancer Foundation for recognizing the work that I and many other cancer clinicians and researchers do to bring together the new technologies in cancer treatment with person-centered, values-driven care—to create the kind of care that patients and families want and deserve."

Endowed by the Walther Cancer Foundation, this award and lecture was established to recognize a distinguished lecturer and leader with multiple, significant, and enduring contributions to palliative and supportive care in oncology through the prevention, assessment, and management of cancer- and treatment-related suffering.

The Walther Cancer Foundation is a private foundation that supports and promotes interdisciplinary and inter-institutional bench and clinical cancer research, with a special commitment to supportive oncology. The foundation’s goal is to help build cancer programs that provide tangible benefits by expanding the world’s scientific knowledge, by saving lives and by offering hope to patients and their families.

“As one of the few, if not the only foundation dedicated to advancing the field of supportive oncology, we commend Dr. Back for his contributions to this area of study,” said Thomas W. Grein, President and CEO, Walther Cancer Foundation, Inc. “Partnering with ASCO on a prestigious lectureship is both a statement of our commitment and a challenge to others to support this vitally important field.”

An innovator in the field of clinical communication, Dr. Back coauthored the book Mastering Communication with Seriously Ill Patients: Balancing Honesty with Empathy and Hope; served as principal investigator for the Oncotalk interventions; and developed VitalTalk, the first iPhone app for clinician communication skills which provides guidance to physicians and other clinicians on how to deliver difficult news to patients and their families. His extensive work has been covered in the New York Times, USA Today, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Oncology, among many others.

Dr. Back was a 2013-2014 Contemplative Studies Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, a member of ASCO’s Patient-Physician Communication Consensus Panel, and a faculty scholar for the Open Society Institute’s Project on Death in America. His leadership has been recognized by awards including the American Cancer Society Pathfinder in Palliative Care Award, the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine National Leadership Award, and numerous mentions as a Seattle Top Doctor.

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