ASCO Initiatives: Promoting Cancer Treatment and Research
ASCO's annual meeting is considered by many to be the premier educational and scientific event in the oncology community. This year's presentations addressed advances in targeted therapies, new findings in treatments for breast and gastrointestinal cancers, new research into issues affecting adult and pediatric cancer survivors, and research on agents for reducing risk of specific types of cancer. As we reach the close of our 41st annual meeting and the end of my term as president, I would like to review a few of ASCO's initiatives over the past year:
National Quality Cancer Care Study:
ASCO just completed a 5-year study analyzing the quality of care for people with cancer in the United States. ASCO's National Initiative on Cancer Care Quality study found that a large majority of patients with breast and colorectal cancers receive higher quality care than previous research indicated. ASCO will work with others to develop a national quality monitoring system for cancer care.
Oncology Workforce Study:
ASCO is working with the Association of American Medical Colleges to assess whether the future supply of clinical oncologists will meet projected health care needs. The study will analyze potential effects of expected U.S. demographic changes and how they could affect the need for clinical oncology services.
Earlier this year, ASCO established a Survivorship Task Force, a coalition of oncology professionals and patient advocates, to define and address the many issues facing cancer survivors. ASCO will develop tools to ensure that cancer survivors maintain a high quality of life after treatment.
This fall, ASCO will work with the Institute of Medicine when it introduces its adult cancer survivorship report and will coordinate a symposium highlighting the report's findings and recommendations.
Increasing Awareness of Clinical Trials:
Many cancer survivors today owe their survival to the people with cancer who participated in clinical trials before them. ASCO held its Clinical Trials Workshop for the Community Oncology Team last fall, and will hold another in October. Community oncologists are vital in increasing clinical trials enrollment, and the workshops give them information to better integrate clinical trials into their practices.
Clinical Cancer Research Funding:
ASCO is working with NCI to promote research to find treatments for the array of cancers affecting people all over the world. ASCO and NCI also will review and implement recommendations of the Clinical Trials Working Group.
I am excited about continuing to work with ASCO on these and other projects. To find out more about ASCO activities, go to www.asco.org, or visit our patient information Web site at www.PLWC.org.
Dr. David H. Johnson
President, American Society of Clinical Oncology