Exploring a World of Scientific Discovery

Exploring a World of Scientific Discovery

Linda R. Duska, MD, MPH

Dec 21, 2017

I’m preaching to the choir when I say that cancer is a worldwide problem, and a high GDP is not a shield against it. But it’s also true that the burden of cancer weighs most heavily in the areas with the fewest health resources. Essential to this fight are dedicated, curious local experts conducting scientifically rigorous cancer research and sharing the results so that we can learn from each other. In our latest issue’s cover story, you will read about some of the ways that ASCO supports clinical researchers around the world through funding opportunities, mentoring, education, and publication.

Although many of these opportunities are administered and supported by ASCO’s philanthropic arm, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, they are not charity. These are highly competitive grants and awards that fund hardworking, bright investigators making valuable discoveries. It’s exciting to see how our colleagues across the globe are finding innovative solutions to cancer care challenges while serving as careful stewards of health care resources—an example we can all follow. All of us, no matter the resource level where we live and work, have an obligation to avoid waste, deliver equitable care to every patient, and protect our patients from financial toxicity.

Also in this issue, our colleagues’ stories take us on an ocean-hopping journey:

  • To Nigeria, where Dr. Chibuike Chigbu and a team of community health educators implemented a project that increased breast and cervical cancer screening and awareness
  • To Iraq, where almost 30 years of war have had a devastating impact on the country’s health care system—and the unique situation in the region of Iraqi Kurdistan, as described by Drs. Jalil Ali and Layth Mula-Hussain
  • And to Mexico, where Dr. Jaime G. de la Garza, ASCO’s first member based in Latin America, reflects on the incredible development of cancer care in his country, which he has observed over a career spanning 60 years

Wherever you work and conduct your investigations, data is essential—and ASCO realized that it had a substantial body of oncology data in its programs and publications. In 2017, ASCO opened up two new avenues for requesting data: CENTRA and CancerLinQ Discovery. Learn more about these opportunities and consider the intriguing questions that you might pose and explore with ASCO’s sizeable data assets.

In this issue’s Current Controversies in Oncology column, we consider a challenging clinical question: Is there a role for maintenance lenalidomide after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in patients with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma? Dr. Murali Janakiram digs into the evidence to offer guidance.

Drs. Timothy D. Gilligan and Walter F. Baile also take on a challenging question: Can we find ways to communicate more effectively with our patients? They discuss relationship-centered care and the recommendations in ASCO’s physician-patient communication clinical practice guideline, for which they served as co-chairs.

In the latest article in our Beat Burnout series, Mr. Todd Pickard examines communication of a different sort—how care team members communicate with each other, and how good communication can support wellness and professional satisfaction. He conducted a series of interviews with team members in a variety of practices, and shares his findings from these discussions.

As we begin a new year, I would love to hear from you: What stories do you want to see in your member magazine? What ASCO programs, policies, and resources would you like to understand better? What professional goals can we help you achieve? Send your feedback and ideas to ascoconnection@asco.org.

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