publication date: Jan. 18, 2019
Trials and Tribulations
Giving every patient an opportunity to participate in and benefit from cancer progress
By Monica M. Bertagnolli
2018-19 president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology,
professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and associate surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Last week, the American Cancer Society released its annual Facts and Figures report, showing that we continue to make exceptional progress against cancer, most notably with a 27 percent decline in the death rate across all cancer types over the last 25 years.
While this is exciting news, many cancer patients are not realizing this positive outcome—either because we lack acceptable treatments for their cancer or because of the widening gaps in socio-economic status across the United States that put available treatments out of reach for some. The ACS report is a call to action to the cancer community to do all we can to prioritize policies, education, and research to help correct these persistent inequities.
My American Society of Clinical Oncology presidential theme is “Caring for every patient, learning from every patient” and I am putting these words into action. During my term, I am traveling with ASCO leaders to underserved communities around the United States to hear firsthand from patients, survivors, caregivers, and oncology professionals about the impact of a cancer diagnosis on their lives, families and communities.
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